Friday, 1 June 2012

Five Questions On The Montreal Alouettes For 2012 CFL Season

As we inch closer to the Montreal Alouettes training camp, here are five questions that I have as they embark on a new football season.
Is Marc Trestman’s new contract imminent?
As we last left off, Trestman clearly stated at the 2011 season end press conference that he would not discuss this matter. Some media members speculated that a new deal would be consummated entering the 2012 calendar year.
Yesterday, at the first press conference of the season, Trestman continued on with his message that his contract is not for the public to know but him and management to figure out.
However, earlier this month Montreal Gazette beat writer, Herb Zurkowsky tweeted that he was informed by a team member that everything should be cleared by the July 6th home opener.
It has been an odd affair that Trestman’s overall body of work has not resulted in a sewn up a deal. This could bring more grey clouds if there is no announcement by the beginning of the season.
Will Adrian McPherson get more playing time this year?
In the last media session of the 2011 season, McPherson was diplomatic in saying the right things in assessing his future with the team. He knows very well that it is Anthony Calvillo’s team. But how long could McPherson be a backup quarterback in this league?
He is in the prime of his career, and the clock is  ticking on whether or not he could be a starting quarterback.
So far, McPherson has been patient if he is willing to bite the bullet in 2012, next year it could be his team, his huddle, and be franchise quarterback for years to come.
Right now, he doesn’t have much leverage to demand a trade out of Montreal. His best option is to sit back and see how things unfold this training camp, and into the season. He could be on the field sooner rather than later.
Which Jeff Reinebold will we see?
Last time anyone saw the former Winnipeg Blue Bombers coach, he was riding his Harley out of the Manitoba. Sure, his first go around as a CFL head coach could be summed up as a comical roller coaster experience.
But he went away down south and tagged along with June Jones to learn the nuances of coaching at the University of Hawaii and Southern Methodist University. Now he is back, much toned down, mature, and ready to revitalize this Alouettes defense.
So far, from reading the player’s tweets on Twitter, they’re excited to see what the principals are in this defense. According to reports, it will be much more aggressive than the passive zone schemes that was employed by former defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar.
With his return to the league, Reinebold will have a lot of national media attention on him which could bode well in allowing Trestman to do his own thing.
Right now, from all indications, the schematics will be completely different, so every player needs to be on their game to crack this roster.     
Could there be more changes to the Alouettes roster?
During the winter, a number of familiar players were released from the team. In early May, general manager Jim Popp has not stopped as he parted ways with Kerry Carter, Michael Giffin, and Ramon Guzman.
Clearly, the 2011 season was a reminder to management that in their mind it was unacceptable they were ousted in a home semi-final playoff game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
It seems that Popp has already started the process to move away from the core group of players who were instrumental during their first eight Grey Cup trips.
Now he is looking at the next generation of players to carry the torch.
Could the Alouettes potentially lock up Jamel Richardson to a long-term deal?
There is no denying that “Optimus Prime” is the most popular figure amongst the fans. There is an indication that the torch is slowly being passed from Calvillo to Richardson as the future face of the organization.
Richardson has put up astronomical numbers during his four years in Montreal and is considered to be the best receiver in the CFL. With that territory, it is time to fairly reward a player for his hard work.
Already the floor of this deal will be comparable to Tiger-Cats addition Andy Fantuz. Fantuz will annually be getting at least $180,000 and with bonuses it could escalate even higher.
Popp has already locked up the likes of Brian Bratton, S.J. Green, and Brandon London. Theoretically, could he invest more money into one position group where he might need this “free” cash to sign other players? Could he potentially make an offer to Richardson’s camp that is less than the Fantuz deal?
It is not out of the norm for Popp to allow big name receivers to walk as in past instances the likes of Chris Armstrong, and Jermaine Copeland signed elsewhere for better money.
Already the team office has suffered bad publicity. Richardson is one of the few bright stars this organization has that they need to keep on-board. We’re now seeing fans at home games wearing his jersey than any other current Alouettes player.
If the unthinkable happens that the organization decides to part ways with their superstar, don’t be surprised if Richardson receives a call from the Toronto Argonauts where he has a history with their head coach Scott Milanovich.
But for now, I believe that at some point the organization will come to an agreement with their superstar to finish his career in Montreal.   
Stay tuned.

Follow me on Twitter @MoeKhan19

Listen to me every Sunday/Tuesday nights on Gamepoints, every Friday morning on The Midnight Snack, and various shows on TSN 990.

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