Saturday, 28 July 2012

Post game thoughts on the Montreal Alouettes-Toronto Argonauts game

The Montreal Alouettes endured a frustrating 23-20 home loss. But this time it was the Toronto Argonauts who made life miserable for the opposition.

It was a great moment in the young head coaching career of Argonauts Scott Milanovich who was able to defeat a rival he worked with, and admires in Marc Trestman.

What went wrong in their loss?

Even though Anthony Calvillo accumulated 317 passing yards, the Alouettes quarterback was not on point with his passes. There were times where Calvillo overthrew his intended targets, and when he did connect with his receivers, they felt the wrath of the Argonauts defensive backs.

Once again Calvillo took too many unwanted hits from the Toronto pass rush and from observation every time he winced in-pain getting up from the ground. It seems that Calvillo may not have the confidence that made him one of the best quarterback during the three year Grey Cup runs where the Alouettes offense was unstoppable.

With one game left against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers before their bye week, could Trestman consider playing Calvillo's backup Adrian McPherson to allow his starter a two week break to rest up?

At this juncture of the season  it is foreign territory for the Alouettes record to be under .500, and the bye week could not come any sooner.

Receivers stuck in park

Clearly the loss of Brian Bratton has been felt in this offense. With him out of the lineup the Alouettes are 0-2. However, Brandon London has stepped up his game as he had one touchdown reception, and 102 receiving yards and was the Alouettes best player.

The same questions will continue to persist about star players S.J. Green, and Jamel Richardson as both combined for a modest total of 12 receptions, and 141 receiving yards versus the Argonauts.

From a tactical standpoint, both players have received extra attention from the opposition which has enabled the likes of Bratton, and London to produce higher numbers.

But at some point the law of averages will dictate that both of these players will have a breakout game. There is a lot angst among the Alouettes partisans to see these two behemoth receivers play to the high standards that everyone has been accustomed to seeing. It is a matter of time.

Tale of two defenses

In the first half, the Alouettes defense were playing their hit tune of getting thrashed by the opposing offense. It seemed that the Argonauts were destined to score 50 points on this wounded and vulnerable defense.

But in the second half, the defense tightened up, as they closed up passing lanes, applied good pressure against Ricky Ray, and made life miserable for the Argonauts offense.

Is this a sign of things to come? Too early to tell, considering the Argonauts offense is still trying to find itself in Milanovich's system.

But it was a morale victory for the Alouettes defense to hold their first opponent below 30 points this season. It is a process, but these small things could lead to the bigger picture for this unit trying to get comfortable in their roles.

Moving on

There's no question this was a huge divisional loss. The Alouettes now go on the road to face the Blue Bombers in a critical game for both squads trying to avoid being in last place in the division.

Could the unthinkable occur where the Alouettes end up in the cellar and have a 1-3 divisional record. Right now the focus of this organization is trying to get back on the winning side, and figuring out what to do with Calvillo.

If Trestman decides to gamble and go with McPherson as his starter in Winnipeg, it would give Calvillo an extra week of rest. Finally the organization would see what McPherson is made of in a tough situation if he is to earn a long term deal from the Alouettes.

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