Tuesday, 7 August 2012

First half thoughts on the Montreal Alouettes 2012 football season

As the Montreal Alouettes enjoy their bye week, they can take the Toronto Argonauts loss to the B.C. Lions as an indirect victory in the division standings.

For now the Alouettes have made up the lost ground to the Argonauts by having identical 3-3 records.

As the Alouettes will reconvene towards the end of the week in preparation for their road game versus the Edmonton Eskimos. This will mark the beginning of a 12 week odyssey of games for a team still trying to find its identity.

Let takes a look at the good and bad during the first half of season

The positives

They should be commended for not allowing the traveling obstacles be an excuse in preparing for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. From the sound of the whistle, they came out and controlled the tempo of the football game. The Alouettes had the Blue Bombers in chase mode, and the home team could not keep up with visitors.

Had the Alouettes lost last Friday night, the sirens would have gone off with the fans that would have demanded changes to the roster.

However, this victory could signal that things are slowly turning towards the right direction with their best overall performance.

2-Way is the only way

It is has been abundantly clear that running back Brandon Whitaker needs to be more involved in the offense. In the two games that he has 20 plus touches, the Alouettes have a 2-0 record. In games where he has less than 20 touches, they're 1-3.

Whitaker is an under appreciated talent. But when he is involved, he is arguably the toughest player to stop on the football field. Clearly versus the Blue Bombers they had no answer in stopping the man they call "2-Way".

Optimus Prime is transforming

At the beginning of training camp,  there was talk of Jamel Richardson potentially reaching 2,000 receiving yards. However, he got off to a slow start, and that lofty goal maybe out of reach.

But history has shown, besides the 2011 season, Richardson is a slow starter out of the gates and elevates his game by middle of the season.

Furthermore, with him attracting extra attention from the opposing defenses, it has enable the likes of Brian Bratton, and Brandon London to benefit statistically on the football field.

As the Alouettes embark on 12 straight football games, they will need their leader to flex his dominance which he showed against the Blue Bombers with two touchdown receptions.

Potential negative

The offensive line takes great pride in protecting quarterback Anthony Calvillo. However, this year there have been cracks in their protection schemes that has resulted in Calvillo taking some unwanted hits.

If the Alouettes are to make it to the Grey Cup, they will need the front five to play at their best in protecting their quarterback. Otherwise, Calvillo will not survive the 12 straight games they will play until the end of the regular season.

The negative

There was a lot of groaning among the Alouettes fans on lack of defense displayed by the team. As repeated many times, with a new defensive coordinator in Jeff Reinebold, it would take time for everyone to understand the angles, and concepts in these schemes.

In their last two games, the defense has displayed more confidence in attacking the football, knowing their gap assignments, and overall playing level.

From the third quarter of their loss to Argonauts till late into the fourth quarter of the Blue Bombers victory, the Alouettes defense allowed only six points during that span. 

As they progress through August into the fall season, this defense could be different in November than they were in June.     

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Photo credit: www.sportsnet.ca

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