The Montreal Alouettes under the direction of Jim Popp (Vice-President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations and Player Personnel) has been one of the more successful, if not the most successful, CFL franchise. They have been at or near the top of the Eastern Division, have made the finals many times over the past decade and have won three Grey Cups. That being said in respect to the standards the Alouettes have set for themselves last season must have been regarded as a failure.
The team won 10 games and lost 8 during the 18 game regular season. That was good enough for 2nd place in the Eastern Division. They played the Hamilton Tiger Cats in the Eastern semi-finals in Montreal. It was a wild back and forth game, but ultimately the lack of ability on the defensive side led to Montreal’s undoing. They lost the game in overtime 52-44 and there was not going to be a third Grey Cup in a row.
After that disappointing season you knew there was going to be some personnel changes on and off the field. Off the field other than head coach Marc Trestman almost the entire coaching staff is new. Now Marcus Brady is the offensive coordinator, Jeff Reinebold is the defensive coordinator, Carson Walch is the receivers coach, Matt Sheldon is the linebackers coach, and Pat Meyer is the offensive line coach. With all this new brain trust you knew that the team would be playing differently and it would take a bit for the players to gel and understand the new systems.
Players like back-up quarterback Ricky Santos, full back Kerry Carter, defensive end Kitwana Jones, defensive end Jermaine McElveen, defensive end Anwar Stewart, defensive tackle Eric Wilson, linebacker Diamond Ferri, linebacker Ramon Guzman, linebacker Walter Spencer, cornerback Paul Woldu, defensive back De’Audre Dix, kick returner Tim Maypray, safety Etienne Boulay, corner back Mark Estelle, wide receiver Kerry Watkins, and defensive back Jeff Hecht are all for one reason or another not with the team. The new players include corner back Michael Carter, linebacker Rod Davis, running back Noel Devine, defensive back Ed Gainey, wide receiver Trent Guy, safety Kyries Hebert, quarterback Josh Neiswander, defensive tackle Aaron Hunt, linebacker Brian Ridgeway, safety Daryl Townsend, defensive end Ameet Paul, and linebacker Kenny Ingram.
New coaches and new players mean new hopes for the Alouettes. They want 2012 to be a bounce back year to the high calibre form we are used to from them. The regular season begins in Calgary against the Stampeders on Canada Day (July 1st) and ends 18 games later in Winnipeg against the Blue Bombers. What happens in between now and then is anybody’s guess, but with an excellent recognizer of player talent like Jim Popp, a brilliant head coach in Marc Trestman, and one of the best quarterbacks in the CFL ever, Anthony Calvillo, Alouettes’ fans are expecting big things.
-Dates: July 1 – November 3, 2012
-Venue: Percival-Molson Stadium
-Ticket Purchase: www.ticketmaster.ca or (514) 790-1245
-Ticket Prices: $20.00, $33.74, $49.82, $61.33, $79.73, $86.63, $88.93, $109.63, $111.93, $114.93