Tuesday Morning QB (CFL Week 21)

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The coaching carousel in the CFL has already begun as the final week of the regular season has already seen the first opening with more to come.

If there is one theme in the CFL is that things are done differently in Canada than any other place for football.

The Canadian game is not the most popular and is not the biggest league played around the world.

When looking for coaches that leaves a small group of people who really understand the game in Canada.

The Canadian game doesn’t look all that different but there are some massive changes that make coaching in the league very different.

From the pre-snap movement to the three downs and the larger field, everything goes into coaching decisions.

Not everyone can do it and be successful at it which is evident from the constant search some teams have ha din finding a coach that can last and be successful.

The Montreal Alouettes are the perfect example as they have brought in coaches from every corner of the football world.

After long time coach Marc Trestman left for the NFL the Alouettes went searching for someone to keep their run going.

They hired Dan Hawkins from the NCAA but he only lasted five weeks before being fired in a failed experiment.

The Als then went with former CIS and CFL coach and former Director of Officiating Tom Higgins and after his short tenure went with longtime CFL assistant Jacques Chapdelaine.

Then a short stint with longtime CFL coach Kavis Reed ended with more failure for a team on a slide.

Their latest venture came through the NFL and NCAA as veteran coach Mike Sherman is now the head coach of Montreal and will be for the foreseeable future.

The Alouettes have gone through about every option possible when they were searching for a coach and none were successful.

That could be for a number of reasons but there is no team that expresses the difficulty of finding a great coach as well as Montreal.football-sidebar

This year they won’t be on the lookout for a new coach though as they stay pat with Sherman leading the way into the new season.

A rival team could be beginning a long search themselves though as the Toronto Argonauts decided to move on from Marc Trestman after a loss in their final game.

That loss gave the Argonauts a 4-14 record on the season while dropping them to the bottom of the league.

The move was still surprising as Trestman had just come off of the greatest debut season that Trestman could have hoped for.

In his first season in Toronto and first season back in the CFL after his stint with the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens he took home a Grey Cup.

Yet a year later it all fell apart and that one bad season coast Trestman his job in Toronto leaving the door open for someone else.

They won’t be alone in the search though as the BC Lions head into their playoff run which will be the last for legendary coach Wally Buono, who is set to retire whenever the season ends for the Lions.

Both could be joined soon by the Edmonton Eskimos as rumours have begun to rise about the possibility of Jason Maas being fired although there are also rumours that Maas could be a major reason for Mike Reilly to stick around as a free agent.

As of right now, there are about to be two openings in the CFL’s head coaching ranks and where those coaches come from will be interesting.

For management, it seems like the Argos are looking within the league for their next head coach as Jim Popp has said the likelihood is someone from within the league.

That brings to mind names like Noel Thorpe, who has been waiting for his shot for years, and DeVone Claybrooks a rising star.

There is also former Toronto great, Orlando Steinauer who left for the NFL a few years ago but is now back in Hamilton and might return to Toronto.

Of course, any of these coaches could also find their way to the west coast as the Lions are likely to be a more attractive job.

The coaching carousel is already spinning as the Argos have created the first opening while other teams continue to mull their decision.

As the playoffs begin some teams are looking to the future and hoping to be continuing their season this time next year.


Fourth Down

The Gott Rule

This year the CFL head office decided to bring some fun back to the league when they loosened the regulations on celebrations in the league. The new rules allowed players to use props and in general celebrate more without punishment. For some, it meant that someone was likely going to take things too far and give the league a black eye. That seemed to happen, at least somewhat, this week when Jon Gott scored a rare touchdown and celebrated by drinking a beer in the end zone. Although he wasn’t disciplined the CFL did pass a rule later stating that they would bring some limitations back namely the use or simulated use of drugs or alcohol, in what can effectively be called the Gott Rule.

A Backup Plan

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are riding a lot of success into the playoffs as they get set to host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Western Semi-Finals. The problem is that a lot of that momentum was built with Zach Collaros under centre finally looking like his old self. That came to an end two weeks ago when Collaros suffered a concussion in what was likely his last game of the season. Collaros could always return but with a history of concussions, his future for this season is in doubt. The Riders could look to Brandon Bridge to start the game but this week they went out to get Drew Tate who could get the chance to lead the Riders who have been putting together a great season and need that leader under centre to make a serious run at the Grey Cup.

Looking For More Fans

 The Montreal Alouettes are one of the few teams struggling to find fans and the performance on the field hasn’t helped them. Next season they will hope to be better on the field but to help sell tickets they will work on trying to bring in more fans through a new strategy at the stadium. They will reduce the stadium seating by a little more than 3,000 seats and while they do that they will also reduce ticket prices. They are also providing more for the experience in the game adding an all you can eat section, a BBQ section and a business section all meant to draw more fans. With Johnny Football looking like he would stay in Montreal and some signs of life this season these new improvements will hope to bring Montreal back.

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