Montreal Alouettes Mired in a Quarterback Controversy

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MONTREAL, QC - SEPTEMBER 14: Montreal Alouettes quarterback Antonio Pipkin (17) gets in position to pass the ball during the BC Lions versus the Montreal Alouettes game on September 14, 2018, at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire)

Week 14 of the CFL season kicked off with all eyes on Montreal as the Alouettes played host to the B.C. Lions. With the Alouettes winning their last two games and the Lions making the long cross-country trip, this had the makings for an Alouettes victory.

Well, not so fast. Despite a solid performance by the Alouettes defence again, it was the offence that sputtered, again. Montreal quarterback Antonio Pipkin threw four interceptions and was sacked seven times by the dominating B.C. Lions defence on Friday night. Adding insult to injury, two of Pipkins interceptions resulted in pick-sixes while the game was still up for grabs.

Pipkin finished the contest completing only 11 passes for 95 yards and zero touchdowns. Although it was a terrible performance through the air, Pipkin continued to use his legs well as he rushed for 69 yards on nine carries. Unfortunately, the result was still zero offensive touchdowns for his team. No offensive scores are simply not good enough.

Is it Johnny Football Time?

There is a case to be made to give Pipkin another crack at starting next week. In his four starts this season, the youngster Pipkin has a 2-2 record. This record is, of course, nothing to get too giddy about, but considering some experts had Montreal winning two games max this year, that is pretty good. He also has four rushing touchdowns this season and has shown that he is quick and shifty in the open field.

The other side of the coin though has Pipkin only throwing for one touchdown this season. Contrast that with eight interceptions, and the writing appears to be on the wall. It would not be at all surprising if Johnny Manziel gets another shot at the starting job next week when the Als visit the struggling Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Manziel returned to practice this week after missing a few days with the stomach flu. After the practice, Manziel had some interesting comments on the quarterback situation when speaking to reporters.

“They (Alouettes) traded half of an organization, I feel, in terms of what they gave up to get me here,” Manziel said. “I’d think I’d get a chance to come in here and still play. That’s where it’s a little bit lost on me. I felt I was brought in here to be a piece. I hope this organization hasn’t lost faith in my ability to play.”

The Last Word

Hard to argue with Manziel’s assessment. Especially after watching the Als offence struggle as it did on Friday night. There will likely be a lot of internal pressure within the Alouettes organization to start Johnny Manziel next weekend.

That combined with the fact that Als GM Kavis Reed not only mortgaged his team’s future but also likely his own when he traded for Manziel earlier this season. It probably makes good business sense to start Manziel sooner rather than later. Being on the road might be a benefit to Johnny Football as well.

The Als will look at the recent output by Pipkin to justify putting Manziel in the driver’s seat. And they wouldn’t be wrong in doing so. However, it was Pipkin that gave the Als their first two-game winning streak in some time and also had given an organization hope where there seemed to be none.

So now the Alouettes have a quarterback conundrum. Do you go with the guy that has had some success this season or the guy that you gave up so much for to get? Either way, it will be interesting to see how this situation unfolds in Montreal for the rest of the season.

Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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