Montreal Alouettes 2016 Mid-Season Report

montreal alouettes 2016 mid-season report
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Labour Day weekend signals the start of the second half of the CFL season. With that, LastWordOnSports CFL has created report cards for all nine teams. Teams will be rated on their offence, defence, special teams, and coaching over the first 10 weeks of the season. This will help fans compare their teams to others across the CFL and help identify areas of strength and of weakness. With that out of the way, let’s get started in the East Division with the Montreal Alouettes 2016 mid-season report card.

Montreal Alouettes 2016 Mid-Season Report

Offence

The Alouettes offence has played at two extremes in 2016: the dominant, high-potent attack Montreal fans are used to seeing, and the stagnant, deflated group of stars that can’t reach their potential. They put up over 35 points twice, but they have failed to reach the 20-point plateau six times, and lost all six times. Teams just cannot expect to win in this league if they cannot score more than 20 points.

To say the Alouettes offence is star-studded is an understatement. Led by Duron Carter, who returned to the league from the NFL, the attack features players like Kenny Stafford, Nik Lewis and last season’s leading rusher, Tyrell Sutton. Veteran S.J. Green is out for the season with an injury, but B.J. Cunningham has stepped in nicely to compliment Carter.

Despite this power, the Alouettes rank seventh in the league in total yards (3,273), passing yards (2,642), points scored (191) and touchdowns (20). They are also ranked dead-last in turnovers, giving up 23 through 9 games.

A big reason for that is the poor play of quarterback Kevin Glenn. The 37-year-old has thrown for 2,342 yards – good enough for fourth in the league – but has 12 touchdowns to a whopping 9 interceptions, which is the most in the league. The timing of his interceptions is costly too, as they often come late in games.

The Alouettes offence has produced a total of 4 points in fourth quarters of games they lost, and they went scoreless in four of those quarters.

The offence is just not getting the job done, and it is costing the team some points. If they can put up more points on the board, the Alouettes could start winning a lot more games.

Grade: C+

Defence

The Montreal Alouettes defence is once again the backbone to this team. For a 3-6 team, they produce surprisingly good results. They have the third-ranked defence, behind only the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and B.C. Lions. They give up 381.4 yards per game, and are also third-best in points allowed, with 218.

Many did not think the defence would be as good as they are, considering they started the season with two starting rookies on the corners. Both Ethan Davis and Jonathan Mincy made their CFL debuts this season, and are doing a fine job shutting down receivers. Mincy has one interception and his fourth on the team with 36 tackles, while Davis is two spots behind him with 31.

The core of the defence is linebacker Bear Woods. A year removed from a pectoral injury that cost him the season, Woods is leading the league in tackles with 66, six ahead of Adam Bighill. Woods is also tied with Winston Venable for second-most sacks on the team with three, and he has collected one interception. Woods is the star on an already bright defence.

Montreal is also fourth in the league with sacks (23) thanks to their strong defensive line. John Bowman, Gabriel Knapton, Alan-Michael Cash and Michael Klassen fear no offensive line and eat up any quarterback in their way.

The one downfall the defence has in the inability to finish games strong. Like the offence, they fall a bit in the fourth quarter. In five of their six losses, they entered the final frame down by less than a touchdown, and ended up losing by more than two scores. The Alouettes have not lost a game by 8 or less points.

In order to start winning on a regular basis, the defence will need to apply their strong will power for four quarters. They get the job done in the first 45 minutes, but need to finish in the final 15.

Grade: B

Special Teams

The Montreal Alouettes special teams in 2016 has been special. A year after a stellar season, Boris Bede dropped his field goal percentage from 90% to 43.8% in 2016. Bede started the season 7/16 on field goal attempts, but 11/11 on extra point attempts, before getting placed on the six-game IR to refocus.

Bede’s inability to put the ball through the uprights hurt the team when they needed three points. He seemed distraught on the sidelines, and it was clear he wasn’t going to kick his way out of the funk.

The Alouettes found help in Anthony Fera before their Week 8 match-up, and he has made 6 out of 7 field goals, and is 5/7 on extra point attempts. His 47.5 yards per punt is even 5 yards more than what Bede managed. He has the ability to put points up on the board and not let any distractions get in his way.

Kick and punt returner Stefan Logan has been doing his job as the Alouettes rank second in yards per kick return (23.0) and third in yards per punt return (13.5). Logan has 1204 total return yards, but has yet to return a kick or punt for a touchdown.

Grade: B-

Coaching

The coaching situation in Montreal doomed to fail since before the season started. After general manager Jim Popp snubbed assistant head coach Noel Thorpe the head coaching job and named himself head coach for the 2016 season, there was a guarantee to have friction on the sidelines.

Popp has four coaches under him that have the qualities and experience to be a head coach in Thorpe, Kavis ReedAnthony Calvillo and Jacques Chapdelaine. There hasn’t been a visual dispute between any coaches on the sidelines, but it’s because the coaches don’t talk to each other during games.

Each coach seems to be doing their own thing, including Popp. Just last week, many questioned the Alouettes lining up in a shotgun formation for a 3rd and 1 play. Was there a lack of communication between Popp, Calvillo, and Chapdelaine? Did Chapdelaine call his own shot? Did Calvillo choose the play? Whatever it was, it did not work and the Alouettes gave up the ball.

Moving forward, the Alouettes management needs a major restructuring and a head coach who can communicate with his assistants and coordinators. This season, the coaching staff has been an utter failure.

Grade: F

Summary

In short, the Montreal Alouettes 2016 mid-season report is not good. The team is not good. The team is in trouble. They are in trouble of losing fans, losing money, and ultimately losing star players. At 3-6, they are only three points behind the first-placed Ottawa Redblacks in the East and still have a shot at the playoffs.

If they want to still be playing come November, they need a much better second half of the season. The offence needs to start scoring, the defence needs to play consistent for four quarters, and the coaching staff needs some cohesion.

Overall Grade: C 

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