Montreal Alouettes Quarterbacks
The Montreal Alouettes have the quarterback of the future on their roster, they just don’t know who he is. Johnny Manziel progressed during the last half of the season but coach Mike Sherman is not ready to anoint him the starter. With five quarterbacks signed for the 2019 season, Montreal will have intense competition in training camp.
The following series will analyze each Montreal Alouettes quarterback prospect. College stats and any former CFL playing time will be looked at as well as where each quarterback could potentially end up within the organization.
First up is former Butler Bulldog Matthew Shiltz.
A Middling Collegiate Starter
Matthew Shiltz played for the Division 1 Football Championship Subdivision Butler Bulldogs from 2011-15. After receiving negligible playing time, including a switch to defensive back in 2013, Shiltz got his chance. He started the first six games of 2014 at quarterback before succumbing to a hand injury. However, in the six games he started, Shiltz showed promise.
He threw for 1,329 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushed for 221 yards and three more touchdowns. Shiltz improved upon these numbers in 2015. Over the course of 11 games, he amassed 2,713 passing yards and 19 touchdowns as well 639 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.
Shiltz displayed mobility and the arm strength to hit receivers on deep routes as shown by his highlights at Butler.
However, Shiltz’s abilities were not enough to make it in the NFL. Ranked as a possible free agent by NFL Draft scout websites, Shiltz went undrafted in 2016.
Matthew Shiltz was working as an accountant at Ernst and Young in Indianapolis when the Alouettes invited him to mini-camp in 2017. Shiltz impressed the Alouettes in training camp and settled into the third string position behind Darian Durant and Drew Willy. With the season practically over by late August, the Alouettes gave Shiltz some game reps, which didn’t go well.
Over the course of four games, Shiltz completed 57% of his passes for 385 yards and 1:4 touchdown to interception ratio. However, Shiltz displayed impressive mobility, averaging 7.5 yards over 12 carries. Considering the state of the Alouettes and the situation Shiltz was thrust into, his numbers weren’t too disheartening.
Shiltz impressed again in the Alouettes 2018 training camp. His willingness to learn from Willy and improving CFL skillset helped Shiltz lead the battle for the starter’s role. However, it was not to be. Jeff Matthews and Antonio Pipkin finished the pre-season strong and earned the second and third string role behind Willy. Shiltz finally found his way back onto the roster on July 6, backing up Drew Willy. Entering the game in relief, Shiltz completed 16/25 passes for one touchdown and two interceptions. Considering the quarterback carousel Shiltz was subjected to, and the stoutness of the eventual Grey Cup champion Stampeders defence, it was an impressive performance.
Unfortunately for Shiltz, Alouettes general manager Kavis Reed did not see his performance in context. Desperate to kick-start a struggling Alouettes team that was still theoretically in contention, Reed traded for the Johnny Manziel, bumping Shiltz down the depth chart. He eventually settled into the third string role behind Manziel and Pipkin. With Manziel struggling to adapt to the CFL game and the season drawing to a close, the Alouettes decided to assess their quarterback pool in the last week of the season. This gave Shiltz some limited reps, completing three of his five passes, but also throwing an interception.
Future Role in Montreal
Matthew Shiltz will be in a tough competition to continue his CFL career. A victim of the Alouettes quarterback carousel and a personal penchant to throw interceptions, Shiltz will most likely fight to remain the third string pivot, or potentially a practice roster spot.
Shiltz is athletic and can scramble for yards when plays breaks down. Unfortunately, so can the other quarterbacks on Montreal’s roster. In order to set himself apart Shiltz will have to focus on refining his passing game. Quick, accurate reads leading to smart low risk completions are what the Alouettes need out of their quarterback. If Matthew Shiltz can shape his passing game into something resembling reliability, he may just crack the top-two quarterback spots. He has the king of traits in football — potential.
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