They haven’t fallen far, but the Montreal Alouettes are no longer kings of the CFL mountain.
They can still finish first in the CFL East and earn a bye to the division final, but the Als have lost a step and it’s shown in recent losses to Winnipeg and Calgary. Montreal’s main culprit — surprisingly — has been QB Anthony Calvilllo, who may be in his final season with the most dominant team of the last decade.
It’s simply unforgivable to stumble in the final weeks in games that could have earned the Als a bye to the East final, but this is not the same team, mainly due of Calvillo’s spotty play.
Remarkably, the Montreal media has named Calvillo that team’s nominee for 2011 Most Outstanding Player, even though receiver Jamel Richardson is the better choice. Richardson has had a great year with 12 100-yard games and some 1,700 yards receiving. You could argue Richardson’s success is directly linked to Calvillo, although that can be said for any team.
Calvillo continues to pile up yards, but the team’s late season swoon rests squarely on his shoulders. Return to Prairies unlikely for Austin: Kent Austin is the popular choice of Saskatchewan fans to be the Roughriders’ next coach, but it doesn’t look like it will happen.
Austin, in second season as head coach at Cornell University, guided the Riders to their last Grey Cup win in 2007 and is considered a god among the flatlanders. Problem is, Austin recently issued a statement that he’s happy coaching college and denied rumours the Riders contacted him about the opening.
The Riders whacked Greg Marshall after a 1-7 start this season and replaced him with Ken Miller. Earlier this week, Miller announced that he was resigning as head coach after this season.
More likely candidates include Riders defensive co-ordinator Richie Hall, Montreal offensive co-ordinator Scott Milanovich, Calgary OC Dave Dickenson and Stamps DC Chris Jones. Bad news ends Argo apathy: It’s a shame that it took a head shot to QB Steven Jyles to get Torontonians to pay attention to the Argos.
Jyles appeared to be knocked cold last weekend by Winnipeg defensive back Johnny Sears, who has been handed a one-game suspension. Jyles sat out last night’s finale in favour of backup Dalton Bell.
Argos offensive linemen Rob Murphy and Taylor Robertson both tweeted their disgust, pecking out veiled threats toward Sears, and were subsequently fined by the league. The controversy triggered some Hogtown media to claim Sears got away easy and that a longer suspension was warranted. Not so. The CFL got it right this time and Sears will be back in time for the playoffs.