After hearing the news this week that Anthony Calvillo suffered a setback
in his recovery after experiencing post-concussion symptoms while trying to focus on film sessions, I questioned... and probably hoped that I would not see him return to action this season.
Although we continue to pray for Calvillo's recovery, Montreal Alouettes
general manager Jim Popp continues to move the franchise forwards in hopes to find a quarterback replacement.
For the past two months, Popp has been trying to figure out which quarterback he believes will lead the Alouettes into the future, and who he believes can win games for them in the present.
For the Als to have success in Calvillo's absence, they will need to win the field position battle, playing great defence and securing the football.
Although Tanner Marsh
and Josh Neiswander
have shown some potential, the reality is that they have thrown 18 interceptions in the past eight weeks. The Als have no chance to win this season if they continue to turn the ball over.
There was plenty of hype heading into this past week's game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, Troy Smith, stepped onto the field as the Alouettes starting quarterback.
With an unexpected 35-5 decisive victory
over the Ticats, Alouettes fans are optimistic that their team has a legitimate chance of competing this season... even without Calvillo.
In the spotlight
Although Als fans have a good reason to be optimistic heading into the last two weeks of the season
, It is important keep some perspective. Smith stole the spotlight by throwing 3 touchdown passes, however, if fans believe the victory came because of his performance, they would be mistaken.
When a Heisman Trophy winner gets drafted in the fifth round of the NFL
draft, as Smith did in 2007 by the Baltimore Ravens, it usually means the player has obvious potential, yet requires some dramatic development. Late-round gambles sometimes pay off like we have seen of late with Russell Wilson
, and sometimes they don't as evident like with Smith.
Smith has bounced around the NFL for the past six years because he has the potential.
Being a player with potential, simply means that you haven't done anything yet. Smith had success at Ohio State, has obvious athleticism and a cannon of an arm, however, he also struggles with his ability to read coverages and throwing accuracy. He completed only 49 per cent of his passes in last week's game and had only 40 passing yards in the second half.
And let's face it, Hamilton did not show up ready to play that game. The Ticats could not have performed any sloppier. In the first half alone, they had 103 yards in penalties.
The greatest improvement Smith brought to the field was the fact that he did not turn the ball over.
After passing for over 5000 yards in 2012, the focus heading into the 2013 season was justifiably on the defence, not the offence. I find it ironic how the roles have dramatically reversed this year.
Defence the key
Montreal's defence is playing some great football as of late. Defensive co-ordinator Noel Thorpe pieced together a gameplan against the Ticats this week which completely confused Hamilton's protection scheme by adding a defensive player late into the pass rush.
Smith stole the spotlight this week, but if the Als want to continue to have success offensively, it will be because of the play of their offensive line and the performance of an emerging star in Tyrell Sutton
Yes... Marsh and Neiswander struggled with ball security, but they did not have the luxury of a rushing attack that placed them into high percentage second and short situations.
Plenty of attention has been placed on the chemistry between Smith and S.J. Green to connect for majors, but the play of Sutton is what has consistently moved the chains.
Sutton has averaged 6.3 yards per carry this season and finished last week's game with 121 yards of total offence.
If Hamilton takes Sutton out of the game and forces Smith to throw the ball down field into small zone coverage windows, I believe the Montreal QB will struggle when they face each other again this week. I will be very interested in seeing what kind of defensive gameplan Hamilton defensive co-ordinator Orlondo Steinauer comes up with.
Personally, I am not convinced yet that Smith is the future of the franchise. He has a lot of potential, but his development as a quarterback will be evident when I see him read coverages under pressure and make the tough "touch" throws down the field.
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