August 3, 2018

Let the Man Play

Is he the most talented quarterback in the league? Is he the most talented quarterback in the history of the league? How patient will you be with him? Can he turn the ship around? Is he stable enough emotionally to deal with everything Montreal has to offer? Does he get along with his teammates? Does he know enough plays to lead an entire game? Is he nervous about starting?

(deep breath)

Tonight, Johnny Manziel will be the starting at QB for the first time in the Alouettes uniform and in the CFL. For the first time. The attention the new pivot generates is certainly unprecedented, but he said it repeatedly: ”It’s still new. I’m still learning as we go and I feel fortunate to be going up against a defence that I’ve seen more than any other in this league.

It’s not that we’re trying to manage expectations, but more so that one guy, on a team of nearly sixty, can’t be given the role of saviour. ”There are other players on the roster. I’m glad that Johnny is here, but the pressure can’t only be on his shoulders. Johnny, alone, won’t win football games,” said Coach Sherman after the walkthrough on Thursday, reminding those present that football remains a team sport.

Here’s a quick overview of what we can expect and hope to see, in addition to our new number two, at McGill Stadium starting at 7:30 PM tonight.

A First Win at Home

We’re not preoccupied by what could be for now. We want to win our first game at home. We had some beautiful evenings at the stadium, but the fans left disappointed because we didn’t give them the win.

Coach Sherman, the locker room and the whole organization is certainly aware of the priority.

A Better Pass Defence

All the talk has been about offence lately, but let’s not forget that Rich Stubler’s defensive unit has a lot of work to do tonight to contain June Jones run & shoot. ”Our pass defence has to catch up with our run defence, veteran John Bowman explains. I feel like we get close to where we need to be, then something happens – whether it’s a turnover or an injury – and we lose focus. We have the personnel, we just have to gain more confidence and play faster, both on the line and in coverage.

The signing of all-star defensive back TJ Heath could help the secondary contain reactive Ticats receivers. Inside, the squad can count on linebacker Henoc Muamba who made seven tackle for losses so far in 2018 – highest total in the league -, and, outside, on Chris Ackie, third in the CFL with 37 tackles since the beginning of the season. Ackie’s contribution – who went from safety to torn tricep to most productive linebacker in the team – deserves to be highlighted. As a matter of fact, Coach Sherman once called him one of the most underrated players in the league. *We see you, Chris.

Comebacks and Safe Bets

Behind Chris Ackie and on special teams, Nicolas Boulay is returning to the game. At receiver, we’re expecting TJ Graham, known for his speed and ability to stretch the field. The Manziel-Graham duo could be particularly fun to watch. On the o-line, the only change versus last week is at right guard where Landon Rice is taking over for Ryan Bomben traded to Toronto earlier this week. A little stability on the offensive front can’t hurt nobody… especially not Johnny and the running game that remains a safe bet. On special teams, Tyquwan Glass and Ryder Stone should be returning kicks while Stef Logan is still recovering from an ankle injury, but we’ll keep an eye out for William Stanback (watch their interview) whose contribution is not to be neglected.

You don’t have your tickets left? We saved some for you because we know you won’t want to miss Johnny Football’s first start in the CFL! See you at the East entrance when the doors open at 6 PM.