Als turn page on 2010
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - Technically, it would be three in a row.
But if the reigning Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes are able to hold onto their title by the end of the 2011 season, head coach Marc Trestman will once again count it as one.
“Certainly the organization has a chance to win three in a row, but the team doesn’t,” said Trestman, who led the Alouettes to the Grey Cup final in each of his past three seasons with the club. “The 2011 team has no chance to win three in a row, because it quite frankly is not going to be the same team.
“We’re going to have new coaches and new players. With that in mind, the players are going to have to earn it on their own merit.”
Following the ring ceremony on June 3, Trestman said the team is turning the page on the 2010 season.
“We’re going to enjoy that and celebrate that, but when we get on the bus and we go to training camp, that’s all over,” he said. “It’s going to be a completely different set of circumstances against seven completely different teams with new coaches as well.
“That’s why it’s new and fresh and that’s why being motivated to get it done and to find out what type of team we’re going to have is so interesting.”
The departure of Avon Cobourne leaves the Alouettes with the job of choosing a new starting running back this spring.
Backup Brandon Whitaker will be given the opportunity to step into the limelight in his third season with the team. But he is coming up against former Ticat DeAndra’ Cobb and former Winnipeg Blue Bomber Yvenson Bernard, not to mention NFL great Ahman Green.
“It should be quite a battle,” said Alouettes vice-president Jim Popp.
Green earned an invite to next month’s training camp on reputation alone.
“We didn’t do any running or catching or blocking, or anything football-wise on the field other than walking through,” Trestman said. “What was very clear is he was extremely business-like, very focused. took very detailed notes and was completely in to what we were trying to do and teach.
“I look very forward to see what happens in the next step.”
Defensively, the Alouettes added some flash — along with some trash — in former Calgary Stampeders cornerback Dwight Anderson. But will his outgoing personality clash with the business-like approach of his new head coach?
“We really respect him as a player, his ability, his passion for the game. He’s alive and I see him being just a great addition to our football team in terms of how he’s going to handle himself,” Trestman said. “He’s got a bunch of guys around him who will make it very clear to him how he’s got to handle himself to be a part of our football team.
Our locker-room will take care of any of those issues that are perceptively an issue. I say ‘perceptively’ — I don’t know that they’re an issue, realistically. I’m really excited about having Dwight on our football team.”
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Ahman Green, RB — The Green Bay Packers all-time leading rusher and four-time Pro Bowler is making his CFL debut at age 34. Has tremendous experience working out of the one-back set, spread offence that the Alouettes run.
Jerry Porter, WR — The long-time Oakland Raiders receiver is the second of two big NFL names being brought in for a chance to continue their football legacy.
Prechae Rodriguez, WR — At six-foot-five, the former Roughriders receiver is the tallest of a vertically blessed catching corps.
Dwight Anderson, CB — joins Montreal after spending the last three seasons with Calgary. Known for running down opponents with his mouth prior to games as much as with his legs during games.
Ben Cahoon, SB — At age 38, the two-time Most Outstanding Canadian leaves the league after becoming the all-time leader with 1,017 receptions. He retires as a life-long Alouette.
Avon Cobourne, RB — The Als former feature back ended up swapping teams with Hamilton Tiger-cats starting rusher DeAndra’ Cobb after finding themselves free agents in the off-season.
Matthieu Proulx, S — Retires after six seasons and two Grey Cups with the Alouettes, rotating starting at safety with best friends Etienne Boulay, who remains with the club.
Damon Duval, K — The 31-year-old veteran might have been given a second chance to win the 2009 Grey Cup, but ran out of time with the Alouettes, who have filled their kicking void with a trade last week that brings in B.C. Lions kicker Sean Whyte.
|Brandon Whitaker will have an opportunity to fill the void at the starting running back position left by the departure of Avon Cobourne. (QMI Agency file)