If there was ever a week for a team to forget talking the talk and just start walking the walk, this is it for the Montreal Alouettes.
The above statement applies mainly to Alouettes defensive end John Bowman.
While Bowman’s sack total is way down from his usual dozen, the Als as a group are first in hunting down rival quarterbacks since Week 13 and are second overall since then in yards against.
“It feels good to finally play the way we want to play, says Als defensive back Billy Parker.
“Up front those guys are getting so much more pressure allowing us to be aggressive,” added Parker, often-unnoticed by the media, but a future coach in the CFL according to some.
“We know that it’s time. Time to be the defence we want to be. We found our identity.”
Timing is everything, over the long haul of a regular season and within a game. The still rank just seventh in fourth-quarter points allowed. Red Zone success has been an issue as well.
Opposing teams are punching in touchdowns at a 67 per cent clip, (eighth in the CFL), a rate the Als’ offence hasn’t been able to match.
While the Als have taken only seven roughing the passer and face masking penalties combined, they are leading the CFL in pass interference calls, with more than twice as many infractions as two other teams, and 60 per cent more than two other clubs.
Montreal also has the most objectionable conduct penalties, hardly a reflection of the well-mannered Marc Trestman.
Even the vocal Dwight Anderson credits the league for taking the worst of trash-mouth on the field and taking offensive language out of the trash-talk game.
Rather, Anderson claims he has a new point to his tongue.
“I’m going to try to make you look stupid. My trash-talking is just a lot of jokes, throwing you off your game. I might tell you about yourself a little bit. I just like having fun on the field, smiling all the time.”
Montreal’s Defensive Coordinator Jeff Reinebold knows the Als need more walk than talk in their remaining two tests before the Eastern Final.
“That fourth quarter against Durant was another great baptism by fire,” said the first-year Alouette assistant. “We didn’t panic. We’ve made some positive deposits in the bank.”
The Als have given up only 351 yards per game (third best overall), yet has surrendered more points than anyone other than Hamilton and Winnipeg. The reputed “pressure” defence is second in sacks with 39 but pressure is supposed to burst pipes - the Als have only 30 takeaways and the CFL’s fewest points off those turnovers.
Times are so tough for the “Ballhawks” of the secondary, inflation has hit their signature celebration. Kyries Hebert has frequently flapped his imaginary wings for any solid hit.
“We been getting on him about that,” confesses Williams. “Kyries is the ‘The Angry Bird’ so we’re letting him have it. As long as he keeps making the big hits, we’ll let him have it.
“I know when I make my big play I’m coming out with something, but I’ll keep that on the backburner for now. Just keep your eyes open...keep your eyes peeled.”
Coaches Reinebold and Trestman surely will. And here’s to no one needing any earplugs.