August 20, 2014

Moffat: Alouettes offence needs Carter to step up

The man of 3.6 million Twitter followers summed up after watching the CFL Play of the Week with his 79,000th tweet.


Sitting at home due to the CFL’s concussion protocol system, Chad Johnson’s tweet spoke volumes about what Duron Carter’s spectacular return actually means for Montreal’s hopes of turning their season around.

The 6-foot-5, 23-year old is confident enough to have told me even before training camp that this would be his last year in Canada.  He planned to blow up defences all the more destructively than he did in a 2013 half-season.  

A flagrant non-call in the 201 Eastern Semi-Final already assured his legacy, spurring the Rules Committee to allow bumps, tugs and muggings to be challenged with video replay justice for all.

But then again, Troy Smith promised the Als would “throw the air out of the ball” in 2014.  How’s that “Buckeye Bond”, as Duron liked to call their on-field connection, working out for you?

“When Chad Johnson says even one word, it means a lot,” Carter told the TSN690 Postgame Show immediately following Montreal’s fifth-straight loss, their most prolonged skid since the 2006 meltdown that hastened Don Mathews’ departure.  

In spite of one of the most rousing touchdowns in Alouette franchise history, the club has still not pulled out of a dizzying tailspin.

Rick Moffat believes that Duron Carter has all the tools necessary to be a star in the CFL, but does he have the attitude?

Montreal has only four touchdowns through the air.  Five teams are in double figures.  

Cynical critics suggest there are only two things wrong with the Als’ offence: First down production and second down production.  

Play-caller Ryan Dinwiddie has had to conjure up offensive tricks, digging out of more second-and-long situations than all but two other CFL clubs.  His success rate is worse than the expansion REDBLACKS.

The Alouettes do lead in one offensive category: Most two-and-outs.

Yet since returning from injury (high ankle sprain), Carter has racked up the only 100-yard receiving game on Montreal’s roster.  

He ranks among the top 10 in yards-per-game, (57.3) and his exhilarating open-field dash in Regina is one of only six return TDs so far this year.  His catches-per-game average sustained over a full season would crack the century mark.

But like the Alouettes’ offence, Duron’s season has been less than the sum of its parts.  

His 115 yards-after-catch on the season don’t even match the length of his singular special teams brilliance, and he’s only come up with one catch of over 30 yards.

Also, his jawing with opponents has distracted him from the simple task of getting back to the huddle.  Teammates have been exasperated by his seemingly flippant attitude.

The son of a Pro Football Hall of Famer, Carter has quickly reminded everyone that stardom is in his grasp.  Greatness will follow if he can be disciplined.

NFL scouts are surely interested to see if Carter can be thrilling over the punishing proving ground of the CFL marathon schedule. Carter’s still played less than a full regular season and his numbers are impressive: 73 catches, 1,138 yards, 5 TDs, and four 100-yard games.  

His 15.6 reception average is surpassed by only Fred Stamps, Emmanuel Arceneaux and Adarius Bowman (active receivers with 70+ receptions).

So what does one of the longest touchdowns in almost 70 years of Alouette scoring REALLY mean?

Duron Carter may not even hang on to his kick-return job this week, as Larry Taylor’s swollen knee is healing.

Simply put, the big plays will have to come on offence.  He’s talented enough, but is he focused enough?