New GM Reed aims to bring winning culture to struggling Alouettes

New GM Reed has given Alouettes new look

MONTREAL — It only seems like new general manager Kavis Reed has done a complete makeover of the Montreal Alouettes.

The former special teams co-ordinator who replaced Jim Popp, the GM since 1996, has certainly put his stamp on the former CFL east powerhouse that has missed the playoffs the last two seasons.

Gone are star receiver S.J. Green, defensive lineman Alan-Michael Cash, linebacker Winston Venable, offensive lineman Jeff Perrett and a handful of others from the squad that finished 7-11 last season. In came veteran quarterback Darian Durant, receiver Ernest Jackson,  offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye and more.

To many fans, it appears that a whole new team will take the field this season.

“The percentage of change is just under 25 per cent and that’s probably normal attrition in the CFL off-season,” Reed said Thursday. “We’ve deleted some guys we felt culturally didn’t fit and we’ve deleted guys that contractually didn’t fit.

“I don’t think our percentage of change is much different from any other CFL team, but whenever you have a new regime you have an opportunity to transform the culture. What we’re trying to establish is a very good football environment that has the mandate to be successful on the field.”

The environment hasn’t been much good in recent seasons for the team that used to dominate the East, making eight trips to the Grey Cup and winning three from 2000 to 2010. Since their last Grey Cup, the Alouettes are 1-4 in playoff games.

Owner Bob Wetenhall finally decided to cut ties with the only GM he ever employed, only to see Popp catch on with the rival Toronto Argonauts. And Popp immediately signed Marc Trestman, the last coach to win a Cup in Montreal. Green, Cash, Venable, Kyle Graves and others soon followed and will be wearing Argo blue next season.

Reed, who joined Montreal as special teams co-ordinator under Popp in 2015, was a surprise choice to replace him as GM on Dec. 14.

“The league is better with Jim Popp in it,” said Reed. “He did a phenomenal job in Montreal.

“We’re trying to recapture that championship attitude. It’s a great opportunity for the Toronto Argonauts to see the reinvigorated genius part of Jim Popp.”

Reed started with many of Popp’s holdovers, including the linebacker trio of Bear Woods, Chip Cox and Kyries Hebert, long-standing defensive end John Bowman and receivers like Nik Lewis, B.J. Cunningham and Samuel Giguere. So it’s not like the entire team has changed. 

He opted to add the proven quarterback the Alouettes have lacked since Anthony Calvillo retired in 2013 by acquiring Durant and to rework the offensive line, which will have two American players as well as all-star Olafioye. Back-up quarterbacks Rakeem Cato and Jonathan Crompton are also gone.

He brought in Jackson, but Green, an Alouette since 2007 and one of the league’s top pass-catchers in his heyday, had to go. Reed made sure Green’s departure was done with the player’s feelings in mind.

“We didn’t want S.J. to be on the streets, cut and released and not have an opportunity to be in a familiar setting with people he’s familiar with,” said Reed. “So there was the human side of it. We didn’t want to just coldly and blindly release him.”

Reed is preparing for his first draft as GM on Sunday. The Alouettes traded their first round pick, third overall, to British Columbia last season for quarterback Vernon Adams. Montreal’s top pick is 12th overall, but he may try to trade up if a player they want is available.

It is also former receiver Eric Deslauriers’ debut as draft director.

A career Alouette, Deslauriers got an inside look at the management shakeup and the changes that followed.

“All good things come to an end,” he said. “Unfortunately for Jim, it was his last season with us.

“I have nothing negative to say about him. Sometimes change is just needed.”

 

Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Family of Cameron Kerr plead for driver to come forward

“Stand up and be a human.” Those were the only words that… Continue reading

Gwaii Haanas celebrates new Land-Sea-People plan

Forty per cent of Gwaii Haanas marine areas protected under new, integrated plan

Terrace RCMP seek witnesses to fatal hit and run

The community is grieving a young man killed in tragic hit and… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

Most Read