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

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Security guard now on patrol at three Terrace banks

Company hired to secure ATM vestibules due to safety concerns

LNG Canada sponsors fast-tracked driver’s license training in Terrace, Kitimat

The $80,000 contribution is part of the company’s commitment to hire locally

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

Mermen calendar targets ‘toxic masculinity,’ raises big money for charities

Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club gave a cheque for more than $202,000 to Violence Prevention NL

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

Minister says plans to fight poverty, climate change, focus of B.C. budget

The NDP said in its throne speech last week that affordability will be the hallmark of its initiatives

UPDATED: ‘Violent’ B.C. man back in custody after Alberta arrest

Prince George man with ties to Vernon was being sought by police

After a week away, SNC-Lavalin questions await MPs returning to Parliament

Two have resigned already: Jody Wilson-Raybould was veterans affairs minister and Gerald Butts was Trudeau’s principal secretary

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died

He spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Most Read