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Als plagued by QB issues ever since Anthony Calvillo retired


The Montreal Alouettes were spoiled to have a quarterback with the magnificence and durability of Anthony Calvillo.

Since he retired after the 2013 season, the CFL club has been flailing about, trying to find a competent, durable replacement.

And now as a rookie offensive co-ordinator, Calvillo himself seems out of answers. The Alouettes are averaging a league-low 14 points a game.

Montreal’s weakness at QB was further exposed last week when Kevin Glenn sat out with eye inflammation, handing the keys to Rakeem Cato and Vernon Adams Jr.

The Als were humbled 31-7 by the Tiger-Cats, falling to 1-2, and frustration was evident.

Duron Carter made a sparkling leaping catch early in the game, but the Als never went back to him on a long play.

“My girlfriend tells me our offence looks too bland — and she knows nothing about football,” Carter told the Montreal Gazette.

The Als hope that frustration is turned into positive energy when they visit the Toronto Argonauts (2-2) on Monday (7:30 p.m., TSN).

Glenn, who has been a part of a record eight CFL teams since 2001, is a proven star. But he’s 37 and near the end of the line.

In 2014, the first year in 16 seasons without Calvillo, Montreal started 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith, who was ineffective and replaced by Alex Brink for two games.

By August, after a 1-7 start, Jonathan Crompton was inserted and he caught lightning in a bottle, leading the Als to a 9-9 record and an appearance in the East final.

Last season, however, Crompton suffered a shoulder injury in the first game (he is back on the six-game injured list).

Desperate at 5-9, the Als acquired Glenn from Saskatchewan at the October trade deadline. But the damage had been done and they missed the playoffs.

Cato got the start last week, but his performance was the weakest among all pivots in the league (18 of 25 for 203 yards, no TDs, no interceptions) and Adams wasn’t any better (4 of 9 for 35 yards).

Prior to Calvillo, the last dominant QB in Montreal was Sonny Wade in the 1970s.

That’s a lot of pressure to put on Glenn.

Defensive end John Bowman says the team has faith in Glenn, who returned to practice this week.

“The thing about A.C. (Anthony Calvillo) was that was a few years ago and we need to get over that,” Bowman told the Star. “Kevin Glenn is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in CFL history.”

It’s clear, however, that Glenn is not the quarterback of the future.

The jury is still out on Crompton. A longshot could be Mississauga QB Brandon Bridge. But until he gets more playing time, he’s still only a guy with untapped potential.

WEEK 5 ACTION

Calgary (1-1-1) at Winnipeg (1-3)

Thursday, 8:30 p.m.

The Stampeders, coming off a bye week, are still waiting for Bo Levi Mitchell to throw his first 300-yard game of the season. They face a Blue Bomber team that will be without receiver Ryan Smith (lower body injury), one of the team’s big free-agent signings. Bombers QB Drew Willy needs better protection. Winnipeg has allowed a league-high 13 sacks.

Ottawa (3-0-1) at Saskatchewan (0-3)

Friday, 9 p.m.

With all the buzz surrounding Chris Williams, underrated Greg Ellingson stepped from the shadows to catch nine passes for 218 yards against Toronto. Meanwhile, Trevor Harris, the No. 1 quarterback in the league, must be ingesting rocket fuel. He was 28 of 31 for a 90.3 completion average, and won player of the week honours Tuesday for the third time in four weeks. The Riders can’t seem to outrun bad luck. Darian Durant went down with a sprained ankle, leaving the team in the hands of Mitchell Gale, the former Argo who had thrown only 21 passes in three years prior to joining the Riders this season.

Hamilton (2-2) at Edmonton (2-1)

Saturday, 7 p.m.

The Tiger-Cats lead the CFL with 25 two-and-outs. That’s not a good reflection on Jeremiah Masoli, who has thrown a league-high five interceptions. Brandon Banks came to the rescue again last week, producing an electrifying 86-yard punt return TD. Even though the Eskimos are No. 8 in team defence, it’s hard to bet against QB Mike Reilly, who rolled up 465 passing yards last week.

TORONTO STAR | SPORTS

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