Alouettes: in search of the lost discipline

When Alouettes general manager Danny Maciocia met with reporters in the days after the club’s exit in the 2021 Eastern semi-finals, he refused to confirm the return of head coach Khari Jones, stressing that several issues needed to be addressed.

Indiscipline, deficiencies in the special forces and a lack of opportunism in the attack were mentioned above all. After just four games in 2022, Maciocia realized the team was stuck in the same quagmire and changes had become necessary.

Maciocia fired Jones and defensive coordinator Barron Miles Wednesday night. It’s the GM himself who will replace Jones on the sidelines, while it’s a longtime ally, Noel Thorpe, who will have the mandate to restart a defense that is no longer a shadow of it.

“I could have stayed with the status quo hoping things would change, but I have a responsibility to the dressing room and the players,” Maciocia said in Thursday’s video conference call. I have a great passion for this team and have decided to make this decision now rather than waiting until the end of the season. Because that’s where we wanted to go.

“I watched the game [de samedi] full and I have a few questions for Khari. As you know, with a Few Points at half time but in the third quarter we gave up 21 and mostly got a lot of misconduct.

“From now on, we will have a new identity centered on discipline. We will be tougher and ask a lot more from our players. Another thing we would like to add or bring back is passion. That was missing in the last game. »

Aside from the discipline issues Jones was never able to resolve, Maciocia was also challenged by the Alouettes’ difficulties in attack. The team ranks sixth in total yards and ninth and last in second down percentage.

“It’s alarming for me,” Maciocia admitted. We’re having trouble in the red zone. We’re nervous and don’t take anything from it: we have to do better. We should use the current rules in the Canadian Football League to be more creative.

“As for our defense, their identity has changed. The players were concerned. That’s what they said.

“Since I’ve been here I’ve spoken to players on a daily basis, some of whom I consider leaders and have the utmost respect for. I asked a few questions and got the information I needed. I spoke of the many challenges that lie ahead. »

In Thorpe, Maciocia finds a football man he met in Edmonton and with the University of Montreal Carabins. Thorpe also held various positions with the Alouettes from 2002 to 2007 and 2013 to 2017. Last year, the British Colombian was part of the coaching staff of the USFL’s Birmingham Stallions.

“I called to wish him luck ahead of the USFL championship game and we spoke again on Monday and I asked him if he was interested in a position could if the team makes changes,” Maciocia said. At that time these were preliminary talks. The next day we finally got together.

“I know Noel very well and we share the same philosophy. It’s structured and solid.

“Already on the attack [l’entraîneur des receveurs] Michael Lionello, who will decide the games, however [l’entraîneur des quarts] Anthony Calvillo, [l’entraîneur de la ligne à l’attaque] Luc Brodeur-Jourdain as well [l’entraîneur des demis et adjoint à l’entraîneur-chef] André Bolduc is consulted. Everyone has a say in the schedule. Everyone including me. »

However, Maciocia has absolutely no desire to fill both positions beyond next season. He will meet many candidates after the Gray Cup game presentation.

“I never intended to go back there Coachbecause I had a good one solo performance at the University of Montreal, Maciocia recalled. I was the one who knew the players and they Trainer. I’m here to be general manager and build something. For nothing else…”

“Having two people for the positions of general manager and head coach was what the team has always wanted,” added Mario Cecchini, president of Alouettes. Evaluating Canadian and American players is a full-time job. The fact that Danny ends up on the pitch and occupies both positions at the same time is not a permanent solution. »

With 14 games left in the regular season, the optimists will say the Alouettes have plenty of time to raise the bar, while the most cynical will say that perhaps Maciocia should have trusted his instincts and not brought Jones back to the club’s helm.

“Khari presented us with a plan after last season and everyone felt comfortable,” the GM replied. In 2020 there was no season and his only chance [de se faire valoir devant la nouvelle direction], that was last year, which was ultimately a year of transition for everyone. We thought he deserved a second chance. »

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