CFL Pass

Kudos to Cato, but S.J. Green is still Montreal Alouettes’ main man

What could ultimately go down as a storybook season for Rakeem Cato and his Montreal Alouettes continued last night with an inspiring 17-13 win versus the Hamilton Tiger-Cats just six days after a disappointing week three loss in which the rookie made two very costly game-changing errors.

All hype and headline-making aside, however, let’s spare a fair share of credit to S.J. Green for the Alouettes’ success in three games with Cato at the helm. Despite the final result for Montreal last week, Green got official kudos with a Canadian Football League Top Performers of the Week nod.

Local media was immediately on the Green bandwagon following the Winnipeg game: Le Journal de Montréal ran a piece describing the instant chemistry which had formed between the new QB and veteran WR in short time; the Gazette portrayed one confidence-brimming dude. Ran this piece in part: “‘I enjoy getting man-to-man coverage. When I do, I try to embrace the opportunity,’ said the 6-foot-3, 220 pound Green, who believes no CFL defender can cover him one-on-one.”

Perhaps certain members of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats secondary took Green’s gauntlet-throwing to heart, as Green indeed spent most of last night’s game swamped in double coverage. But even without Cody Hoffman, Cato productively employed Green as a decoy throughout the first half, connecting with the heretofore underused Fred Stamps and old hand Nik Lewis.

And just when fandom thought the stingy Ti-cats defence had found the key to shutting down Cato’s previously favourite target, Cato discovered the chinks in the double-teaming armour on the Als’ first drive of the second half. A risky nine-yard completion preceded back-to-back first-down receptions before finally scoring this touchdown.

In the Journal piece referenced above, Cato credited Green’s hands as crucial to the receiver’s success: “Throw it in any way and he’ll catch it,” Cato claimed and, with one stretching grab that embarrassed the out-of-position Brandon Stewart and Mike Daly, Green proved so.

Worse yet for the Tabbies – and future Als opponents – Cato was able to switch his attention back to his other weapons after the Green TD, going 5-for-8 in the fourth quarter while targeting Green just once.

Seemingly swamped after a brutal opening game in which two quarterbacks were knocked out, CFLpass is tempted to say “What a difference a few weeks makes” for the Als after the subsequent emergence of Rakeem “The Dream” Cato.

Except that the true key to the Alouettes’ newly re-found winning ways has already been in Montreal for years…

– written by Os Davis