Sports Zurkowsky: Future of Alouettes head coach Khari Jones is murky

05:01  01 december  2021
05:01  01 december  2021 Source:   montrealgazette.com

Alouettes president Cecchini has work cut out convincing fans to venture to Molson Stadium

  Alouettes president Cecchini has work cut out convincing fans to venture to Molson Stadium Although the Alouettes are headed toward their worst attendance figure in a decade, president Mario Cecchini said he’s not concerned. That doesn’t mean Cecchini’s pleased, while admitting one of his major mandates this winter will revolve around enhanced marketing strategies and improving the organization’s community presence — aspects that were virtually non-existent last winter due to COVID-19 and the uncertainty whether the CFL would be permitted to play after cancelling its 2020 season.

Article content. As the Alouettes ’ head coach , Khari Jones is used to spending long days preparing for an upcoming game — or at least he was until the Canadian Football League cancelled the 2020 season because of COVID-19. It’s not uncommon for struggling actors to fall back on some other form of employment to pay the bills when times are tough. Instead, in a bizarre paradox, Jones has reverted to acting while coaching times are vague with the future of the CFL appearing somewhat tenuous. Jones was an English major at UC Davis, but took a minor in drama.

Montreal Alouettes head coach Khari Jones on the sideline during his team's Canadian Football League game against the Hamilton Tiger Cats game in Montreal on Aug. Jones received his diagnosis late Sunday. Following the revelation, players and team personnel were tested on Monday. No additional positive tests have been detected. The Als are preparing for a game against the B.C. Lions, Saturday night at Molson Stadium. During Jones ’ absence, his duties will be assumed by André Bolduc, the assistant head coach who also coaches the running backs.

Teams that finish with .500 records, then lose in the opening round of the playoffs, will always claim they underachieved.

A mediocre record the past two seasons and the Alouettes' lack of discipline on the field has left head coach Khari Jones's future with the team uncertain. © Provided by The Gazette A mediocre record the past two seasons and the Alouettes' lack of discipline on the field has left head coach Khari Jones's future with the team uncertain.

That was one of the central themes expressed by a handful of Alouettes players on Tuesday. But another was the lack of discipline and number of penalties this team took throughout the season — including during Sunday’s East Division semifinal loss at Hamilton, when they were penalized 12 times for 115 yards.

EXPLAINER: Doubts raised as execution nears for Julius Jones

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Fortunately, they did," said Khari Jones following his team's win over the Stampeders. Share this Story: Zurkowsky : Alouettes ' resilience comes clutch in miracle OT win at McMahon. The Calgary Stampeders’ Jamar Wall goes after Montreal Alouettes quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. during CFL

Will Khari Jones return as head coach ? When will the team have a new ownership group and who will be the new general manager? All that’s known is the team had its first winning record since 2012 and made the Canadian Football League playoffs for the first time since ’14. I’m going to work my heart out.” While Jones wasn’t available to the media Monday, he and president Patrick Boivin are expected to hold a news conference this week. hzurkowsky@postmedia.com. twitter.com/HerbZurkowsky1. Share this article in your social network. Share this Story: After resurgent season, Alouettes wonder

A lack of discipline generally reflects poorly on a team’s head coach, and that’s a major reason why there’s so much speculation about the future of Khari Jones.

While Jones remains under contract for 2022 and has directed the Als to playoff berths the last two seasons, his overall record, including playoffs, is 17-17, with two straight post-season defeats.

When Danny Maciocia was hired as the general manager in January 2020, he inherited Jones and hasn’t had a chance to hire his own head coach.

Jones is listed as a participant when management will meet the media at Olympic Stadium on Thursday. And Jones was involved in exit meetings with the players Monday and Tuesday, indicating he’s part of the plan moving forward.

On the other hand, several of his late-season decisions, including play-calling, could easily be questioned. Following a four-game winning streak, Montreal ended its season with four losses in five games, including Sunday’s 23-12 setback .

Alouettes' Stanback bulldozes his way to outstanding player nomination

  Alouettes' Stanback bulldozes his way to outstanding player nomination On an Alouettes team generally devoid of stars — and one that’s onto its third starting quarterback — one player has stood out. And it’s hard to fathom exactly where this club would be without the contributions of running-back William Stanback — the Als’ nominee as most outstanding player. “It’s pretty special that it’s Will, and it speaks to his impact on this team — the fact he stands out,” head coach Khari Jones said on Wednesday, when the CFL announced each team’s nominees for the league’s outstanding player awards. “Sometimes (tailback) isn’t necessarily a stand-out position,” Jones added. “But he’s that good and he stands out.

The Alouettes meet the Blue Bombers on Saturday night (7 p.m., TSN1, TSN4, RDS, tsn690.ca, 98.5 FM) at IG Field and will be led by the 35-year-old Harris, who replaces the injured Matthew Shiltz. Harris played the fourth quarter of last Saturday’s loss against Saskatchewan, completing 12 of 15 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. “I know they feel very confident and comfortable with Trevor,” Alouettes head coach Khari Jones said. “He has that about him, being a veteran guy who has played in these tough games.

Head coach Khari Jones never lost confidence the Alouettes could rally from a fourth-quarter deficit last Saturday night at Calgary. That’s because 17 years earlier, he was the architect of a similar, and improbable, rally — against the Stampeders. Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ quarterback Khari Jones runs in a first half touchdown against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Aug. 31, 2003, in Regina. Photo by GEOFF HOWE /Canadian Press. Winnipeg managed to overcome four turnovers in the game. Jones was intercepted twice.

The Als went the entire second half without scoring a point against Ottawa in the regular-season finale. Then, despite a wide advantage in time of possession, were held to a first-half field goal at Hamilton while producing only one touchdown.

The four turnovers committed by quarterback Trevor Harris — three in the second quarter, when Montreal was outscored 20-0 — didn’t help. And Harris was sacked six times behind a makeshift offensive line.

If Jones returns, it might be with an offensive co-ordinator other than himself, so he can concentrate on being the head coach and quarterbacks coach, while holding players responsible. Too many of them had too long a leash without retribution. There’s a football operations salary cap in the league, meaning such a scenario might only work if one of Jones’s assistants is promoted. But if an OC is added, it would probably be at the expense of an assistant on this year’s staff.

Als shoot themselves in foot versus Redblacks; make road to the Grey Cup more difficult

  Als shoot themselves in foot versus Redblacks; make road to the Grey Cup more difficult Nothing this season has come easy for the Alouettes. And now, they’ve guaranteed themselves a treacherous path to a Grey Cup appearance — provided they get that far. Montreal, in all likelihood, was going to finish third in the East Division. But had the Als defeated the last-place Ottawa Redblacks , Friday night at Molson Stadium, they would have ended the season with a winning record and forced Hamilton to beat Saskatchewan, Saturday afternoon Montreal, in all likelihood, was going to finish third in the East Division.

The speculation on Khari Jones ’ future with the Montreal Alouettes is running rampant behind the scenes. Sources around the league felt Jones needed to win the East Semi-Final match-up against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to ensure his head coach job was safe for 2022. The Als lost 23-12 while being It’s the second straight season Montreal lost in the first round of the Grey Cup playoffs. After a 10-8 rookie bench boss campaign, the Alouettes fell at home to the Edmonton Football Team. However, a despondent Jones remained confident in his future with the franchise following the defeat at Tim

Fortunately, we came out ahead,” head coach Khari Jones said. “They’re a tough team. Jones , an assistant coach with Hamilton in 2011, said he used the identical play the last time he was in Moncton, part of this periodic Touchdown Atlantic series. It worked then — at the same end of the field.

If the Canadiens can have a GM and executive vice-president of hockey operations in newly hired Jeff Gorton moving forward, why can’t the Als?

“If you don’t do the right things you’re probably going to get cut; that’s how it works everywhere else,” said Eugene Lewis , the Als’ leading receiver. “If you keep making the same mistakes over and over again, you probably won’t end up here or anywhere else. The margin of error of messing up on pro teams is very low. You can’t do it. It’s about being consistent, doing the right things and doing them the right way.

“Penalties, turnovers and not scoring in the red zone,” Lewis added. “We had that problem all year. We kept talking about it, but kind of weren’t able to consistently do those things the right way. There were too many penalties on special teams and we were undisciplined at times. We have to be smarter.”

As much uncertainty as there is over Jones’s future, the Als must also sort out their apparent logjam at quarterback. Montreal was forced to start three in 2021, because of a season-ending shoulder injury suffered by Vernon Adams Jr. on Oct. 11 against Ottawa.

Alouettes LB Levels guarantees victory against Tiger-Cats in Sunday's playoff showdown

  Alouettes LB Levels guarantees victory against Tiger-Cats in Sunday's playoff showdown Patrick Levels , somewhat predictably given his confidence and honesty, has guaranteed the Alouettes will defeat Hamilton this Sunday in the East Division semifinal. And, although the veteran linebacker potentially has provided bulletin-board material for the Tiger-Cats, Montreal head coach Khari Jones doesn’t seem overly concerned. “We will win in Hamilton,” Levels said on Monday. “Put it as big as you need to put it. Black it out. We coming. The Montreal Alouettes. See you soon. I can’t wait. The mood hasn’t changed. I don’t care about the regular season anymore. Don’t ask me about how we did. It’s over. It’s a new season. Everybody’s 0-0. Get ready for a show.

Adams was replaced by Matthew Shiltz, but the Als also acquired Harris in a trade from Edmonton, several days later. And when Shiltz faltered against Saskatchewan on Oct. 30, Jones didn’t hesitate replacing him with Harris late in the third quarter. Shiltz, who supposedly had a knee injury, never was activated again — not even for the playoff game, when Jones made the bizarre decision of dressing rookie Shea Patterson as Harris’s backup.

While Harris and Adams both are under contract for next season — and both are due winter signing bonuses — Harris was acquired for insurance and failed to deliver in an elimination game. At age 35, it seems unlikely he’ll return to the Als, but should resurface with another CFL team.

Adams is seven years younger and was the team’s unchallenged starter before his injury, but must reduce his interceptions while making smarter on-field decisions. He said his limited time with Harris proved beneficial since Adams, until now, hasn’t had a veteran quarterback — other than Jones, the former Winnipeg standout — from whom he could be mentored and learn how to physically and mentally prepare for games.

Not only have the Als now gone a decade without a Grey Cup, following back-to-back championships in 2009-10, they’re the only CFL team that has failed to even reach the title game over that span. That’s a dubious distinction in a nine-team league.

Inside the CFL: Harris, Stanback and defence could help Als defy odds

  Inside the CFL: Harris, Stanback and defence could help Als defy odds It’s the most wonderful time of the year for CFL fans. The playoffs begin Sunday and, for the second consecutive season — following what felt like an interminable absence of four years — the Alouettes are one of six teams remaining in the hunt for the Grey Cup, which Montreal last won in 2010. And doesn’t this post-season feel even sweeter, considering the 2020 CFL schedule was cancelled? But the road ahead appears steep for the Als, who travel to Hamilton for Sunday’s East Division semifinal. Not only did they finish third, meaning they must win twice on the road to qualify for the Grey Cup, their 7-7 record is the poorest among the six playoff teams.

The Als were only two games behind first-place Toronto this season, and only two points behind Hamilton. There was no dominant team in the division. The players must realize they allowed a glorious opportunity to slip through their fingers.

“We underperformed,” said CFL rushing leader William Stanback. “We had high hopes. We know we’re a way better team than what we showed this year.”




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