Alouettes’ Duron Carter Still Not Sure if He’ll Play Against Redblacks
It seems like there has been plenty of water under the Alouettes’ bridge since late June, when Duron Carter was ejected and suspended one game for knocking over Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell.
Carter, almost immediately, said through the CFL players’ association he was appealing. The private, closed hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at the Montreal Airport Marriott hotel and Carter doesn’t know if his presence is required. But he and the Als are preparing as though he’ll be permitted to play Friday night when the teams meet at TD Place (7 p.m., TSN, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
“The way I understand (things), it would be unfair to our team if I was automatically suspended in the middle of the week,” Carter said following Monday’s practice at Stade Hébert in St. Léonard. “I would guess I’m available for this game (although) it depends on the ruling,”
Carter already has been fined twice — by both the Als and CFL — and is believed to be the highest-paid receiver north of the border. Any suspension would hit him heavily in the pocketbook, not to mention taking one of Montreal’s few offensive threats off the field.
Carter, you’ll remember, headed toward the Redblacks’ bench immediately after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter, narrowing the Als’ deficit to 14-12. Ottawa safety Jermaine Robinson delivered a blow to Carter’s head on the catch, not that there likely was any correlation between the gash to his forehead and Carter’s behaviour.
“I don’t even think we’d have to watch the video again, based off the disciplinary action or my discipline,” Carter said.
The Als are now 2-5 and are coming off a game last week in Edmonton during which they were held without a touchdown for the second time this season. Carter’s touchdown against Ottawa was the only time Montreal reached the end zone that night. This is a team that’s struggling offensively — and has struggled for the last four seasons.
Carter didn’t have success against Eskimos cornerback Patrick Watkins who, at 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds, is the exact same size as the Montreal receiver. Carter was limited to three catches for 28 yards, although he was a target 10 times. Watkins had help in the secondary covering the dangerous player.
“They had a pretty good scheme on me,” Carter said. “Sometimes they had three or four guys on me. It just happened to be when my play was called. They caught us out of position. We have to be able to adjust to that.”
That doesn’t diminish the fact Carter, individually, didn’t have a strong game following three successive 100-yard performances. Teams, more and more, will attempt to take Carter out of the game with varying degrees of success. He still has 38 catches this season for 564 yards and has scored three touchdowns.
When Carter’s removed from the equation, it should open possibilities up for other players, of course. B.J. Cunningham, for one, had his strongest game as an Alouette, catching five passes for 98 yards. That included a 42-yard reception in the second quarter. And Samuel Giguère was more of a factor, for once, catching four passes for 48 yards.
Coincidentally, Giguère was open late in the game with the ball on the Eskimos’ 30. But quarterback Kevin Glenn, under some pressure, attempted to hit Corbin Louks on a crossing route. The ball was intercepted by middle-linebacker J.C. Sherritt.
By removing a player from the box to assist Watkins in his coverage of Carter, it should have become easier for the Als to run. But, as usual, their attempt was negligible, the results not particularly encouraging, either. Brandon Rutley had 12 carries, gaining 43 yards. He had one fewer carry than Edmonton’s John White, who produced 23 more yards.
“It’s going to happen,” said Jacques Chapdelaine, a special adviser to offensive co-ordinator Anthony Calvillo. “People are going to pay special attention to Duron. For us to be able to manage that situation, we have to have a good run game. They take a defender and start to lighten up the box, we have to run the football. If we can’t run, it’s going to be an issue.
“We have to continue to make sure we have answers when they take Duron away. We use Duron in some circumstances to pull people away from other (receivers). We have to take advantage of that when it happens.”
While Calvillo continues to struggle, it seems, calling successful plays in his first full season as offensive co-ordinator, Chapdelaine said it comes down to more than one person. Everyone, players and coaches, must do more, he proclaimed.
“We drove decently well,” Chapdelaine said. “We get down there and, again, it’s the same thing — pressure or something else takes us out.”
Nonetheless, the Als controlled the ball only 23:24 — more than 13 minutes less than Edmonton. That will continue making it difficult to win.
The Als, at least, are contemplating making a roster move. Receiver Cody Hoffman split reps with Louks on Monday. It’s exploratory at this point, Chapdelaine said.
“At least from an assignment point of view (Hoffman) did well,” Chapdelaine said. “Does it help Corbin also elevate his game? Probably, to some extent. That’s part of the competitive element of our business.”
Notes — Als defensive-tackle Michael Klassen, as feared, suffered a broken leg against Edmonton and has been placed on the six-game injured list. … Defensive-back Billy Parker (groin) will miss a second straight game.