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Campbell: Offensive struggles overshadowing solid Als defence

Sean Campbell
7/17/2013 11:49:28 AM
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If they say offence wins games and defence wins championships, the Alouettes may be alright come November.

But it's July and the season has gotten off on the wrong foot for Montreal's offence. On the other side of the ball, despite a 1-2 record, the defence can say they are doing their job.

The last two weeks Noel Thorpe's crew has given up only three touchdowns -- two goal-line QB sneaks against Winnipeg and a tipped ball that landed in the hands of Nik Lewis versus Calgary.

"I love my defense; we knew going into camp we were going to be a scrappy physical bunch," defensive lineman John Bowman said.

The unit is led by Thorpe, the Alouettes defensive coordinator. Hired prior to Marc Trestman leaving to become head coach of the Chicago Bears, Thorpe's previous positions included stops at the Université de Montreal where he was the defensive coordinator and in Edmonton as the special teams coordinator for the Eskimos.

Early on he has earned instant respect from his players including defensive back Byron Parker.

"Our front seven is playing amazing football right now," Parker said. "Hat's off to the front line, coach Thorpe is calling a great game."

In three games Montreal has four interceptions, seven fumble recoveries and 14 sacks. The high-level play of the defence has only increased the pressure on the underperforming offence.

However, Parker dismissed any concern the team had for its offensive leader, Anthony Calvillo.

"I'm not worried about 'AC,' he's a living legend," Parker said.

Fellow defensive back Geoff Tisdale echoed Parker's sentiments about the rest of the offence.

"We're a team, we're a family, we got to stick together," Tisdale said. "We are built to get the ball back for our offence, that's what we are going to do every game."

The Alouettes are refusing to hit the panic button, realizing there were similar concerns last season about the early struggles of the defence and they were able to turn things around.

"We are going to get it together, it's an 18-game season, we have seven more home games and we are going to take it one game at a time," Parker said.

Although the Als defence looks like it is championship caliber, the offence needs to step up in a rematch with the Stampeders this Saturday in Calgary and prove it can win a game.

Notes:  Last week vs. the Stamps, Montreal had six penalties of at least 15 yards…Nik Lewis had as many second down conversions as the Alouettes had as a team…The Als Defense limited the Stampeders to three field goals and one touchdown in four trips to the redzone… Montreal only had one trip to the redzone and it came on their opening drive.

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