Alouettes offensive co-ordinator Calvillo welcomes help from veteran Chapdelaine
MONTREAL — Anthony Calvillo wanted help in his first full season as an offensive co-ordinator, and Montreal Alouettes coach and general manager Jim Popp found him a proven veteran in Jacques Chapdelaine.
“I learned as a player that you have to be open minded and able to learn and have qualified guys on the staff to make us better,” Calvillo said Wednesday. “Jim has given me the leeway to find and hire my guys.
“When you have a guy like Jacques, with all his experience, how can you not ask him to be part of your staff?”
When the Alouettes announced this week they had hired Chapdelaine as receivers coach and “special adviser” to Calvillo, some saw it as a lack of confidence in the former star quarterback’s ability to be a co-ordinator in only his second year of coaching.
Not so, said Calvillo, who welcomed the chance to work with a 54-year-old ex-Alouette player with 13 years of CFL coaching experience.
Calvillo said he doesn’t have the contacts in the coaching fraternity yet to find his own adviser and asked Popp for some names. He was excited at the chance to work with Chapdelaine, a Sherbrooke, Que., native who won Grey Cups with Calgary and British Columbia.
“One of the things I stressed with our staff is that I want them to speak their minds,” said Calvillo, the CFL’s all-time passing leader. “I want them to challenge each of us.
“That’s the way to come up with the best answer.”
Chapdelaine needed to get out of his contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders to talk to Calvillo, then signed a two-year deal with Montreal.
He said he will give his opinions, but won’t second guess Calvillo.
“He’s going to be calling the game,” said Chapdelaine. “I’ve never believed in co-co-ordinators.
“That’s extremely difficult. I see it as a sounding board. I’m here to make him look good. The better this offence goes, the more confident he’ll be as a coach and the better off we all are.”
It adds another name to list of potential future head coaches on staff if Popp ever quits coaching to concentrate on being general manager. Defensive co-ordinator Noel Thorpe and special teams co-ordinator Kavis Reed would also be prime candidates, while Calvillo almost seems destined to be head coach one day.
“Now there’s going to be another name thrown into the mix,” said Calvillo. “We can’t control that.
“Our main focus is to make sure we jell together as a staff to bring this organization back to where it was in the past, and that’s being a winner.”
Two major tasks await. They need to replace starting left tackle Josh Bourke, who signed as a free agent with Toronto, and they have to sort out a crowd of receivers after signing free agent Kenny Stafford and bringing Duran Carter back from the NFL.
There could be friction between Carter and S.J. Green, who will both see themselves as No. 1 receivers.
“They’ve played together before and had success,” said Calvillo. “But that’s the challenge — we have lot of weapons now and everyone has to understand we’re going to build this as a team.
“All those guys — S.J., Duran, Nik (Lewis), Stafford — have to understand we’re here for one reason, to win ballgames.”
Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press
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