The end of the season always brings a host of questions, today we tackle three question facing the Montreal Alouettes.
1. Will 2012 be Anthony Calvillo's last season?
He has said he is returning for another season, and he has made not-so-veiled hints that he still hopes to even his Grey Cup record (which sits at 3-5), so it sounds like 2012 will not be Calvillo's final CFL season. But I think it will be. The East Division is no longer Calvillo's play thing with Winnipeg and Hamilton getting further in the playoffs in 2011 and Toronto making major moves to ensure they don't finish in last again in 2012. The road to a fourth (and fifth) Grey Cup title will not be as easy the road to the first three. Montreal is still a good team and could still win it all, but I don't think they will, and the inability to get number four in 2012 will make Calvillo change course and hang up his cleats at season's end.
2. Will 2012 be Marc Trestman's last season?
Most of the talk in Montreal centres around Calvillo, but Trestman's contract is up following next season and it is possible, probable even, that he won't return. Trestman is a highly valued and respected coach on both sides of the border, and he could be tempted to take an NFL or NCAA job when his contract expires. If Calvillo retires, it is not out of the realm of possibility that Trestman leaves with him.
3. Was 2011 the beginning of the end?
For the first time since 2007, the Montreal Alouettes did not win the East. For the first time since 2007, they lost in the East Division Semi-Final. For the first time since 2004, they lost a playoff game in Montreal. Teams no longer fear the Als. They finished 2011 on a four-game losing streak (including the playoffs), with two of those losses coming in Montreal. The aura around Montreal has faded, and the run that saw them go to eight Grey Cups in 12 seasons is over. Montreal is still a good team, but they are no longer the Beast of the East.