Thursday, 17 January 2013

Dyakowski Re-Ups, Trestman to Chicago

A couple of big news items from Wednesday, so let's get to it.

The Ti-Cats followed up Tuesday's re-signing of Marwan Hage with the re-signing of Peter Dyakowski on Wednesday. When I said on Tuesday the team needed to get working on inking Dyakowski to a contract extension, I didn't expect them to do it so quickly.

I am obviously fully in favour of the re-signing. I am a very big Peter Dyakowski fan and I think he has become of the top interior linemen in the entire CFL. He was the team's top offensive lineman in 2011 and was a division all-star in 2012. It's very possible he could end up getting a Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman award in the next couple of seasons to put next to his Canada's Smartest Person trophy.

With Hage and Dyakowski back, the Ticats have re-signed probably their two most important potential free agents. But there are still a number of potential free agents that remain unsigned, with Brian Simmons headlining that group. Simmons remains unsigned as he tries out for NFL teams.

The other big news item from Wednesday is that Marc Trestman has left the Montreal Alouettes to become the head coach of the Chicago Bears. Trestman spent the last five seasons with Montreal, guiding them to three Grey Cup appearances and two Grey Cup wins (2009, 2010).

Trestman's departure has many wondering if this is the end of Montreal's dynasty. While I think Trestman is an excellent coach and one of the best we've seen in the CFL, I'm not too sure we should start writing an obit for the Als. For starters, they were a darn good team before Trestman got there in 2008. They went to five Grey Cups in eight seasons before Trestman arrived, and although the won only one of them (2002), they were very much a championship-calibre team before Trestman arrived and they will remain one even though he is gone.

The main reason for that is that the architect of the Montreal juggernaut isn't going anywhere. After interviewing for GM positions with a number of NFL teams, Jim Popp is staying with the Als. Popp has been with the organization since the beginning and his return is a bigger deal than Trestman's departure. Don't get me wrong, the next Als coach probably won't be as good as Trestman, but Popp is the constant in Montreal. The Als can find a new coach, but losing Popp would have dealt the Als a huge blow. Losing both Popp and Trestman might have been catastrophic. But Popp isn't going anywhere just yet, and as long as he is still running the show in Montreal, the Als will be just fine.

And let's not forget, they still have Anthony Calvillo. Talk of Montreal's demise is something we're heard before, but I'll wait until they finally have a 6-12, non-playoff season before I started predicting their downfall.

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