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STUDIO S

Monday, January 7, 2013

ALS FACING EXODUS

They've finished first in the East Division four times since 2008 and appeared in three Grey Cup games, winning twice.

Success, it seems, comes at a price for the Montreal Alouettes.

Head coach Marc Trestman is being looked at for two NFL head-coaching vacancies while assistant general manager Marcel Desjardins spoke for the second time with officials of Ottawa's CFL expansion franchise about its GM position. Jim Popp - the only GM the Montreal franchise has had since relocating from Baltimore in '96 - is said to be a candidate for the vacant general manager's job with the NFL's Carolina Panthers.

This isn't the first off-season the Alouettes have had to deal with the potential loss of key front-office personnel. Last year, the Indianapolis Colts interviewed Popp and Trestman for their general manager and coaching positions, respectively.

Montreal has been a model of consistency in the CFL, with Trestman and Calgary's John Hufnagel being the league's longest-tenured head coaches. No other GM has been with one club longer than Popp, whose teams have appeared in 10 Grey Cups (winning four) and at nine years together he and Desjardins form a very solid 1-2 punch.

The departure of Trestman or Popp would create a huge void for Montreal. But the prospect of losing Trestman, Popp and Desjardins all at the same time would be devastating blow to the Alouettes' football-operations department.

Mark Weightman, the Alouettes' chief operating officer, wasn't immediately available for comment Monday.

Trestman was scheduled to meet with both the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns in the Windy City on Monday. However, a source with knowledge of the situation said Trestman would not be interviewed by the Browns.

Trestman a 56-year-old native of Minneapolis, has spent the last five seasons with Montreal, leading the club to Grey Cup titles in 2009 and 2010. Trestman has compiled a 59-31 regular-season record and was the CFL's coach of the year in '09.

Under Trestman, the Alouettes have advanced to the East Division final four times and are 5-3 in the post-season.

Trestman recently signed a contract extension through 2016 with Montreal but the deal is believed to include an escape clause that would allow him to take a job south of the border.

Trestman's name has been linked to numerous NFL coaching positions pretty much since his arrival in Montreal, and with good reason. Trestman has previous NCAA coaching experience with both Miami and North Carolina State and has also served as a quarterback coach, running back coach or offensive co-ordinator in the NFL with Minnesota (twice), Tampa Bay, Cleveland, San Francisco, Detroit, Arizona, Oakland and Miami.

Trestman helped tutor Browns starter Bernie Kosar during the 1988-'89 campaigns.

Oregon coach Chip Kelly was regarded as the frontrunner for the Cleveland job before ultimately deciding to remain with the Ducks. The Browns have reportedly also spoken with former Arizona Cardinals defensive co-ordinator Ray Horton, fired Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, Syracuse coach Doug Marrone (now Buffalo's head coach) and Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien.

During his NFL tenure, Trestman helped tutor such quarterbacks as Steve Young (San Francisco, 1995-96) and Rich Gannon (Oakland, 2001-'03, with Gannon winning '01 league MVP). Trestman also served as a consultant in '07 for New Orleans head coach Sean Payton.

Trestman also has a history with Bears starter Jay Cutler and backup Jason Campbell. He worked with both prior to their respective draft years _ Campbell went to Washington in 2005 out of Auburn, Cutler to Denver in 2006 out of Vanderbilt.

Each year, many of the NFL's top quarterback prospects look to Trestman to prepare them for their pro day as well as the league's annual combine. One of Trestman's most famous pupils was former Florida star Tim Tebow, who had been much criticized for his poor passing mechanics and long, clumsy passing motion.

In 2010, the Denver Broncos selected Tebow in the first round, 25th overall, in the NFL draft. Tebow spent the 2011 season with the New York Jets.

In addition to Cutler and Campbell, Trestman has also worked with Brandon Weeden (Cleveland's 2012 first-round pick) and Jimmy Clausen (2010 second-round pick, Carolina).

Popp, 48, became Montreal's general manager when the Baltimore franchise relocated to Quebec and has built the Alouettes into a dominant club while becoming one of the CFL's top executives. Popp was also named executive of the year in 2011 by Sports Media Canada.

Popp is also a native of Elkin, N.C., and has earned a reputation in Canada of being a shrewd evaluator of football talent. Popp signed a four-year contract extension with Montreal in 2010 but like Trestman reportedly has an out clause in the deal.

Desjardins, a bilingual native of Burlington, Ont., has spent nine seasons learning from Popp as Montreal's assistant general manger. Desjardins first joined the Alouettes in '99 as their assistant director of football operations.

He became the Hamilton Tiger-Cats general manager in 2007 and spent one season in that post before returning to Montreal.

© 2013 The Canadian Press

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

On a more positive note the Saskatchewan Roughriders never have to worry about what is happening with the Montreal front office.

Anonymous said...

Anon #1, there are 7 other teams out there. Do us all a favour and cheer for one of them. Or wait and you can be the first and only Ottawa fan. Till the STFU.

Anonymous said...

Kent Austin's Ti-Cats = Eastern Champs 2013

Anonymous said...

No, I think it's better to be a self-loathing Rider fan. We're the best however the evidence shows otherwise. Jim Popp actually worked here in the early 90s as Don Mathews personel guy. Al Ford used to get them coffee. They both moved on to Baltimore and the next year won the Grey Cup. The Riders well they got a ribbon for trying.

Anonymous said...

I am waiting to fully measure the value of Jim Popp and Marc Trestman until either one of them works in Montreal post Calvillo. That franchises success is based 100% on the guy in #13.

Anonymous said...

Cry me a river Montreal. Riders have been losing top-notch players and coaches to the NFL, NCAA and other CFL teams for years...

Anonymous said...

I will believe it when I see it. I don't think either of those two guys will a head coach/GM position.

Anonymous said...

The Roughriders are losing players to the NCAA ??? Please explain...

Anonymous said...

Rider success in 07-10 created an exodus. It is finally happening with the Als

Brad

Anonymous said...

Please,

What was Anthony Calvillo before he went to Montreal. Las Vegas and Hamilton gave no indication he'd be what he became. A former Ti-Cat from Regina who was part of the Thom Trojans dynasty told me their QB was better than the Hamilton version of Calvillo. He had the choice to come here which would have ended his career ala Reggie Slack. Instead Calvillo went to a stable organization, learned behind Tracy Hamm, and had Charlie Taffe as his Head Coach to put him in a proper offense. Mike Pringle was the feature of that offense until Don Mathews got there, and then Calvillo really took off.

Jim Popp was a winner in Baltimore where he won a Grey Cup so trust me he knows what he's doing. Jim Popp is this generation's version of Hugh Campbell. If Popp stays in Montreal he'll just get another QB like Campbell did over the years. If Trestman stays he'll just develop another QB like he always has.

Montreal will be just fine.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, let me clarify - the Riders have lost coaches to the NCAA, NFL and other CFL teams. They've lost players to the NFL and other CFL teams.

Happy now?

3RD and 1 said...

Comment was "Jim Popp was a winner in Baltimore where he won a Grey Cup" I say that any Coach and GM in Baltimore was going to win a Grey Cup. 1st they had a CFL team that was already in place. The defunct Montreal Allouettes. They then took every Canadian off the roster and replaced them with Americans. As the labour law in the USofA would not allow the stipulation of having to field an immigrant. They were allowed to break every rule the CFL had in place. Where every Canadian team had to abide by the rules. That was not a good era in the CFL

Anonymous said...

They don't ask how they just ask if you did it. If it was that simple then Sacramento and San Antonio, heck even Las Vegas would have won it. They didn't come close. He then goes to Montreal and has played in that game during his tenure as many times as Saskatchewan has in it's entire history. He's actually won 3 Grey Cups in Montreal as GM. How many Cups total does Saskatchewan have again?

Anonymous said...

....actually during that time Fred Wagman was President. The Riders drafted a dead guy. You could have had the Riders playing under the same rules and they'd have screwed it up. Edmonton, Calgary, Hamilton, Toronto had no issues during that era.

Red said...

I want to know why Don King is in the background

3RD and 1 said...

Sacramento and San Antonio had to start from scratch. They didnt have a CFL franchise that moved to thier city. HUGE difference when comparining to Montreal to Baltimore

Anonymous said...

Ummm Baltimore started from scratch too. They then moved to Montreal to play in front of 9000 fans at the Olympic Stadium.

Look the reality is Jim Popp has put together championship teams. Saskatchewan is a garbage franchise, but important to have in the CFL for logistic and television reasons. Split the bill can and call it even.