Tuesday, September 13, 2016
BLOW UP AT ALOUETTES PRACTICE
The second-year QB was led off the field by special teams co-ordinator Kavis Reed after losing his temper and shouting at Kenny Stafford and Duron Carter about what he called a lack of respect from the veteran receivers.
The incident came in the first practice after veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn was traded to Winnipeg on Sunday, leaving the starting job to Cato. There were a few fans and a larger than usual contingent of media on hand to witness the incident.
"It's about respect,'' a still-seething Cato said after he was brought back to speak to the media by Reed. "I may not know you from a can of paint, but I'm going to respect you every day.
"That's how I feel about life. I'm not going to just take BS from anybody. I just want to be treated as a man. Nothing less.''
Neither Cato nor the receivers would say what exactly caused him to lose his cool late in the two-hour workout at Hebert Park.
After a play went awry, Cato had cross words for Stafford on the sideline. Reed led Cato under the grandstand to calm him down, but when the quarterback came back out, he started shouting at Carter and then shoved the team's leading receiver. Cato was still yelling as he walked to the far side of the field where defensive players were standing.
Finally, defensive end John Bowman, scout Eric Deslauriers and Reed walked him the exit, where Reed took him to parking lot to talk it over.
The 3-8 Alouettes already looked to be in disarray and headed for a second straight year of missing the playoffs. Players have openly criticized management on social media, especially after Glenn was dealt to Winnipeg for a fourth round draft pick.
Then Cato lost it for a second time.
Last week, in the first practice after Cato was named the starter over Glenn for a game Friday in Vancouver, he also had an on-field argument with Carter.
Cato feels his ability to step in and lead the offence is being questioned.
"The only thing I can do is come in and give 100 per cent and play hard for this team,'' he said. "When I get sidetracked by one of my players who I'm going so hard for, who I'm ready to do anything for, it's enough.
"You can't take that as a quarterback. You have to stand your ground.''
Carter admits he was not pleased to see Glenn go.
"To me it just feels like every team's getting better and we didn't get any better,'' he said. "That was our quarterback.
"That's one of the reasons I came here - KG being a stable quarterback. But it's football. Things happen.''
But he said the team still has to work together to get ready for the next game Friday night in Hamilton.
"We've got to focus-up, figure out what's wrong with (Cato) and get back out here,'' said Carter.
Stafford also hoped to patch things up.
"He's our starting quarterback,'' he said. "I'm behind Rakeem Cato.
"The kid can play. He completed 75 per cent of his passes last game. No turnovers. He has a bright future. It was just a communication error between competitors and it's not going to slow us down.''
Offensive co-ordinator Anthony Calvillo said losing games has players on edge and it has spilled into the open on social media.
"This is the environment we've created,'' said Calvillo. "Guys have been tweeting stuff, we address it and you go on.
"There have been tweets all year long and it just keeps going on. You fine guys and you go from there.''
Glenn was acquired late last season to try to stabilize the quarterback position after a run of injuries forced rookies, including Cato, into more action than the coaches had hoped.
The 37-year-old Glenn had some strong games for Montreal, but had struggled to move the offence and thrown six interceptions in a pair off losses before Popp opted to go with youngsters for the rest of the season. It started with Cato, who went a promising 21-for-29 for 255 yards and a touchdown in B.C.
He and rookie Vernon Adams will be the only quarterbacks dressed in Hamilton. Jonathan Crompton is to return from injury soon and Popp said all three will see playing time down the stretch.
"This is something that carried over from last week,'' Popp said of Cato's blowup. "It's a personality thing.
"I just think tensions are high. Everyone wants to win. It was between him and a couple of receivers. (Practice) was running well before that took place.''