The Montreal Alouettes breathed a sigh of relief when it turned out that Anthony Calvillo will not miss a game with a bruised left shoulder.
The Calgary Stampeders weren’t as lucky, but they’re happy to have a veteran like Kevin Glenn to step in for injured starting quarterback Drew Tate. Coach John Hufnagel said he expects Tate to be out for five or six weeks after the Calgary pivot suffered a left shoulder injury last week in Toronto.
So it will be Calvillo against Glenn when the Alouettes (1-1) and Stampeders (1-1) face off on Thursday night at Percival Molson Stadium.
The Stamps, with Tate behind centre, laid a 38-10 pounding on Montreal in the season opener for both clubs two weeks ago in Calgary. A much different game is expected this time after the Alouettes rebounded with a 41-30 victory at home over Winnipeg, when Calvillo passed for 443 yards and three touchdowns.
Calvillo took a hit in the first quarter against the Blue Bombers and went briefly for treatment, but was able to return to the game. He missed practice on Monday to have an MRI on the shoulder, which showed only a bruise, and was able to resume normal training the next day
”The shoulder’s fine,” the 39-year-old said Wednesday. ”It’s sore, but I was very happy I was able to throw every ball without the shoulder bothering me.
”That was a great sign. I’ve got one more day to rest, and overall it looks pretty good.”
Had Calvillo been more badly hurt, the relatively inexperienced Adrian McPherson would have been starting at quarterback.
Tate was forced out of Calgary’s 39-36 loss in Toronto on Saturday, which put Glenn on the hot seat in only his second game with the team since he joined the Stampeders in the off-season deal that sent veteran Henry Burris to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Glenn competed 15 passes for 200 yards with two TDs and two interceptions against the Argonauts.
Coach John Hufnagel expects his backup quarterback to improve as he gets used to his new team.
”When (the Tate injury) first happened, it was a major shock because (Glenn’s) cadence is different,” said Hufnagel. ”Did we get caught out against Toronto? Yes we did. But the adjustment period is over. For the near future, it’s Kevin Glenn’s football team.”
Tate returned to Calgary for an MRI and is getting a second opinion before a definitive statement is made on his condition. Hufnagel said there ”doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of damage” and that he will likely miss five or six weeks, so he probably won’t have to go on the nine-game injured list.
He said Glenn was brought in for just such an emergency.
”It’s something we identified as soon we started talking about a trade; that we’d like to get a veteran quarterback in return,” said Hufnagel. ”I was very pleased it was Kevin Glenn.
”He’s started a lot of games and has had success. I was hoping his role with this team would be to smooth over some rough spots, but injuries happen and he’s ready to play and accept this challenge.”
Glenn is no stranger to playing in Montreal, having spent the past three seasons in Hamilton. His last visit to Montreal was for the East Division semifinal in November, which turned into a wild, end-to-end game won 52-44 in overtime by the Ticats.
”It was exciting,” Glen recalled. ”To be in a semifinal in Montreal at the Big O and for it to go back and fourth like that.
”And I don’t want to say the monkey was on Hamilton’s back, but for two years we hosted the semifinal and came up short. To come into Montreal and beat the defending champs in that type of game felt real good. I always felt it will go down as a CFL classic forever.”
Glenn said it will help that he knows the tendencies of some of Montreal’s defensive players, but mostly, he likes that the Stampeders have a lot of veterans on offence who will make it easier for him to perform.
”It’s the Calgary Stampeders, it’s not Kevin Glenn’s team,” he said. ”I’m the guy that tries to hold the pieces together, the coach on the field that makes sure guys are put in situations to make plays.
”You don’t want to put added pressure on yourself. My focus is on going out and playing Kevin Glenn football.”
The first meeting between the teams was over early as Calgary jumped on a turnover-prone Montreal to build a big first-half lead. The Alouettes defence rallied in the second half, but their offence never got going.
They turned it around last Friday against Winnipeg, with no turnovers in a game they controlled from the outset.
The Alouettes want the same kind of effort in the rematch with Calgary.
”I don’t know who that team was in Week One, but we know who we are now and we’re going to play disciplined, take care of the ball and play fast, Montreal football,” said receiver Jamel Richardson, who confirmed he will play after experiencing knee trouble this week. ”Taking care of the ball is number one. You can’t go down 18 points on a team like that.”
The Stampeders spent the week in Kingston, Ont., and arrived in Montreal on Wednesday. Hufnagel felt it was better to stay in the east with a short break between games than to risk fatigue and jetlag flying back and forth from Calgary.