This is looking like it is going to be a very exciting year. I say that because the season for the Montreal Alouettes could go one of two ways. They could be a very good team or a very bad team. There are that many question marks surrounding the Alouettes. From the new players to the quarterback position things are up in the air.
There have been some changes from last year’s roster. Gone are some familiar faces like WR Chad Johnson, WR Duron Carter, WR Brandon London, CB Geoff Tisdale, RB Chris Rainey, and RB Brandon Whitaker. In are new faces like QB Dan LeFevour, WR Samuel Giguere, SB Nik Lewis, SB Fred Stamps, OL Ryan Bomben, and RB Carl Volny. There will obviously be a phase of getting used to each other as there are only two preseason games in the CFL.
Though it seems like QB Jonathan Crompton is going to retain his hold on the starting position that he earned last season, he still has to prove that he can be a consistent CFL quarterback. If he falters the Als can fall back on newly signed Dan LeFevour. After spending some time in the NFL with a couple of teams, the American born quarterback moved on to the Hamilton Tiger Cats of the CFL. In his three seasons he proved that he has a strong arm and is a good scrambler. Behind him is the talented and strong armed, but unproven Canadian Brandon Bridge. Another back-up who fans are familiar with, Tanner Marsh, has been placed on the 6 game injured list with a knee injury picked up during the preseason.
The running back position, now that often injured veteran Brandon Whitaker has been released, is even less settled. It seems like it is going to be a three horse battle between Tyrell Sutton, Carl Volny and Stefan Logan.
As for the receivers though they lost a couple with a heavy loss with Duron Carton moving on to the NFL it is still an impressive group. The veteran is S.J. Green and he will have veteran SBs Nik Lewis and Fred Stamps along with WR Samuel Giguere around him. Back-ups will include youngsters WR Cody Hoffman from BYU who none other than Ben Cahoon said has great hands, WR Alex Charette of Guelph and local boy Mikhaïl Davidson. Charette and Hoffman impressed with some circus catches during preseason. Helping them along will be rookie receivers coach, but CFL icon, Anthony Calvillo. His knowledge of the game and the opposing teams should prove very helpful.
Defensively the team should be as good as last year lead by linebackers Bear Woods and Chip Cox and defensive lineman John Bowman. Defensive coordinator Noel Thorpe has for a couple of seasons been considered one of the best at his job in the CFL. His defenses are always known to be aggressive and physical and there is no reason to believe that would change.
Special teams, which were an Achilles heel for the Als last season, should be better with some new players and a new co-coordinator Kavis Reed. Stefan Logan could also be the dynamic kick returner that the Alouettes have been seeking for several seasons now.
Some have pointed out that the Als might be a little long in the tooth with a decent amount of players over 30 on the roster, but general manager Jim Popp is a man who we can trust as he has season after season found talented players to put on the field. I don’t think any of the 30-somethings would be there if they didn’t warrant it. There is something to be said for a team possessing a veteran presence.
One thing that will help Montreal along is the lack of quality in the East once again this year. The Als were able to get into the playoffs after starting the season 1-7. None of the teams in the East (Hamilton, Ottawa, Toronto) seem to have greatly improved for the 2015 season.
Montreal kicks off their season this Thursday, June 25 at home against the Ottawa RedBlacks. Tickets can be purchase at www.ticketmaster.ca .