The Montreal Alouettes ended a long and eventful offseason – and start of training camp – with a 28-23 loss to the Hamilton Tiger Cats at McMaster University’s Ron Joyce Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Alouettes had to deal with a head coach hiring, the signing of former NFL star Chad Johnson, CFL labour negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and the firing of their offensive coordinator before their first pre-season game all since the end of last season.
It was the first of two pre-season games for the Alouettes who used the opportunity to see many of their young players in camp. Chip Cox and Kyries Hebert were among starters not to play and Troy Smith and Luc Brodeur-Jourdain did not play due to minor injuries. Johnson also didn’t play in a receiving corps that was also missing Dave Stala and Jamel Richardson.
The Alouettes – and every other CFL team need to cut their roster down to 65 players by 11:59 p.m. Sunday night. Montreal will have to cut around 20 players from their roster or put them on the injury exempt list.
The result of the game was inconsequential as both teams had their third or fourth string playing by the end of the game. The Alouettes got to see all three of their healthy quarterbacks play as Tanner Marsh, Alex Brink and Collin Klein all got into game action.
Brink was probably the stand out of the quarterbacks who all had at least 10 passing attempts. Brink was 7/10 for a team-high 85 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Marsh and Klein both had an interception each.
The Alouettes also had four running backs carry the ball, including Tyrell Sutton and Brandon Whitaker who are expected to be battling for the starting job.
The leading receiver for the Alouettes was a familiar face – Brandon London. London, who suffered through injuries and poor performances last year led the team with seven catches for 87 yards. He’s in tough to get a starting spot as the Alouettes, health permitting, already have S.J. Green, Duron Carter, Johnson, Richardson and Stala manning the receiving spots.
They also have Carter’s cousin Kenny Stafford who made two catches in yesterday’s game, Larry Taylor and North Carolina standout Jheranie Boyd who was just added to the roster this week among non-imports battling for spots.
London’s performance in the East Semi-Final against Hamilton on Special Teams shows that he can add in that regard even if he isn’t with the first-team offence which can help his cause.
Kyle Graves caught the only touchdown for the Alouettes. Sutton ran in a touchdown for Montreal who had a 17-3 half-time lead.
Both Sean Whyte and Delbert Alvarado kicked and punted for Montreal. Both were perfect on field goals as Whyte had one and Alvarado kicked two.
On defence, there were not really any standouts on the stat sheet as no one had more than two tackles as a significant rotation was used. Chris Smith, a rookie out of Northern Illinois, had an interception. Jamaan Webb, Gabriel Knapton and Ameet Pall had quarterback sacks.
We will have full coverage of the Alouettes cuts later today. Their final pre-season game is against the expansion Ottawa RedBlacks at Molson Stadium next Friday, June 20.