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Habs77

Alouettes news 2003

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Stephen Reid has just retired... a blow to the defense, but I trust we'll be ok.

The signing of Ben Sankey as QB backup finally gets us someone capable of throwing a football if Calvillo gets hurt... so that's a very good signing.

But the receivers picture is still unclear, so is the RB situation, and we'll have a new kicker, punter and return man on special teams... the player movement in this league is ridiculous.

Our saving grace is that the QB and offensive line is intact (we even upgraded the O-line with Lambert)... and the defense, although we've lost a few players, should be solid once more.

The East is still quite a bit weaker than the West, and has one less team, so we still have a favored road to the Grey Cup Finals... that's always nice ;)

[Edited on 2004-6-16 by sakiqc]

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Is this coming friday!

Als @ Ottawa

Its on CJAD (as usual) ...

Its been a pretty terrible off-season for the Als (considering all the players they've lost) but I'm still looking forward to this season... Go Als!

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From TheScore:

The biggest challenge facing the defending Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes will be overcoming the changing face of the team in the past six months.  

With offensive co-ordinator Jim Barker off to Calgary to become head coach, the Als' offence now will be directed by Doug Berry, who oversaw the offensive line last season. Berry will have Anthony Calvillo at quarterback, but the tailback spot is wide open. With Mike Pringle released and Lawrence Phillips discarded, former Baltimore Ravens back Jason Brookins heads the list of replacement players.  

The Als lost via free agency and/or NFL defections receiver Pat Woodcock and receiver/returner Keith Stokes and offensive lineman Kevin Lefsrud.  

Defensively, the Als' noteworthy losses include end Reggie Lowe, linebacker Stefen Reid and defensive back Mark Washington.  

Venerable punter/kicker Terry Baker has hung it up.  

And this the latest on the Als that I know of, I'll go position by position:

- At QB we not only have Calvillo back but we finally got capable backup in Sankey... so we're better there than last year.

- The offensive line is the true key to an offense... and it comes back practically untouched. We lost Lesfrud but have signed Lambert from Hamilton who will play G on the O-line I believe, along with Okeke, Fort, Chiu, Flory. We're among the best in the league, if not the best.

- RB is the easiest position to replace... Jason Brookins will do fine behind that O-line. He's big so he'll be great in 3rd & 1 situations, and our offense is mainly pass-oriented now so we're not as dependant on our RBs as we used to be.

- Receiver is a little tricky... but with Cahoon & Copeland the key slotback position is set.

Can Girard finally win a starter spot at WR, and can 1st round pick Andrew Noel make the team as a rookie?

Watch for Cavil to make an impact this year, he only started one game last year but he's very good.

I'd also like to see them use Lapointe catching some passes out of the backfield.

- On the defense line we lost Reggie Lowe & Adriano Belli (who might still return if he doesn't stick in the NFL). But Megna, Phillion, Richards, Stewart will be a solid bunch.

- The worst loss is LB Reid but we still have Kevin Johnson, Strickland, Dorvelus... and Popp has mentionned he's interested in signing Ralph Staten from Edmonton to replace Reid.

- In the secondary we lost Washington, but are still solid with all-star Baron Miles, Loftus, Durden, Derricott, Shaw. Rumor is we might even see a return of the excellent Sanchez, who's NFL stint might be over for now.

- Oddly, the position that worries me the most is the kicking game. Baker is gone and it seems we're going with 2 kickers to replace him... a punter and a place kicker. Giancola was supposed to our place kicker but he failed the physical and was released... and the leading candidate for a replacement is an American which might play havoc with our import/export quota.

- Oh yeah, and I have no clue who our return man will be... we lost Keith Stokes, and Haskins who both returned the ball last year.

They gave Girard a shot last year, maybe he'll get another chance... because he's the fastest guy on the team. Patrick Dorvelus & Phil Gibson are also among the fastest on the team.

As for our road to the Finals... Toronto just got much better with Damon Allen coming over from BC, he always plays well against Mtl. And Montford's return to Hamilton gives that team an identity again.

And yet, I can't see either team coming close to the Als... our main obstacle to the finals will probably the Western team that crosses over to the East to qualify for the playoffs... which should be one of Calgary, BC or Saskatchewan.

[Edited on 26-5-03 by Habs77]

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Nice season preview habs77 ...

Though I'm wondering about one thing , on RDS today I heard that the Als cut a RB who was supposed to be the frontrunner for the RB job (Was it Brookins?) , I didnt catch the name...

I tried to look it up on their website but their isnt a word about it (Its not on the Als website either).

Ohh and I hope the loss of Jim Barker doesnt hurt our offense too much , but it shouldnt since AC calls his own plays anyways...

[Edited on 2003/5/26 by puck7x]

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Originally posted by puck7x

Nice season preview habs77 ...  

Though I'm wondering about one thing , on RDS today I heard that the Als cut a RB who was supposed to be the frontrunner for the RB job (Was it Brookins?) , I didnt catch the name...

That was Derek Homer, another American RB Popp had invited to camp... he was cut today, not sure why.

Some Americans come to the CFL thinking they'll be "the man" and once they find out they're not... they leave.

Well Brookins seems to be the man for us this year, so Homer can do what he does best and go home. :)

That doesn'tconcern me at all.

Ohh and I hope the loss of Jim Barker doesnt hurt our offense too much  , but it shouldnt since AC calls his own plays anyways...

They replaced Barker with another coach who was there last year... so the offensive coach, the QB, the O-line, and our 2 slotbacks (Cahoon, Copeland), and 1 WR (Girard) all know the system already.

I'm not concerned there either.

Like I said the special teams are the biggest question mark... I still don't know who will kick our FGs and who our return guy will be.

In the end we'll be fine, because our GM and coach are 1st rate... hear that Habs?!? ;)

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The Als lost the services of wide-receiver Jimmy Robinson for the year... he tore his achilles tendon.

Matthews says he's disappointed, because Robinson was one of the guys he was counting on to fill our need at WR given the loss of Woodcock, Haskins & Stokes.

(We still have Girard, Cavil, 1st round pick Noel.. and Freeman.. if they can't cut it we'll have to acquire someone)

RB Kevin McDougall (he's our #3 RB.. ex-Colt in the NFL) is out with a bruised ribs.. he won't play in the first exhibiton game in Ottawa on Friday.

Original french link here

[Edited on 27-5-03 by Habs77]

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For the full original article... click here

Jason Brookins and Thunder Collins appear to be the frontrunners.

"They're both very different," general manager Jim Popp said. "Jason's a big man with a small man's running skills. Thunder is an all-around back who's very explosive. Both can catch out of the backfield, although Collins is a better route-runner."

Much will be decided after Montreal's two preseason games. The first is this Friday, at Ottawa.

Brookins started slowly last Thursday, when he reported to rookie camp. The 6-footer, who has battled weight problems, tipped the scales at 260 in civvies, but has shed about 15 pounds since then. His ideal playing weight is between 230 and 235.

Brookins was with the Green Bay Packers last season, but failed to play while recovering from a broken foot. He hopes to resurrect his career with the Als and prove he's healthy. Should that translate into a return to the NFL, he won't be disappointed.

"I want to play for a winning team, a championship team," said Brookins, who gained 551 yards on 151 carries for the Ravens, scoring five touchdowns. "I don't care which level. I want to play pro, and this is the best team in the CFL."

Collins, 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, comes to Montreal from Nebraska, the same school that produced Phillips. Collins gained 647 yards rushing in 2001 for the Cornhuskers, a team that rarely passes, but was forced to leave after two games last season, to support his 18-year-old brother. He used the time to recover from shoulder surgery.

"I feel I can be real good in pro ball," the 23-year-old said. "I need a break, a chance. A lot has happened in my life and I've been the victim of bad timing. I just need an opportunity and for a coach to play the best player."

[Edited on 27-5-03 by Habs77]

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Link to original article (french)... click here

Great news for the D... he wasn't claimed off waivers by any NFL team after being cut by the Browns.

He's back in Montreal, and should be on the practice field as soon as he passes his medical exam.

In other news, Cahoon & Miles got the day off because of mild ankle sprains, RBs McDougal & Collins are also banged up.

The article mentions RB Eric Lapointe is doing very well and looks like the top RB right now... I say that's typical RDS pro-quebecer bull and he'll be lucky to be #2.

But then again, I wasn't at the practice so what to I know? ;)

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Oh yeah! Good news about Belli ... That really bolsters the defensive line...

Now lets get back some of the others in the NFL , like Sanchez... He was one of my favourites while he was here.

The offense may have holes to fill but the defense looks great , and we all know which one of the two wins championships.

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As I mentionned in my season preview... watch for Cavil to make an impact this season with the Als.

Link to complete original story... click here

Receiver Kwame Cavil played only one game for the Alouettes last season, against Ottawa. He caught one pass during that game, albeit a 19-yard touchdown.

So why is everyone associated with the team so bullish on the 6-foot-2, 203-pounder?  

Size, speed and intelligence.

"I almost consider him like a veteran," said head coach Don Matthews. "He's playing like a vet. He understands the offence and is comfortable with it."

Cavil, 24, didn't join Montreal until Oct. 16, after his release by the Cleveland Browns. He was on the Als roster 10 days later, against the Renegades, and would have become a starter had the season lasted longer, according to general manager Jim Popp.

With three receiver positions open following the losses of Pat Woodcock, Thomas Haskins and Keith Stokes, Cavil almost certainly will be a starter this season.

"When people like Jim Popp believe in you and see your potential, the only thing you can do is run with it," Cavil said yesterday, after a second consecutive day of training camp workouts indoors at Stade du Haut-Richelieu. "All the great players work hard and are never satisfied.

"Montreal has opened its arms to me, and I'm grateful. The CFL's a great league for receivers."

And about the rest of the receiving corps:

Popp has assembled a talented receiving corps, and the coaching staff will have some tough decisions in the coming weeks.

Montreal could keep as many as seven receivers on its 40-man roster. The Canadian-American ratio remains to be determined. With Ben Cahoon, Jeremaine Copeland, Sylvain Girard and Cavil expected to start, that leaves several others in the mix, including Chris Coleman, Cornell Craig, Mace Freeman, a free-agent addition from Hamilton and Andrew Noel, the Als' first-round draft choice this year.

The organization is high on Coleman, 26, NFL Europe's leading receiver last season with 51 catches for 710 yards and eight touchdowns. The 6-foot, 208- pounder also spent three seasons in the NFL with Tennessee. He's also considered a tremendous special teams player who's adept at blocking punts.

"I'm just happy to be on the field and have that brown thing thrown my way," Coleman said.

Doesn't sound like we'll miss a beat at receiver... I wasn't reallly worried about that position anyway.

P.S. Some notes from the Als' practice on the 27th:

- Cornerback Wayne Shaw was everywhere on the field today. He made three interceptions.  

- Receiver Carmelo Ocasio stood out today with three spectacular catches. Number 81 impressed the Alouettes coaches.

[Edited on 28-5-03 by Habs77]

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The receivers seem to be set for the season:

Girard, Ben Cahoon, Jeremaine Copeland, Chris Coleman, Kwame Cavil.

Coleman is also known as a great punt blocker on special teams, he and Baron Miles will form an impressive 1-2 punch on special teams.

Mace Freeman will be a backup receiver and be our punt returner.

In other news:

Five cuts: The following players have been released: receiver Ethan Howell, defensive tackle Nigel Tharpe, linebacker Jamaal Zanders, tackle Shaun Rose and running back Kevin McDougall.

Scout on the sidelines: JoJo Wooden, a scout for the New York Jets, was seen on the sidelines today.

Newcomer from Concordia: Concordia offensive lineman Brad Collinson got a try-out today. Collinson can play guard and center and can do long snaps.

One for one:The Alouettes have released their 2003 sixth-round draft pick kicker Ed Becker. They invited Vedad Siljkovic, a new kicker and punter from Yugoslavia who played at the University of Maryland.

[Edited on 29-5-03 by Habs77]

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Yes it's surprising since Brookins was talked up as the guy who'd replace Phillips.

But the fact is he came in overweight, fumbled twice vs Ottawa... 2 things that must not have impressive Matthews.

I also think the reason the Als are so keen on Lapointe getting one of the 2 RB spots is because of the team's import/non-import ratio.

This should favor Girard at WR as well.

Thunder Collins is more of a Haskins type, better suited to the CFL... and Lapointe looked good vs Ottawa.

But I don't think Lapointe will be our #1 this year, he fumbles too often, and he's hurt too often. I'm counting on Collins to take over at some point (as soon as he gets healthy)... perhaps running Heppell on a few 3rd & 1s.

Also RDS.ca is reporting that since Belli has returned the Als are now contemplating trading American Jason Richards for either an RB or a return specialist. (again with the import quota, cuz that's what trading Richards is about)

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- The Alouettes invited two new running backs at training camp. J.R. Taylor (Eastern Illinois) and Daniel Pugh (Mount Union) will be fighting for the running back position.

- Kick and punt returner Donta' Greene (Toledo) also joined the team today.

- Rookie Richard Karikari was taped to a goal-post after practice. He needed a good 20 minutes to free himself.

lol... :devil:

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ARGH....

I just heard that the Stamps are about to sign former Alouette Davis Sanchez...

This is horrible! Why didnt we sign him? Didnt we still own his rights?

The stamps improve and we get screwed.... just great...

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That's bull, Als still own his rights... only if the Als release him or trade away his rights can Calgary sign him.

That's what I had heard earlier in training camp, that's what they had said anyway... man I hope I'm not wrong :mad:

Just great, I was wrong:

Sanchez proves expensive catch  

By DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

The Calgary Stampeders are talking money with Canadian cornerback Davis Sanchez but they might be talking a different language.  

The 28-year-old free agent, a former CFL all-star who spent two seasons with the NFL's San Diego Chargers, is reportedly requesting a salary that would make him the highest paid Stampeder.  

Other CFL teams interested in the Vancouver product include the Montreal Alouettes, B.C. Lions and remarkably, the cash-strapped Toronto Argonauts.  

Sanchez was drafted by the Als sixth overall in the 1999 Canadian college draft and wowed the league with nine interceptions in 2000, helping Montreal gain a berth in the Grey Cup game.  

The University of Oregon product was a CFL all-star in 2001 and 2002.  

A couple of NFL teams are also reportedly interested in Sanchez, who has been in Calgary since Monday and attended last night's Stamps game at McMahon Stadium.

I guess the Als, although still interested, might feel he'd simply be too expensive... were probably hoping he'd accept signing for less to be in Montreal and Sanchez said "I don't think so".

I'm not happy... but we'll still have good team with or without him.

[Edited on 5-6-03 by Habs77]

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The Alouettes made 3 cut today and they all surprised me...

Ben Sankey , Mace Freeman and Jason Richards.

Wasnt Sankey supposed to be the backup QB? Wasnt he supposed to be our insurance in case AC got injured? ... Didnt Freeman have a job? ... The Richards cut also caught me off guard...

Ohhh well... Go Als!

BTW : Did anyone else know that CBC is showing Saturday night CFL games now? Its in the same timeslot as HNIC would be ... I think its a good idea , hockey night in canada during the winter , football night in canada during the summer...

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RDS has been saying Richards' job was in jeopardy since the 1st day of camp... no shock at all.

It's a ratio thing, Als can't afford to waste an import spot on a backup lineman and special teams long-snapper.

Then our receivers are Cahoon (slotback), Copeland (WR), Girard (WR), Cavil(WR), Coleman(slotback, replacing Haskins)... and we have our 1st round pick Noel (6'5'' 225lbs) on the practice squad. AND chances are Stokes won't be picked up waivers in the NFL after being released by Miami, so he could be back soon.

No room for Freeman.

Sanke was indeed the vet that was supposed to give us some insurance behind AC... but it turns out returnee Tavarez Bolden did very well in camp, and newcomer Ted White beat out Sanke in camp too. I heard a few players speaking highly of White during camp.

Ted White

Position - QB

Height - 6-foot-3

Weight - 230 pounds

University - Howard

Fast fact - Has spent time in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

By The Numbers - In 2002, completed 96 of 171 passes for 1,165 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Barcelona Dragons of NFL Europe.

Etc, etc. - In the battle to be the No. 2 or No. 3 quarterback behind Als starter Anthony Calvillo.

The kicker & punter positions are still up in the air... that's the biggest concern right now.

Toronto's Prefontaine was just cut from the NFL team he was trying out with... that means TO might cut whoever they have now when he comes back, and that might end up bailing us out.

Or we'll keep what we have, whatever :)

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Kelvim Anderson was realeased today by the Stamps. I'm just wondering if he could possibly be an option with our needs at RB?

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Originally posted by Quebecois

Kelvim Anderson was realeased today by the Stamps. I'm just wondering if he could possibly be an option with our needs at RB?

Yeah and today the Esk's released Terry Ray... Ray and Anderson are 2 guys I'd like the Als to look at , if the price is right (since we're cheap) ...

Blah , they'll probably sign on other teams who will give them more money...

Also... Get a KICKER already :)

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Kelvin Anderson would be an great fit here... Lapointe is too injury prone and inconsistent to be a #1 IMO.

It would be a great way for Anderson to stick it to his former team... but all depends on how much he'll ask for and whether we can afford him.

Dido Terry Ray... being a for Esk he might be more open to re-join Matthews, and being Grey Cup champs and a model franchise for the league definitely makes us more attractive to free agent than some other teams.

Then again when it comes down to $$, and sometimes geography... they might prefer staying out West.

Can't wait for the season to start... first 2 games will be very tough, especially that 2nd game in 4 days vs. Edmonton at home.

Ouch.

Kicking game still my main concern.

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I find it interesting that now this is the second Veteran RB that Phillips has forced out in the last two years. both RBs had been with their former team for a long time too. Almost seems unfair that a headcase of a player could so easily force out two loyal team players with lots of skill to add to that. I guess that's sports for you.

TSN has said that B.C. is already shown interest in Anderson, but i'm sure most of you have already read that article.

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Yeah... BC is known for having the most freespending owner in the league, and they are known for not respecting the cap.

They already created some controversy with the league record contract they awarded to Dickenson... our only chance is if they really over-exposed themselves financially and can no longer afford to add a pricey RB.

Buono being the only coach Anderson has ever had is the biggest advantage you can have, plus he know the QB well too. He'd also stay in the West, where he has always been.

We'd probably have to out-bid the Lions just to have a shot... and the Als aren't known for out-bidding other teams.

I wouldn't get my hopes up...

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