In 2021, with the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian Football League (CFL) teams were rushed to the regular season after a full year of absence.
For the first time in three years, the Montreal Alouettes will have the opportunity to prepare their nest normally.
General manager Danny Maciocia and head coach Khari Jones are proud of the team they have at their disposal. With the training camp, which will be held from 15 May to 2 June at the Diablos stadium in Trois-Rivières, and the preparatory matches, they will have more time to analyze their athletes.
“We will be able to evaluate them correctly and know exactly what we have or don’t have. It’s a first for us and it will be refreshing, ”Jones said at a press conference on Friday.
This media interview was intended to lay the groundwork for the start of business in the CFL. The two leaders of the Alouettes will understand each other a little better after an entire season.
“With the pandemic, this is the first time we have worked together, Maciocia recalled. I knew Khari as a player and as a manager, but he was working that we really got to know each other. We have a better understanding of things. “
The Montreal organization has nothing to be ashamed of for its performance in 2021, having had to contend with quarterback Vernon Adams Jr.’s injury and other potholes on the road. She finished third in the East Division last year with a 7-7 record before being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
A pleasant status quo
Jones already made some payout changes last season, most notably to the defensive line. The instructor recalled that his men had increased their quarter-sack total from 27 to 49 between 2019 and 2021.
Few changes have been made to the roster, as he and Maciocia like what they have on hand. The draft, which will take place on Tuesday, will allow them to add some pieces to the puzzle.
“I have confidence with the guys who are back in attack, the defensive changes we have made and the coaching staff. I don’t like predictions very much, I prefer results. So we’ll play and see what happens, ”said Jones, who is pleased with the learning curve of his players.
“We are not afraid in relation to our last defensive curtain. We have young dynamic players who will be able to stand out, play full-length. So it’s exciting. Up front, it’s almost the status quo. Most of our best players are back and we have depth in the quarterbacks, “Maciocia also analyzed.
Adams Jr., who should be able to attend the camp after recovering from his shoulder injury, and veteran Trevor Harris will be the Alouettes’ trusted mainstays in 2022.
In less than a month, on May 28, “Als” will be back on the pitch for a preparatory match. For the occasion they will visit the Tiger-Cats.
Local talent, a priority
The Canadian Football League Draft is around the corner and we can once again expect the Montreal Alouettes to dig into the Quebec industry.
“We choose to go locally because we know we have some really good soccer players here,” general manager Danny Maciocia said at a press conference on Friday.
The former head coach of the University of Montreal Carabins backed up his claim with a rather evocative statistic. Since 2010, only one Vanier Cup has been held without a Quebec Student Sports Network (RSEQ) team. It was last year when Western and Saskatchewan universities met in the final.
Maciocia has a privileged relationship with Quebec teams, having coached or played against most of La Belle Province players over the years. The 54-year-old left the Carabins in 2020. He has met many athletes who have heard or will hear their name in the draft of the Ambrosie circuit.
“I’ve probably been in their living room or their kitchen. I probably talked to their mom or dad. We know their situation better than many others across the country. It is a huge advantage to have been able to recruit them and have seen them play, ”Maciocia explained.
“We buy local”
The Alouettes will speak in fourth place on Tuesday. They also keep the picks in each of the next seven rounds.
Offensive lineman Cyrille Hogan-Saindon (Laval University Rouge et Or) and defensive lineman Joshua Archibald (McGill University Redbirds) are RSEQ’s top prospects.
Among Quebec’s top players for this draft, and who could leave sooner, Enock Makonzo (defensive linebacker) and Samuel Emilus (pass receiver) hail from American colleges.
“Our mantra is to always choose the best player. With the same talent, we will always choose the local player, assured Maciocia. We buy local. We have a lot of talent here. More and more young people are winning scholarships south of the border. For two or three years there has been a trend: more and more young people leave secondary school to attend preparatory schools [aux États-Unis]. “
Wearing the Alouettes jersey is a Quebec privilege, the GM added. Everyone has grown up seeing Anthony Calvillo do miracles with the Sparrows, which makes them proud.
Last year, the Alouettes especially set their sights on the Carabins Pier-Olivier Lestage product with the tenth round. His teammate Ethan Makonzo and Rouge et Or kicker David Côté also remained in Quebec.
-In addition to the national project, Montreal will have the first choice of the international auction on the same day.