Als hoping to uncover some hidden gems in pre-season games
Byron Archambault says he and Alouettes general manager Danny Maciocia will be looking for gems in the team's two pre-season games, beginning Friday in Ottawa.
“We asked them to be sharp, to give maximum effort, to know what they have to do and to be ready, because the pre-season matches are chaotic. Changes are made on all sides in defence and offence,” said Archambault, the assistant head coach and special teams coordinator. “Sometimes a player is going to be in on defence and on the next play on special teams. They will be tired. Who is physically ready? Who is mentally ready? We want to find these new pearls.”
Montreal's young players will have every chance to crack the roster, since head coach Jason Maas intends to leave most of his veterans on the sideline.
Several receivers will try to carve out a place in the Alouettes' offence. With injuries to Reggie White Jr. (six games), Greg Ellingson and Tyson Philpot, many new faces will be on the field.
Philpot has been nursing an undisclosed lower body injury for a few days and has been participating in a few drills with the receivers.
“Things are going better in his case,” Maas said. “He did everything to join the group, but in the end, we want to make sure that he is back at 100 per cent before throwing him back into the fray.” It's the same story for Ellingson. “We saw that something was wrong with him. We asked him to take a step back so that everything goes back to normal,” Maas said. “There's no point in getting hurt running around at this stage of camp. For these two players, what we want is to see them back in full health before we allow them to join the team.”
Ellingson was acquired as a free agent this winter. The 34-year-old American was plagued by injuries last season, but caught 38 passes for 598 yards and three touchdowns in eight games for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, helping them reach the Grey Cup.
Philpot was a finalist for the CFL'S top rookie award in 2022. He caught 39 passes for 459 yards and two touchdowns for the Alouettes.
The offence on Friday will be led by Caleb Evans early in the game, since starting quarterback Cody Fajardo will not dress. Evans will be followed by Davis Alexander and Mike Glass III.
“They are all going to play and all have the opportunity to win this ( backup) position. Caleb is the one who comes with the most experience: if he does the job, I think he should qualify. He's done a great job at camp, but all three have to fight.”
The Alouettes will play their second pre-season game at home against the Hamilton Tiger-cats on June 2. The last cuts will be made following that match. The team opens the season at home on June 10 against Ottawa.
Offensive lineman Jauan Williams was cut Tuesday, and the team signed defensive back J.R. Reed.