Alouettes ‘stay hungry’ ahead of playoff return
MONTREAL — Having already clinched a playoff spot, the Montreal Alouettes are looking at the final three games of the year as a post-season tune-up.
The Alouettes (8-7) host the Toronto Argonauts (3-12) on Friday in a game with no bearing on the Canadian Football League standings.
Montreal is guaranteed to finish second in the East Division behind the Hamilton TigerCats (12-3). Toronto and the Ottawa Redblacks have been mathematically eliminated.
“We should keep playing like we’re not in the playoffs,” said Alouettes wide receiver Eugene Lewis on Wednesday.
“You have to stay hungry. You can’t get complacent,” he said. “You can’t get comfortable. Once you get comfortable, that’s when things start going downhill. The playoffs come when the playoffs come. We have to finish the last three games of the season.”
After Friday’s clash with Toronto, Montreal travels to Hamilton next week before welcoming the Redblacks to Percival Molson Stadium in the season finale.
The Als, who will make their first playoff appearance since 2014, will host the fourth-place finisher in the West Division in the East semifinal on Nov. 10.
Coach Khari Jones says he has no intention of resting too many starters or playing his backups.
“Even if these games seem meaningless because they won’t change anything in the standings, we really need them,” said linebacker Henoc Muamba.
“Last week, we made mistakes that we need to correct. We need these three games to get better,” he said.
The Alouettes are coming off a tough 35-24 loss in Winnipeg against the Blue Bombers last week. Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. had one of his worst games of the season, throwing four interceptions in the second half and fumbling once.
The end of a difficult season can’t come soon enough for a Toronto side that won the Grey Cup just two years ago.
The Argos defeated the lastplace Redblacks 28-21 last week. The win snapped a threegame losing skid.
McLeod Bethel-Thompson will start at quarterback with James Franklin and Dakota Prukop serving as backups for the Argonauts, who have a new general manager in Michael (Pinball) Clemons. “They have jobs to play for. They have pride to play for,” Adams said of Toronto. “They don’t want to just go out and let anybody walk all over them. They’re going to be playing hard. They want to get us off our groove.”