The 2015 Montreal Alouettes look to utilize proven experience at receiver to compliment the paramount process that is grooming a consistent professional quarterback. Jonathan Crompton comes in as the incumbent pivot, and will look to continue improving his throwing accuracy this season. With the departure of Brandon Whitaker, Montreal looks to have placed its stock in the combination of Tyrell Sutton as the team’s main tailback, and Stefan Logan as the special teams return specialist (a position that he has shown great promise in with BC).
Defensively, the Al’s should remain as stout as they were last season. Heading into week 1, Montreal is dressing 10 of 12 starters from last season, all of whom had productive training camps/pre-seasons. Look for defensive ends: John Bowman and Gabriel Knapton to keep Henry Burris on his toes for the duration of this contest.
Few teams had more to do in the time between the 2014 Grey Cup and today. In terms of personnel, Ottawa has added fresh faces on all 3 sides of the ball which should serve to invigorate the mildly anemic offence that was seen last season. Veteran-pivot Henry Burris now has a stable of reliable targets to throw to including, but not limited to: Chris Williams, Ernest Jackson, Brad Sinopoli, Maurice Price, and Greg Ellingson. Although Burris has not thrown regular season passes to any of these new receivers in REDBLACKS fatigues yet, Hank does have some established familiarity with both Ellingson, and Williams (1,298 yards for Williams in 2012, and 800 yards for Ellingson in 2013). Expect to see a lot more consistency from Ottawa’s offence tonight.
One of the biggest changes that has gone largely unreported when talking about this new REDBLACKS squad is the addition of Damaso Munoz to the linebacking corps. Fresh off of an NFL stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Munoz joined Ottawa late in 2014 but will now look to become a perennial threat on Ottawa’s defence. In 2013, Munoz amassed 88 tackles, 3 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries. Expect Montreal’s run-game to be dictated by how effective Ottawa’s linebackers establish pocket pressure.
Not much can be extrapolated from pre-season play. On paper though, both teams are better than they were at this time last year. That’s good though, because both squads had heaps of trouble in the early weeks of 2014, due largely to inexperience. Now, this match-up has the potential to evolve into yet another CFL rivalry that sees fans erupt as their squads take the gridiron. Ottawa’s DB’s will need to be sharp as Montreal’s offence looks to be as supercharged as ever. Likewise, the REDBLACKS offence will need to make use of their newly acquired depth to consistently and predictably earn first-downs. This will be a game of field positioning, and that’s where experience win games.