This afternoon (May 19th, 2015), Mark Weightman, Montreal’s President and CEO, Jim Popp, GM & Director of Football Operations and Player Personnel, and Tom Higgins, Head Coach, made themselves available for questions from the media. Here are the Hard-Hitting Facts from that call:
Montreal’s ownership and management consistently look to improve the 3 pillars of the organization: Winning, Fan Experiences, and Community Outreach.
“We have kept the nucleus of the team together, and have added significant ammunition” – Mark Weightman
“We’re excited, and we’re going to be exciting [in 2015]” – Tom Higgins
Jim Popp had several notes about the squad in general:
- Montreal lost a very dynamic player in Duron Carter as he moved on to the NFL.
- Early in the off-season Jim was presented with a trade that brought Fred Stamps to the organization.
- The Al’s were able to lock up SJ Green, which was no doubt a priority.
- Nik Lewis, Sam Giguere, plus the remaining tried-and-true Als’ receivers (in addition to the aforementioned weapons) makes Montreal very deep at receiver.
- Offensive line is very much the same as 2014, safe for Ryan Bomben who was moved immediately before the draft.
- Montreal also possesses a very deep running back stable; Whitaker, Rutley, Rainey, and now Logan.
- Montreal drafted 9 guys in the 2015 CFL Draft, and looks to have as many as 11 (including previous years’ draft picks) coming to training camp.
- Montreal’s 1st overall pick; Chris Ackie looks to fill a similar role as Mike Edem.
- Jacob Ruby, Montreal’s second first-round pick plays like a clone of Jeff Perrett.
- Nick Shortill, the Alouettes’ 3rd pick was the best linebacker on Montreal’s board.
- Brandon Bridge is a very dynamic player and has outstanding skill. *Jim Popp did elude to the need for a rule modification, hinting at the ratio exemption of quarterbacks.*
When asked about last year:
- Popp: The team was in a lot of games that lacked finishes. There was a discussion about changing everything, but Popp believed that was not how the organizations should do things. Management trusted the coaching directions which was a decision that came to fruition in the second half of the season. Talent in both coaches and players were there the whole time.
- Higgins: The strong, solid foundation of the organization never changed. It was a unified locker room even at 1-7. The athletes knew that the staff trusted, and cared about them. That was reciprocated by the players and things turned around halfway through the season.
- “You can’t have success individually. The strength of the organization afforded us the opportunity to weather the storm.”
When asked about the addition of aging veterans:
- There are a lot of young players that have been developing and will continue to develop behind the new players. “We’re always looking for the best of the best.” – Jim Popp
- “Win. Now. What can you do for me now?” – Tom Higgins
The quarterback situation:
- Jonathan Crompton earned the job last year and led the team to a lot of success. Crompton is the team’s QB1 right now.
- Montreal brought in competition for Crompton to be better.
- “Everybody’s name is in pencil during training camp.” – Tom Higgins