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June 8, 2019

The Alouettes have Difficult Decisions to Make

The coaching staff will have many difficult decisions to make in the next couple of days to determine who will be part of our 2019 Alouettes. On Thursday night, in a press conference following the team’s second and last preseason game that ended in a tie (20-20) against the Ottawa Redblacks, the Head Coach admitted he still had a few puzzles to solve, including the starting QB puzzle.

“In the CFL, we only have a very short period of time to evaluate guys. I will say what I always say: I’m going to look at the tape and probably mess with you again for another week,” he said laughingly, well aware that the battle amongst quarterbacks is under much scrutiny.

Antonio Pipkin started the matchup on a convincing note, putting the ball into new star receiver DeVier Posey’s hands on a 72-yard play. One minute in his new Montreal uni and Posey was already nimbly getting rid of his coverage, bringing it home for the first TD of the night.

It wasn’t necessarily important for me individually to make that statement, but it was for us as a unit,” the veteran receiver explained after the game. “We need to capitalize on those moments. It was a third down call and for us to execute it early in the year gives us confidence.

Overall, Pipkin showed patience and caution, rarely venturing out of his pocket. He followed the orders, according to Coach Sherman.

“Antonio did what we asked him to do. He stayed in his pocket and made plays. He might have stepped out of it a little too quickly at times, but, overall, he did a good job.”

Pipkin was able to stay relatively unscathed thanks to a hardworking o-line that was particularly effective in pass protection. The offensive front composed of Kristian Matte, Tony Washington, Spencer Wilson and Na’Ty Rodgers ensured on many occasions our number 17 had the time he needed to connect with his receivers, mainly deep threat DeVier Posey.

While Pipkin’s chemistry with his starting unit is undeniable, Vernon Adams Jr and rookie Quan Bray surely have their own thing going on. As soon as he hit the field in the 2nd quarter, Adams threw two consecutive passes to young Bray on 48 and 27-yard plays, scoring on his first drive of the night. Again, Adams did what Adams does. He makes sparks, bringing high energy on the field and smiles in the stands.

 

In addition to DeVier Posey and Quan Bray making plays, reliable BJ Cunningham caught a few contested balls early in the game.

“I’m very proud of our receivers. BJ Cunningham is having his best camp ever. Eugene Lewis and DeVier Posey are true gentlemen. They’re all great guys on and off the field. We have very good Canadians too. I’m anxious to see how it plays out,” said the Head Coach

The team does not lack talent at that position. Local vet Félix Faubert-Lussier, who started alongside Cunningham, Posey, Lewis and Wieneke could very well be part of the equation. Carter and Bray too…

Heated position battles were also highly anticipated on the secondary and the defensive line. On Thursday night, defensive backs Jarnor Jones (eight tackles), Greg Reid (three tackles), Ty Cranston (two tackles, one pick) and Marcellus Pippins (one tackle, one pick) greatly helped contain the Redblacks pass game. While our Montreal defence was able to cut Ottawa’s offensive drives short quite often, keeping possession time in our favour, the Redblacks still managed to stack on more passing yards than our Alouettes (360 vs 347). Something our defensive squad, namely the d-line, will certainly continue to work on in the weeks to come. In the second half, 23-year-old defensive end from Georgia Tech Antonio Simmons took matters into his own hands, making two convincing sacks. It wouldn’t be surprising if he was still around after the weekend.

The coaching staff will be making its cuts by 10 pm on Saturday. Stay tuned to know who will be part of the official team facing the Edmonton Eskimos in the first regular-season game on June 14.

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