May 23, 2024

Training Camp Notebook Day 12: Adeyemi-Berglund is a great fit; Alexander’s improvement

Davis Alexander (10) PHOTO Pascal Ratthe,

Every team goes through changes during the off-season, and the Alouettes were no exception. They lost defensive end Lwal Uguak to the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and they replaced him with fellow Canadian Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund.

Adeyemi-Berglund spent the last three seasons with the Calgary Stampeders before signing with the Als in free agency last February. The 27-year-old amassed 14 sacks in 50 games with the Stamps, including his career-high of eight sacks in 2022.

The Dartmouth, Nova Scotia native has been a great fit early in camp. His effort on every play in practice is noticeable, and although he and Uguak are different, the hope is that the team won’t miss a beat.

Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund (91), Photo: Pascal Ratthe

“I’m a 100 percent effort guy,” the defensive lineman said after Thursday’s practice in Saint-Jerome. “I also have power, I have finesse, I have different things that can equate well to what Noel Thorpe does with certain blitzes. The different ways he wants to execute pressures, I believe that I’m the right guy to get knocked back into the backfield, to create chaos and indecision in the offence. I think I’m the right guy who’s going to be there anytime he needs me.”

As he continues to get familiar with his new organization, Adeyemi-Berglund can’t help but notice the level of detail that goes into every practice and meeting. It’s different than what he’s used to, but he’s beginning to understand why the Alouettes will come into the 2024 season as the defending Grey Cup champions.

“We’re doing 180 plays per day in practice compared to 30 (in Calgary),” he said.

“Being in this system now, I can see why Montreal was so successful last year.

“It feels better than perfect here with this team, in this system with these coaches and with these players. I find myself in moments of gratitude during the day. It’s that perfect match for me. I’m so excited to get into this season, seriously.”

Quarterback Davis Alexander is entering his third year with the Alouettes. In his first two seasons, he’s dressed in 31 games and has completed 14 of 21 passing attempts for 145 yards, which isn’t a large sample size, but he’s found subtle ways to get better.

Davis Alexander (10), Photo: Pascal Ratthe

“Last year, I honestly had a pretty rough camp,” Alexander admitted. “I was adjusting to the new offence, the new terminology, the new personnels, new motions that I have never seen before. This year, I feel very comfortable. I feel like I’m making decisive decisions. I kept my playbook from last year and I was peaking at it quite often because last training camp was not acceptable to my standards. I feel so much more prepared and comfortable this year. I can tell guys what to do without second-guessing.”

The two preseason games are important for every player, but they become even more dire for a backup quarterback that could potentially not play much during the regular season. Alexander has always put his best foot forward during the exhibition season, and it’ll be important for him to make another statement at home against Toronto and on the road in Ottawa next week.

“I would imagine that I’ll play probably a quarter or two or three series,” Alexander said. “It’s always exciting, and it sounds corny, but it’s truly a blessing every time you get to throw on a jersey. There are no guarantees. I’m always thrilled because game time is my favourite time. I’ve had some good preseasons, and I just want to continue doing that. I want to continue showing that I can play in this league. I want to move the ball, get through my progressions. That’s one thing I’ve grown a lot since being here. I get through my progressions, and I want to show growth and maturity. And I want to win the game. If we need a comeback, we need a comeback.”

The Alouettes will have a quick walkthrough in Saint-Jerome on Friday. They’ll then travel back to Montreal on Saturday for their first exhibition game of 2024.