Pregame notes: Calgary @ MTL

The Montreal Alouettes will look to win their fifth consecutive game to open the season in 2024 when they host the Calgary Stampeders at Percival Molson Stadium on Saturday night.

The Als are coming off a 30-20 victory in Toronto. Of the four wins they’ve accumulated this season, three have come away from home. As important as winning on the road is, the team will now get to enjoy some home cooking for a while, as they won’t be leaving the province of Quebec until early August.

The Stamps, meanwhile, are coming off a last-second victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Calgary has a 2-1-0 record to start 2024, but both of their victories have come at home.

Here’s what you need to know about this weekend’s game:


On Thursday, the Alouettes were informed that defensive end Shawn Lemon has been suspended.

“An independent arbitrator has ruled that Montreal Alouettes defensive lineman Shawn Lemon’s suspension for wagering on Canadian Football League (CFL) games, including one in which he played, will take effect immediately,” the CFL said in a written statement.

“The league initially suspended Mr. Lemon on April 24. Following an appeal, he was allowed to return to the field until a scheduled arbitration hearing on July 5. When Mr. Lemon and his representation sought an adjournment of the hearing to August 1-2, the CFL requested an immediate suspension.”


Alouettes receiver Tyson Philpot and his twin brother, Jalen, who plays the same position for the Stampeders will go head-to-head for the first time ever. The two have never played against each other in a competitive setting.

Since they were drafted into the league in 2022, they had three opportunities to play against each other, but Jalen has missed each of those games due to injury. The Alouettes are the only team that Jalen hasn’t suited up against in his young pro career.

Tyson has been lighting it up so far in 2024. The 23-year-old has accumulated 430 yards and four touchdowns on 28 receptions in just four games. He’s picked up at least 90 yards in three of those outings including performances of 141 yards in Week 1 at Winnipeg and 150 yards at home against Ottawa in Week 3.

“I attacked this year the same way I attack every year,” the Als receiver said. “My preparation was on 10. I was ready to have an impact. In that first game, once I saw the chemistry that Cody and I had right off the rip, I could see it was something special. To go for 140 yards in your first game, that shows there’s something there. But I’m always ready. From the day I got here, I felt that I could leave my mark on the offence.”


If there’s one area where the Alouettes could be a little more efficient, it’s on the ground. Heading into Week 5, they are sixth in the CFL in average rushing yards per game, with 77.5. On the flip side, the Stamps are second-to-last in the league in rushing yards allowed per game at 106.3.

It’s important to note that the quick passing game is an extension of the run game. All those quick screens to Philpot and Kaion Julien-Grant are the equivalent to runs. They’re high-percentage throws that allow the team to pick up some yardage on first or second down.

So, did head coach Jason Maas abandon the running game in Toronto last week? Sort of. But it was replaced by several screen passes that act as running plays. Former Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman operated in a similar fashion when the team had success all those years ago.


The Alouettes defence has done a great job of getting after the quarterback through four games, as they lead the league in sacks (10). What’s even more impressive is that the pressure on the opposing quarterback comes from different players on the field.

The Als have just two players with multiple sacks (Mustafa Johnson – 2, Geoffrey Cantin-Arku 2), which means that they have six different members of their defence that have brought down the opponent’s quarterback behind the line of scrimmage (Tyrice Beverette, Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund, Darnell Sankey, Shawn Lemon, Derek Wiggan, and Bryce Cosby).

That’s one of the beauties of Noel Thorpe’s defence. You never know where the pressure is coming from snap to snap. It makes it difficult for the opposing offence to identify which players are blitzing. The Alouettes have as many sacks from linebackers (5) as they do from defensive linemen (5).

The Stamps, who have played one fewer game than the Als this season, have recorded just two sacks in three games which puts them last in the CFL. Calgary and Montreal are both tied with Hamilton and Ottawa for the fewest sacks allowed (5).