An area that has taken its fair share of lumps in recent years is the special teams unit for the Montreal Alouettes. Despite last season being more down than up for the Birds of Prey, they can look back on 2015 and say that one of the year’s highlights was the play of this particular unit.
Helping tremendously was having a real special teams coach and you won’t find much better than Kavis Reed. His guiding hand and ability to get players to play for him helped turn around a sorry state of affairs and present a solid attack. Time to take a look at who will look to shine on this side of the football.
There is only one name on this list and it’s a damn good one. Stefan Logan joined the Alouettes last season and instantly gave this special teams unit a ton of credibility. His campaign with the Als produced some record-breaking numbers, unbelievable runs and most shockingly, some special teams touchdowns! Despite being in his mid-30s, Logan is still lightning-fast and hard to contain.
It will be interesting to see which young pup will try to wrest this role from Logan. Names like A-Dre Fraser, Jonathon Rumph, George Johnson and Wayne Moore do spring to mind. If they want to best Logan, they better be fast. That’s all I’m saying.
If you want to use your feet to play football in Montreal, you better be able to handle both kick and punt duties. Thankfully, Boris Bede does both of these things very well for the Montreal Alouettes. He was able to unseat long-time K/P Sean Whyte from this position and turned in an impressive rookie campaign. So much so that there isn’t even another kicker invited to camp. With youth and a powerful leg to send the ball into the atmosphere, this is 100% Bede’s job.
The man who has handled this duty for years is Martin Bedard. There are few better than him at this often overlooked position. But this season, the veteran will have a bit of competition as newcomer Emmett Tims was drafted solely for his ability to hike the ball towards a kicker. Bedard likely has nothing to worry about as Tims has another year of CIS eligibility. However, Montreal is wise to consider that Marty can’t play forever. Thus, seeing what this young man from U of Saskatchewan can do as a long snapper is always worth considering.
James Tuck is a special teams wizard that is not afraid to get his hands dirty. Jeff Finley can also throw his muscle around and punish the opposition. Nicolas Boulay is always a threat both on defence and in this capacity. Daryl Townsend has made several outstanding plays for this unit and that will continue in 2016.
Andrew Lue is a viable threat and will look to redeem himself after his injury-plagued 2015 season. Nick Shortill can put his physical gifts to good use on this unit and stop a lot of returners in their tracks. Jean-Samuel Blanc is a dual threat on both sides of the ball and his muscle will be put to good use here. Kyle Graves is a jack-of-all-trades and his contributions to this unit don’t go unnoticed by this coaching staff.
The Alouettes won’t have veterans Eric Deslauriers and Carl Volny on special teams anymore, so I expect to see some fresh faces in the lineup. As it often does, camp will tell the final story.
So that concludes this look at the 2016 Montreal Alouettes. Not all of the names mentioned in this series will make the team, but there’s no denying the talent that is available in red/blue/silver when camp gets underway tomorrow afternoon. It’s always a dogfight to see who will be considered worthy enough to be named to the 2016 edition of this football team.
No one is giving this team a snowball’s chance in hell to make the playoffs and that’s fine. It’s way too early to predict just how this season will turn out. But I do have faith that this organization is done with the dog and pony show that has happened over the past few seasons. I know that I am personally weary of the Alouettes being considered a sideshow attraction and a wayward home for the misfits of the NFL. I have to believe the front office is as well.
I do look at this as a rebuilding year for Montreal; Not only rebuilding this team back to glory, but rebuilding faith in its fanbase. A lot of people have turned up their nose at the notion of Jim Popp coaching this team yet again, but I think he has surrounded himself with quality coaches who will get the most out of his players. Eventually a new leader will arise and lead this team so Popp can resume what he does best; finding that hidden gem of a player that everyone else missed.
As always, I am excited of the prospect of things to come for the Montreal Alouettes. Not just on the field, but off it as well. In addition to this blog, I will also be contributing to the league in the form of a Montreal Alouettes podcast as well!
I’m very excited to announce that the Alouettes Flightdeck will be making its podcast debut very soon! Joining me on this venture is notable Alouettes fan and statsman extraordinaire Tim Capper. Together, we are planning to provide a real voice for not only Alouettes fans in Montreal, but football fans throughout this country. Keep your eyes and ears open for the debut of the Alouettes Flightdeck!
That’s all for now. As always, I’m astounded and grateful that so many people read this blog. I love writing it and as long as someone is out there reading it, I’ll gladly continue to be that positive and objective voice for the fans of the Montreal Alouettes. Be sure to follow me on Twitter as this season gets underway starting tomorrow at training camp in Lennoxville, QC.
This was a long off-season and it finally comes to an end tomorrow afternoon. I’m ready to get this party started! So once again, to kick off this 2016 CFL season….