The ALSternative — 2019 Season Preview Part Three

Last season was supposed to be the return of a potent Montreal Alouettes offense. With an OC in place that actually had CFL experience, this team should have been able to score at will.

That didn’t happen. Despite a new playbook from Khari Jones, this team struggled to put points on the board during the first half of the 2018 season. What didn’t help was the revolving door at the QB position, which didn’t allow the receivers to properly develop any sort of chemistry.

Montreal also hasn’t truly established much of a running game over the years, so that also doesn’t help the cause. But now that things seem to have settled down, perhaps the players that actually want to be here will fully absorb this playbook. We looked at the quarterbacks yesterday and I think that any one of them can make great use of the weapons listed here in this column.

Let’s have a look at the offensive weapons for the Alouettes.

Running Backs

It’s hard to believe how quickly things can change in a year. When training camp opened last season, a young man by the name of William Stanback was just another face in the crowd, trying to win a roster spot. And now? He’s the starting tailback for Montreal!

How good was Stanback in his rookie season? Good enough for the Alouettes to send Tyrell Sutton to the BC Lions in exchange for draft picks. Stanback’s blistering speed on a six foot, 230 pound frame was a major factor too. His performance while Sutton was injured along with great special teams play made William irreplaceable.

If the dreaded sophomore jinx doesn’t kick in, I expect Stanback to shatter some records on the ground. This was a great find by the scouting staff!

Another potential diamond is Ryder Stone, taken in the 5th round of last year’s draft. Stone saw limited action as a backup but what we saw looked very solid. He does have one rushing touchdown to his name and has already drawn comparisons to other Canadian tailbacks of the past.

This Dartmouth grad will turn some heads as he backs up Stanback in the backfield. Intelligent on and off the field, Ryder will definitely be a name to keep an eye on.

With these two young studs, it makes you wonder why the Alouettes signed an older RB in Jeremiah Johnson. The simplest answer? Insurance.

Should either Stanback or Stone go down to injury, you will appreciate seeing a reliable veteran like Johnson who can still rack up the yardage. Last year in BC, he managed over 5 yards per carry and was able to find the end zone 5 times. The future is now for the running back position in Montreal, but I can see JJ carving out a roster spot all the same.

Stefan Logan is still on the team, despite some legal troubles this past off-season. Once one of the fastest players in the league, he’s starting to look like a guy in his late thirties. Despite his abilities as a returner and having been able to extend his career, I’m honestly not too sure how much longer we’ll see Logan in Alouettes colours.

The fullback position is one that is either ignored or grossly misused in Montreal. But the Alouettes did add two very solid players for that role and I’m curious to see who will emerge as the starter.

Both Spencer Moore and Christophe Normand are veterans who do a terrific job no matter what the situation calls for. Both excelled on special teams and both do a great job blocking for their quarterback. Either one of these gents would not look out of place in a starting role. But it remains to be seen whether these fullbacks will be a real part of the offense.

Receivers

Will this be the year that Alouettes fans FINALLY get to see the real Ernest Jackson? There’s no denying his potential to be great, but it simply hasn’t happened since E-Jack started wearing these colours. The Alouettes are still believers, inking Jackson to an extension during the off-season.

Here’s hoping that some stability will give Ernest the chance to silence the doubters once and for all.

I really thought that B.J. Cunningham was going to test free agency and take his talents elsewhere. After posting career best numbers in 2017, he was often overlooked on this dismal offense in 2018, unable to get his quarterback’s attention. Cunningham is in the prime of his career and if he ever felt underappreciated here in Montreal, nobody could fault him.

But he loves Montreal and surely has the same long-term vision that this team has. So B.J. is staying put and I am willing to bet that with the right QB in place, he’s gonna shine bright again. The Alouettes may not deserve his loyalty, but they were smart to keep B.J. here and happy.

Last year’s breakout star in Montreal was Eugene Lewis. He led the Alouettes in reception yards and receiving touchdowns. He also threw his first professional touchdown on a gadget play! Even since he made his debut in 2017 versus Winnipeg, there’s just been something about Geno and wacky plays.

Lewis was rewarded for his work with a contract extension this past off-season. Still young at 26, Geno will be a major part of this Alouettes offense this season, regardless of who the quarterback will be. I expect a lot of fans to get on board and a lot of new #87 jerseys to be sold.

I cannot wait to see what DeVier Posey does in an Alouettes uniform. A former Grey Cup MVP and a deep threat for days, this is the weapon that Montreal has needed for years. After trying his hand in the NFL, Posey came back to Canada and did not disappoint. All he did in Toronto and Vancouver was find the end zone with the ball in his hands. To those who complain of a lack of talent in receivers, consider your problem solved.

The National receiver spot is going to be a very hotly-contested battle. The incumbent is Steven Adekolu, who is in his prime and plays every game with purpose. His work on special teams and six years of leadership also cannot be denied.

But there are some strong National contenders in the lineup. Felix Faubert-Lussier was signed in free agency and is also a young veteran of this league. He’ll give Adekolu a run for his money. You also have highly-touted former draft picks in Malcolm Carter, Richmond Nketiah, Alex Morrison and Etienne Moisan. Any of them can emerge during the first few days of camp and start making an immediate impact.

And if those young bulls weren’t enough, the Alouettes drafted a pair of exciting playmakers in Kaion Julien-Grant and Chris Osei-Wusi just two weeks ago. Many scouts/draft experts have said that these two are among the most game-day ready draft picks that were available. I’m excited to see just how explosive this pair of Canadians can be and whether they will be able to make the players already under contract work that much harder.

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So there you have it, the potential 2019 line-up for the Montreal Alouettes on offense. Tune back in tomorrow as we will take an in-depth look at the Alouettes’ defense.

GO ALS GO!!!