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Montreal Alouettes Preseason Game 1 Preview vs. Toronto Argonauts: Roster Implications, Depth Chart

The Montreal Alouettes will play their first preseason game at home returning as the reigning Grey Cup Champions. Montreal has many of their core from last year’s Grey Cup run returning. As always in professional sports there are also many changes in key players who have not returned and fresh talent brought into the roster.

Game Details:

Date/Location: Saturday, May 25 /Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, Montreal, QC
Kickoff Time: 7:30 PM ET, 4:30 PM PT
Channel: CFL+

Depth Chart

Key Roster Departures From Last Season

WR Austin Mack

Austin Mack was 6th in receiving yards in the CFL last year over the regular season and a big piece in the Grey Cup run. He signed in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons this past offseason.

WR Jake Harty

Started in 8 games including the 3 playoff games last year and was rostered as a 2nd string receiver in 9 games. Harty signed with BC this offseason.

RB William Stanback

Stanback was Montreal’s starting running back for several years. Montreal and Stanback were too far off on finances to bring him back for another contract and he signed with BC this offseason.

DE Lwal Uguak

The Canadian rookie out of TCU was impressive last season. He started in the final 5 regular season games for Montreal and the 3 playoff games. He had 4 sacks in the final 5 regular season games. He signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason.

LB Avery Williams

Williams was the starting middle linebacker during the season last year before missing time due to injury. He started in 6 games at middle linebacker and played in 6 games as a second-string linebacker including the 3 playoff games. He became a free agent this offseason.

HB Ciante Evans

Was a key piece of Montreal’s high-performing secondary. Started at halfback in 11 regular season games and all 3 of Montreal’s playoff games. Evans signed with BC this offseason.

Focal Points for the Alouettes in this Game

Who will back up Fajardo?

Cody Fajardo is a lock for QB1 after being the Grey Cup MVP to close the season last year. Unless he throws 20 interceptions this preseason pencil him in as the starter.

Caleb Evans was the 2nd string QB last year with Davis Alexander as the third. This is the order they will line up in this contest as well. Personally, I am looking forward to seeing more of Davis Alexander after he played very well last preseason. The 4th quarterback will be James Morgan 

James Morgan is the 4th quarterback. He was a 4th round pick in 2020 for the New York Jets. He played last year in the USFL on the Pittsburgh Mulers where he appeared in 3 games with 2 starts and completed 23 of his 48 passes for 210 yards and 3 interceptions. He was signed in January.

Starting running back come regular season?

There’s a lot of guys in this group to keep an eye on. Walter Fletcher is getting the start with Canadian Jeshrun Antwi at second string just as it was when William Stanback was unavailable in games last season.

Canadian Sean Thomas-Erlington is the third running back who was signed in February after playing for Hamilton last year. The 31-year-old has played in 73 CFL regular season games and has rushed 207 times for 1,258 yards (6.08 yards per carry) and 7 touchdowns.

The 4th runningback will be Stevie Scott III who played for the Michigan Panthers in the USFL last year. Scott looked good in the USFL last season which saw him rush 78 times for 295 yards (3.8 average) and a touchdown. Signed in February.

The 5th runningback listed is Mike Weber Jr. played for Ohio State from 2015 to 2018. He rushed 455 times for 2,676 yards (5.88 average) and 24 touchdowns with OSU. He’s since been in NFL systems primarily on practice rosters.

Michael Herzog is listed as the 6th running back who was drafted in this past CFL Draft by Montreal in the 6th round. Last year he rushed 230 times for 1,333 yards (5.8 average) and 21 touchdowns for Hillsdale College.

Week 1 Starting Receivers?

Tevin Jones will be starting at receiver who was signed at the beginning of CFL free agency. Jones had 65 receptions for 882 yards and 3 touchdowns last year with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The other 4 starting receivers are all returning players from last year Tyler Snead, Cole Spieker, and Canadians Tyson Philpot and Kaion Julien-Grant. Montreal could have a dangerous Canadian duo in Philpot and Julien-Grant which we did not get to see much of last year as they were only both healthy together in 2 full games.

There is a plethora of talented American receivers in this lineup so there is some uncertainty about who the starters will be in week 1. I would say only Tyson Philpot and Kaion Julien-Grant are locked in to be starters come week 1.

5 Second String Receivers

Among the 5 receivers listed as 2nd string Canadian receiver Regis Cibasu should be expected to make the team after being in that role last year and playing a key role in special teams and blocking schemes. 

Tyjon Lyndsey was with the Seattle Seahawks last year through training camp until he was released in final roster cuts. 

Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman was an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in 2020. Last year he was Second Team All-IFL with the Northern Arizona Wranglers after catching 72 passes for 1,017 yards and 27 touchdowns.

Jose Barbon had 71 catches for 910 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2022 in his final season with Temple.

Charleston Rambo was signed just 3 weeks ago. He recorded 79 receptions for 1,172 yards and 7 touchdowns for Miami in 2021. He was with the Carolina Panthers training camp in 2022 and the Philadelphia Eagles in 2023.

Additional Depth

Jalen Wayne caught 58 passes for 816 yards and 9 touchdowns in his final year with South Alabama in 2022.

Jamal Mohsen is a Canadian receiver who Montreal took in the 7th round of the CFL Draft this offseason. He caught 48 passes for 760 yards and 5 touchdowns over 11 games for Western last year.

Nicholas Gendron is a Canadian rookie out of Ottawa who went undrafted in the CFL draft. He caught 31 passes for 535 yards and 2 touchdowns over 8 games last year.

James Letcher Jr. is listed low on the depth chart for this game but currently would be the most likely player to be Montreal’s return man after taking over those responsibilities last year following an injury to Chandler Worthy.

The Composition of the Defensive Line

Last year Lwal Uguak and Shawn Lemon were the starting defensive ends to close out the season for Montreal. This year Uguak is with Tampa Bay and Lemon is currently indefinitely suspended by the CFL following an investigation pertaining to bets placed on CFL games in 2021 although he is appealing his suspension.

Canadian newcomer Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund is a likely starter at defensive end as well as Canadian defensive tackle Derek Wiggan.

Lemon is starting in this preseason game but if he is unable to overturn his suspension who will start in his place? T.D Moultry who joined the Alouettes’ practice roster midway through the season last year is a likely candidate. Avery Ellis was a 2nd string defensive end for Montreal for much of last season. out of Auburn could step into the role.

Mustafa Johnson is a lock to start at defensive tackle after a dominant season last year. However, keep an eye on Antonio Moultrie in this game who will start at defensive tackle in this preseason game. Jayson Ademilola out of Notre Dame and Ifeanyi Maijeh out of Rutgers are the 2nd string defensive tackles in this game.

Linebacker Depth Personnel

Montreal has Tyrice Beverete, Darnell Sankey, and Reggie Stubblefield starting in this game who were the starters last year to finish the season. I don’t expect any changes among this starting group that played at a very high level.

We will see Montreal’s first-round pick Geoffrey Cantin-Arku make his pro debut as he lines up as the 2nd-string middle linebacker. The other 2nd string linebackers will be a pair of Americans who played their collegiate ball in the SEC. Smoke Monday out of Auburn will make his CFL debut as the 2nd string weakside linebacker. Nijel Warrior will be the 2nd string Sam linebacker.

Changes in the Secondary

NFL veteran Cre’Von Leblanc will make his CFL debut as he starts at cornerback. Kabion Ento will start at corner on the other side as he did much of last year. The 2 starting halfbacks will be Dionte Ruffin who started much of last year at cornerback as well as Nafees Lyon. Lyon began the year as the starting cornerback but had his season cut short by an injury sustained in week 1.

We have 4 newcomers listed in 2nd string roles at halfback and cornerback for Montreal. Bryce Cosby and Macon Clark at halfback and Myles Brooks and Darion McKenzie at cornerback.

Arthur Hamlin will be the second-string safety behind Marc-Antroine Dequoy after being drafted in the second round by Montreal in the CFL Draft. Canadian Maxym Lavallee who was drafted in the 8th round of the 2023 CFL Draft will be the third-string safety in this game. Vincent Delisle will be the 4th string safety in this game after being the 8th-round pick for Montreal in the 2024 CFL Draft.

We’ll see some of another Canadian defensive back, Tysen-Otis Copeland as a third-string cornerback. Copeland played much of last season providing depth at safety.

Note on the Offensive Line

The starters at the O-line will likely be the starters come week 1. American offensive tackles Nick Callender and Jamar McGloster played exceptionally in the Grey Cup and the interior Canadian blockers Lestage, Lawrence, and Matte started in just about every game last year.

Jesse Gibbon will look to preserve his role from last year as a second-string guard competing with 2023 draft pick Theo Grant and American Donald Ventrelli.

We will see 3 other American offensive tackles play in this game as well including Joshua Donovan (Arizona), Ja’Chai Baker (South Alabama), and Jazston Turnetine (Florida State).

@JonathanClink on Twitter

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Jonathan Clink Reporter
Jonathan Clink joined CFL News Hub in early April of 2023. His primary responsibilities are covering the BC Lions and Montreal Alouettes. He self awarded himself the CFL Rookie Journalist of the Year in 2023 following the 2023 CFL season. He also proclaims himself to be a "really cool guy". He was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and lived a large portion of his childhood in Northwest Ontario. He currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and misses being being able to have 4 months of skating every winter. Clink has written over 240 articles for CFL News Hub. He was the publication's boots on the ground at the 2023 Grey Cup in Hamilton. Clink has always had an obsession for sport and has a background in other sports as well having played hockey all his life and soccer, basketball, and lacrosse in high school. As a young child he used to log his hockey statistics after every game which is either an indication that he was destined for the role or perhaps and indication that he is rather strange.
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