We continue our series of CFL team previews heading into the 2021 season with the Montreal Alouettes - the league's upstart team from 2019. Here's what to expect as they try to prove their surprising run to the '19 East Division Semi-Final was no fluke.
On offense the Als are relatively set. Vernon Adams Jr. is back under center and one of the most dynamic offensive players in the entire league. He has plenty of support around him as well, with RB William Stanback poised for another big season after putting in time in the NFL. Stanback is a threat both on the ground and through the air and will be critical to the team's offensive success. At wide receiver, the Als added Naaman Roosevelt to a group that already boasted a lot of potential. Rashad Ross is another name to watch as he has impressed throughout training camp and would serve as the perfect compliment to Roosevelt and Geno Lewis.
Defensively, the Als need some work. They got picked apart by the league's better offenses in 2019, allowing over 27 points per game, largely due to their inability to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks (they posted a league-low 27 sacks). A new-look defensive line should help their cause with the additions of Almondo Sewell and Nick Usher, who both come over from Edmonton. Michael Wakefield joins the line from Ottawa where he was a disruptive force for three seasons.
Montreal's linebacking corps could serve as the strength of the defense with plenty of returning talent and a new coach in Mickey Donovan (he formerly led the Als special teams).
The Alouettes will have to wait an extra week to start their season as they kick things off on August 14th against Edmonton.
The betting marketplace isn't giving Montreal much respect as the Als boast the second-longest odds to win the Grey Cup, currently priced around 10-1 at most books.