With only a few days left in training camp and a preseason game to play, Montreal Alouettes head coach Khari Jones will be paying special attention to his defensive players.
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This was revealed by the 51-year-old pilot on Tuesday after training for the day in Trois-Rivières.
“Nothing is played in our defensive backfield. We have lost several players who were with us last year and we are looking to replace them. We have our ideas, but the guys still have the opportunity to impress us and show off.”
“We have a young team and we want to see more of our young players. There are always starting positions open,” added Jones.
In 2022, the Alouettes will notably have new starters for the positions of safety, cornerback on the weak side of the field, linebacker on the strong side and linebacker in the center of the field.
The Sparrows head coach did not want to identify which of his footballers are currently ahead. He nevertheless praised the versatility of his defensive backs.
We have also seen Marc-Antoine Dequoy rehearsing as a safety and cornerback on the wide side since the start of camp. The Quebecer, however, seems stuck behind Americans Wesley Sutton, Robert Hayes Jr. and Adarius Pickett.
Le cas Tyrell Richards
When it comes to the center linebacker position, it seems young Tyrell Richards' injury has muddied the waters for the Als.
The Canadian was the first choice of the last draft of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Jones and his coaching cronies haven't seen enough to make up their minds yet.
“He showed great things, but he has to deal with an injury. It's unfortunate, but I enjoyed what I saw of him. I can't wait to see more,” Jones said.
It was Tre Watson who would have taken pole position for the job. However, he was injured in last Saturday's preseason game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Richards could therefore have the opportunity to win, if his health allows him to play the Alouettes' last preseason meeting on Friday, when the Ottawa Redblacks will be at Percival-Molson Stadium.
“Let’s hope he can experience his CFL baptism on Friday. We'll have a better idea from there. […] If he is healthy, he will play, ”said Jones, before expanding on the importance of seeing his footballers in a match situation.
“I want to see guys tire out on special teams and get back on the field immediately on defense. This is an example that gives us a good idea of what we have in our hands. We need to see that before making our decisions for our first game of the season.
CFL: tentative agreement ratified
It is officially the end of the labor dispute in the Canadian Football League (CFL), since the governors of the circuit ratified Tuesday the agreement in principle for a new labor contract.
The new collective agreement binding the CFL and its players is for a period of seven years. It could, however, be reviewed after five years, when the league's broadcast agreement ends.
Remember that the players went on strike on May 15, after the expiry of the last collective agreement. The following week, the footballers refused by majority the first agreement in principle negotiated by his union. It was the first labor dispute in the CFL since 1974.