Montreal Alouettes training camp is scheduled to start on Sunday morning, and there will be plenty of players competing for spots on the active roster. Some have a legitimate chance to become starters as soon as this season while others may have to strive for a special teams role. But which of those new CFLers have a legitimate shot to become starters for the Alouettes in Week 1. We’ll get to that in a second.
Bob Slowik, who is replacing Rich Stubler as the defensive coordinator, will certainly want to put his stamp on this defence as soon as possible. His style of defence will probably be very different than Stubler’s style, so that should open up some room for CFL newbies. As of right now, it looks like most of the openings are in the secondary, but there could be some change on the defensive line too.
On offence, Khari Jones is back as the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach but don’t be surprised if he shuffles the deck a little bit. The offence hasn’t scored enough over the last few seasons and they’ll need to get on track in a hurry if this group of coaches want to keep their jobs heading into 2020. Their don’t appear to be a ton of openings here, but there will be some intriguing battles at certain positions.
So, keep in mind that this list consists of players that are new to the team and the CFL. Guys like Taylor Loffler and Bo Lokombo (we wrote about those guys yesterday) won’t be on this list because they’re not new to the league.
Here we go!
• Marcus Cromartie – DB: The Als’ secondary will look significantly different this year. There’s a very good chance that Tommie Campbell will be the only starter from last year that will be back in that same role in 2019. Cromartie is a 28-year-old defensive back with good length (he’s listed at 6-feet, 195 pounds). He has 21 games of NFL experience, so he’s not really a true rookie.
• Sheldon Price – DB: Can Cromartie and Price be this year’s version of Billy Parker and Jerald Brown? Both Parker and Brown joined the Als in 2009 as older CFL rookies. They helped the team win back-to-back Grey Cups in their first two seasons. No one’s saying the Als will win it all this year, but Cromartie and Price can become valuable veteran assets in a secondary that will need time to develop chemistry. Price, 28, is even longer than Cromartie (he’s listed at 6-foot-2, 194 pounds). Price has played for Indianapolis, Baltimore and Kansas City in the NFL.
• DeQuinton Osborne – DL: Osborne and his mother have a truly inspiring story that you can read all about right here. The 24-year-old can be a nice compliment to young defensive linemen Woody Baron and Ryan Brown, who both appear to have promising careers ahead of them. If Brown moves from defensive tackle to defensive end, it could open up a starting spot for Osborne in Week 1. (UPDATE: Osborne was released on May 19, 2019).
• Dante Absher – WR: I expect the Alouettes to start four American wide receivers and one Canadian. There are three locks at this position: B.J. Cunningham, DeVier Posey, and Eugene Lewis. That leaves one spot open for a potential newcomer. Of course, they’ll have also to battle veterans like Ernest Jackson and T.J. Graham. Absher had an impressive 214 receptions at Glenville State during his collegiate career. The 25-year-old is listed at 6-foot-3, 180 pounds.
• Chris Brown – WR: Brown should be one of the players that competes with Absher for a starting spot. The Notre Dame product spent some time with Dallas and Cincinnati before landing on the Alouettes’ roster. The competition should be fierce throughout camp. The team seems to lack speed on the offensive side of the ball, so the player with the best combination of hands and speed will win this spot.
(Feature Image Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)