The team has a 0-2 record coming out of a weeks farewell. Most recently, the Ales suffered a crushing defeat at home with a score of 38-24 against the Ottawa Redblacks on September 2.
General Manager and Interim Coach Dani Maciosa spoke of the worrying pattern on the first day of training this week ahead of the Hamilton Tiger Cats’ visit on Friday.
“Obviously two weeks after the farewell we’re 0-2, and the question now is how do you handle it?” Maciocia said. “It’s more…just the mental connection. We’ve been talking about the connection, and for the most part, when they came back on Monday with their first day’s practice, I noticed they understood what was at stake here on Friday night.”
This clash with the Tiger-Cats (4-9) could be a decision for second place in the CFL Eastern Division. Montreal (5-7) has a game in hand over Hamilton and can open a four-point difference with a win. On the other side of the league, a West Division cross looms with the record-breaking 6-8 Saskatchewan Roughriders.
The Ticats might have a poor record on the way from 0-6, but they arrived in Montreal carrying impetus with an impressive 48-31 win over the CFL’s leading Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Week 15. Five touchdowns in his career that earned him the MVP honors The week in the CFL.
Maciocia, who usually wants his defense to overpower after quarterback, tweaked his mantra slightly ahead of Friday night’s game.
“(Evans) was so crazy but I don’t know if we’ll be able to get to the quarterback. We have to get him to keep the football,” Macciusia said. “Because the ball comes relatively quickly. But if we can get him to keep it, just because of what we’re doing at the back end in terms of coverage, that’s where we’re going to increase our chances of getting to him.”
Meanwhile, Evans greatly respects the job that Alouette defensive coordinator Noel Thorpe did in Montreal.
“The biggest thing they bring in is energy, whatever they’re doing, they bring 110 percent,” Evans said. “I think their defensive line often sleeps, but they have a good D-streak like Winnipeg. Honestly, I think they have one of the best D-lines in the league.
“They have really good players moving all over the field, which is kind of unconventional for the CFL. They kind of play with their guys all over the place and they’re going to drop one again in coverage and the secondary are strong too.”
Evans will need to prepare for another defensive asset in Montreal as Maciocia confirmed full-back Jamal Davis will play on Friday night. The 27-year-old signed a two-year deal with the Alouettes on September 16 after being released at the end of the Los Angeles Chargers camp.
Davis played the back half of the 2021 CFL season with Aloit, playing 17 defensive tackles, four sacks and one touchdown in nine games. After his stint in the NFL, Davis is focused on playing north of the border for now.
“I’m in Montreal, I’m from Aleut. I’m involved here (in) a two-year deal,” Davis said. “I’m ready to be a key element in this defense, for this team.”
Montreal Alutes (5-7) vs. Hamilton Tiger Cats (4-9)
LESTAGE BEGINS: Offensive Pierre-Olivier Lestage will make his debut with the Alouettes. St Eustache, Kew. The citizen has appeared in five matches since signing with Aloette in late July.
DEQUOY TO MISS GAME: Safety Marc Antoine Decoy will miss Friday’s game for personal reasons. Masusia said he suggested Dekoy take a week off after his mother’s death last week.
Ticks without Wayne: Defensive linebacker Dylan Wayne has been ruled out of Friday’s game due to a knee injury. The 29-year-old made three defensive tackles in last week’s win over Winnipeg.
This report was first published by The Canadian Press on September 22, 2022.