The pieces of the puzzle may not yet be all in place at 11e day of the Montreal Alouettes’ training camp, but already the nest seems well stocked on the attack thanks to a happy mix of ambitious veterans and motivated newcomers.
While several questions hovered at the start of the camp, it was clear that the attack would remain the most important nucleus of the Montreal formation. The return of talented veterans, a few weapons of choice, already offered a glimpse of a promising future within the offensive unit.
The Alouettes weren’t satisfied with their key players, however. Over the past few months, General Manager Danny Maciocia has grabbed a few players from across the Canadian Football League (CFL) in order to provide himself with an experienced workforce.
After spending five seasons in the CFL with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, wide receiver Naaman Roosevelt joined the Sparrows in February 2020.
Although his reputation is well established, he admits to having been impressed by the talent within the group.
“There is so much talent in all positions. The core is impressive. Guys can do just about anything, ”said the 33-year-old veteran, who believes the club can afford to have high expectations for the season ahead.
In addition to the convincing results on the field, the wide receiver has a bundle of experiences full of experiences and he intends to share it with his teammates, especially the youngest among them.
“I tell young people to take care of their bodies. In football, your body is proof of everything. I also try to teach them to take care of their mental health. We haven’t played for a while and now we’re back at full speed. So I teach them that it’s good sometimes to take a step back, to change their minds a bit. Sometimes training camp can be stressful, it can affect you. “
Roosevelt also intends to use his learnings wisely. By his own admission, his keen understanding of the game and his in-depth knowledge of the Canadian Tour could be an asset.
“Over the years, I have learned a lot. I know when a blitz is coming, I understand what kind of cover our opponents are using, so I tell my teammates.
“I’m going to try to be a bit of the extra quarterback by communicating a lot on the field to help my teammates as much as possible,” said the former Buffalo Bills player in the NFL.
For head coach Khari Jones, Roosevelt presents himself as the ammunition of choice. Although the Alouettes’ offense relies more on ground play, it will now be able to count on different options for passing. In the 2019 season, the receiver made 77 catches for 946 yards and a touchdown.
“He’s a constant player. You know he’s going to do the right thing when the ball is thrown in his direction. And he’s the kind of player you really like because he’s really reliable, Jones described. And I hate to use those terms, because it sounds like it’s boring, but you really need that kind of player in your roster. “
Very promising chicks
The questions of the first days have given way to more intense struggles than anticipated and some young players could upset the plans of the organization.
In his first year with the Sparrows, center-back Regis Cibasu has managed to do well so far. The Montrealer could force the hand of the organization, thanks in particular to his versatility and his imposing size.
Although there are still plenty of players on the pitch, the number 83 has not gone unnoticed by the head coach.
“I liked what I saw of him in Toronto, the way he played. He’s a good build player, he’s very tough and he knows how to catch a ball, Jones said of the six-foot-three, 232-pound athlete.
“He has all the tools and there he starts to put them together and use them. He is an interesting prospect and he could have his use in training, with his experience as a receiver. He’s very intriguing at the moment. “
Between quality veterans and hungry youngsters, Jones will have some heartbreaking choices to make over the next few days to downsize.
“There are choices that will be calculated risks, since I see their potential and I know they will be able to improve. It’s difficult, admitted the head coach. It would be easier to give the chance to those who are already experienced, guys that we know. But you also want to give a chance to the guys who haven’t had the opportunity to actually play a match to show off. “