It is without running back William Stanback that the Montreal Alouettes will host the Toronto Argonauts on Friday at Percival-Molson Stadium.
Alouettes (6-6) head coach Jason Maas confirmed that Stanback will have to sit out due to a right wrist injury suffered last week against the same Argos (10-1).
“He wasn’t ready, that’s all,” the coach said. He got hit on the wrist last week and we’re counting on a healthy Walter Fletcher in the backfield. At this point in the season, it’s not worth taking the risk of making this injury worse. »
Maas, however, wanted to be reassuring by indicating that no surgical intervention will be necessary.
“No, he should be fine.” For him it is simply a question of regaining all his mobility,” he simply mentioned.
Stanback only carried the ball twice for five yards in Saturday’s 39-10 loss in Toronto.
This season, Stanback has struggled to find his rhythm, as he has only amassed 587 yards on 113 carries, for an average of 5.2. He only scored one touchdown and only four of those runs were for 20 yards or more.
The misfortune of some obviously makes the happiness of others and it is Walter Fletcher who will get a too rare start in the backfield of the Birds.
The Montreal team will also count on the return to play of receiver Kaion Julien-Grant, recovered from his broken hand. On the offensive line, the Alouettes placed right tackle Landon Rice on the injured list for six games. Jamar McGloster will replace him.
On defense, the Alouettes will also find important elements, whose names were finally removed from the injured list for six games. They are linebacker Avery Williams and defensive back Dionté Ruffin.
“When you have players identified as starters before the start of the season, there is a reason behind it,” Maas stressed. Now the guys who replaced them in the lineup have done well and gained a ton of experience in the process. But when these starters come back to play, it makes us a better team, with all the baggage they bring. »
The protégés of coordinator Noel Thorpe will also count on the insertion into the formation of newcomer Darnell Sankey, used as central linebacker.
Inconvenienced by the flu, marauder Marc-Antoine Dequoy will nevertheless be at his post.
Distance yourself from the Tiger-Cats
More than granting the Argos the tiebreaker in their annual series, this defeat last Saturday also had the effect of letting the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (5-7) get closer to just two points behind the Alouettes in the ranking in the East.
A defeat for the Birds on Friday combined with a victory for the Ti-Cats in front of their fans against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (10-3) the next day would create congestion in second place.
“Like I’ve been saying all season: I don’t care who’s behind us or in front of us. We focus on what we do,” Maas recalled.
Currently, this is the only important match for us. What’s happening with the rankings is people outside of our locker room who care.
Jason Maas, head coach of the Alouettes
“We focus on our opponents and how to win week in and week out. We prepare to the best of our abilities to win every week, and I feel that’s what we’ve done over the last few days. All we have to do is execute as we are capable on the field,” continued the Alouettes pilot.
“Every game right now is important, and we want to win them all. Finding ourselves at 7-6 would give us a little cushion and allow us to look more ahead than towards the team which is closing in,” however qualified linebacker Frédéric Chagnon.
This meeting will once again serve as a barometer to evaluate the Alouettes’ performance against the leading teams in the CFL.
So far this season, the Alouettes are 0-6 against the Argos, Blue Bombers and BC Lions. Six losses with a combined score of 207-101.
“We have to be consistent: if we look at these games, we lost in terms of turnovers and penalties,” explained coordinator Noel Thorpe. No matter who you’re up against, these two things make the difference most of the time. Good teams force you to make mistakes. We must also stop allowing opposing attacks to keep the ball due to penalties.
“But you also have to take the ball away from the opponent; It’s not fair to protect him better. If we can give our offense more opportunities to score, then we will be in a better position,” he added.
The Argos will try to secure first place with a victory. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.