Phoenix-looking Alouettes

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If a record of five wins and four losses is not enough to start preparations for the Gray Cup parade, it raises an optimism that has not been felt for a long time around the Montreal football team.

With four points clear and a game in hand following the win against the Argonauts in Moncton on Sunday, the Alouettes can even think of playing in a playoff game at home.

The season could have quickly taken the same direction as the previous ones.

At the end of the training camp, Antonio Pipkin inherited the starting position without being convincing.

Mike Sherman was thanked five days into the first game, which could have caused some disorganization within a team that did not already look structured.

The Alouettes lost their first two games and the second defeat hurt.

Even though they were coming back from a week off, the Sparrows were plucked 41-10 by the Tiger-Cats in a match that looked strangely like last year's setbacks.

Against all odds, rather than crashing, it was at this moment that the Alouettes took flight.

A balanced attack

At the local opening match, the Montreal team not only scored an unexpected victory against the mighty Tiger-Cats, but the attack did its part.

William Stanback exploded with the first game of more than 200 rushing yards since Mike Pringle's best days, and Vernon Adams Jr. has done just enough to allow the Alouettes to win.

When, the following week, Adams defeated the Ottawa Rouge et Noir with more than 300 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 touchdowns, it was understood that this team would be better than in previous years.

Without being a power as at the time of Trestman-Calvillo-Cahoon, the attack is not the ball of the last seasons.

Wearing the two caps of head coach and offensive coordinator, Khari Jones showed a creativity we did not know him under Mike Sherman.

In cooperation with André Bolduc, he commissioned two rigged games that led to spectacular touchdowns.

But if the Alouettes are the most exciting team in the league today, it's a lot thanks to the birth of Vernon Adams Jr.

The former Ducks of Oregon had no real opportunity to show off before, whether in Montreal, Regina or Hamilton.

He himself admitted that he had not done the necessary preparation work to take charge of the attack of a professional team. The young man seems to have acquired a good dose of maturity and he is one of the undisputed leaders of the team.

He has already set a team record for a quarterback with nine touchdowns, eight on the ground and one in the air when he picked up a pass from Eugene Lewis.

We'll wait a bit before comparing it to Doug Flutie or other big leagues in the history of the CFL, but we now know that the Alouettes can build around him.

A defense that bends without breaking

When Mike Sherman left, many wondered what would happen to Bob Slowik, the new defensive coordinator, who was coming directly from American football like Sherman.

Unlike Sherman, Slowik seems to have adapted quickly to Canadian football and the Montreal defense has been solid in the first half of the season.

After trailing in the bottom of the rankings in the last two years, the defense is in the middle of the pack in most defensive categories.

The Montrealers are still hanging around for the sacks and the yards conceded by the pass, but since the third game of the season, they still manage to keep the opponent at just over 22 points per game.

The second half of the season will be a good test of adaptation for the new Alouettes defense coordinator.

But for the first time in a few years, it is with optimism that the Alouettes fans are considering this second half.



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