After missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, the Montreal Alouettes have made wholesale changes this off-season.
- Argos pick up all-star receiver S.J. Green from rival Alouettes
- Darian Durant returns to Regina, says Roughriders contract handling was 'unprofessional'
CBC Montreal Sports Reporter Douglas Gelevan spoke with the team's new general manager, Kavis Reed, about what changes he has made and what fans have to look forward to in 2017. Here's some of that conversation.
DG: What should fans be getting excited about for this team this year?
KR: This team is a team that is committed to winning a championship this year, committed to doing the right things on and off the field. Provide an exciting brand of football that the city of Montreal and all of our stakeholders can be proud of and we expect a very explosive team and a team that's exciting to watch.
DG: You brought in Darian Durant. What is a guy like him going to do to get this team back to the playoffs and beyond?
KR: He's a championship quarterback and championship quarterbacks are sorely needed on every team and Darian is a proven winner. He's a leader and he's someone that has the demeanour that we need to take us over the top.
"We we expect a very explosive team." - Kavis Reed, Montreal Alouettes new GM
This team has never suffered for talent. Just a little bit of chemistry, a little bit of of leadership injection and just a renewal of that championship attitude. We have that — we have the history of winning championships we just need some fresh blood to help add to that.
- Shockwaves through Rider Nation as fans react to Durant trade
- Darian Durant signs 3-year deal with Alouettes
DG: Consistency at the quarterback position has been problematic over the last couple of years. What can Darian Durant coming in do for the consistency at that position and for the team?
KR: It's tremendously important. Consistency at that position means that you have an opportunity every season to have a successful campaign. When there is a revolving door there is no consistency at arguably the most important position in professional sports. Darian provides that stability. He's a proven winner. He's someone that knows how to win, he's someone that is committed to winning and that's going to pay dividends for us.
DG: Other than him, of the new guys coming in, who can you tell us about that fans should be looking for?
KR: Guys like Ernest Jackson coming in. He's coming fresh off a championship season, been a part of franchise, the Ottawa RedBlacks, that built a championship team very quickly. Jovan Olafioye, someone who has been a part of a stable environment with the B.C. Lions, Ryan (Phillips) coming in from the B.C. Lions as well. So we have brought in free agents who have been a part of winning and successful franchises so their attitude will hopefully disseminate in our locker room very fast.
DG: Turning to the defensive side of the ball, why should fans be excited there?
KR: Our defensive has always been a strong part of our team. Coach Thorpe has done a tremendous job throughout the years building a competitive unit each and every year. We expect the very same thing this year. Our blood is somewhat new but we've injected some young guys in there to provide some more energy and we've returned a lot of guys who know and understand coach Thorpe's system. So we expect exciting things to continue from our defence and we expect that they're going to be aggressive as usual.
DG: Personally, the transition for you — from going from the sidelines to the role you're in now — what's that been like?
KR: The challenge has been tremendous. I've enjoyed every waking moment of it. Just the art and science of building, the art and science of putting together a team and in a couple of weeks we will get to see whether or not it's all going to pay dividends with the start of the regular season.
I'm very excited about training camp, to see the team together in pads being able to execute together but, most importantly, build that chemistry. I truly believe a championships team is able to build chemistry in training camp and carry it through out the season.