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 Montreal Alouettes

Training Camp Report-Day 5

May 16, 2024 - Canadian Football League (CFL)
Montreal Alouettes News Release

Montreal - The Alouettes have interesting decisions to make at several positions, but one of the more fascinating battles is occurring at running back. It's not just about which player will start; they also need to determine if they want to use a Canadian or an American.

"We brought a whole bunch of guys into this (team), and we have quality Canadian guys that we know of that have played in this league," head coach Jason Maas said of his running backs on Monday.

"We also brought Americans in, and we have Walter Fletcher that we know a lot about. We're excited for the competition and honestly, it's an open battle. Our guys understand that competition is what our team is built on."

Fletcher has taken a good number of reps with the first-team offence early in camp. The 27-year-old was acquired from Edmonton in 2022 after William Stanback suffered a serious injury in Week 1 of that season. Since joining the Als, Fletcher has played in 21 games. Despite possessing the talent to be a starter in the CFL, he was limited to just seven games last season because he was behind a healthy Stanback on the depth chart.

Professional athletes always want to play in every game and on every snap, so it couldn't have been easy for Fletcher to wait for his turn. But to his credit, he never openly complaining about his lack of playing time.

"Last year I took it upon myself to be involved and be engaged because I knew that at some point, my time would come last year or this year. For me, it's just about being consistent. I have always been a team-first guy that has just worked hard and that's been ready. I tried to carry that into last year, and I just used that as fuel to come out and compete to earn that spot."

He's the true definition of a dual threat running back. He can run the ball effectively, but he can also catch the rock out of the backfield.

Canadians Jeshrun Antwi and Sean Thomas Erlington have also looked sharp in training camp. Antwi, who signed a new one-year deal with the Als last winter, ran for a career-high 600 yards in 2022. But like Fletcher, he had to be patient last season, as he went from 106 carries in 2022 to 39 carries in 2023.

"You can put the tape on from 2022 and you'll see explosive runs," running back coach Dave Jackson said of Antwi. "I think he had the longest runs for the team that year. All of these guys have the ability to start for this football team, and that's why it's a beautiful competition."

Thomas Erlington, who played college football at the University of Montreal, signed with the Als as a free agent in February. The 31-year-old spent five seasons in Hamilton before returning home to Montreal. He's also an all-around tailback that can block and make plays with the ball in his hands.

"He's extremely intelligent," Jackson answered when he was asked about Thomas Erlington. "He came in knowing his stuff. He's also a twitchy guy. He's been twitchy his whole career. We've seen it on film every time he's been on the field. Now, I get to see behind the curtain to see how smart he is and how he sees the game conceptually."

The running back picture has already been affected by roster cuts. On Wednesday, the Als announced that they had released 10 players including Charles McClelland and Marcus Williams. The only American newcomer still on the roster is former Indiana University product Stevie Scott III.

"Stevie has flashed on film," Jackson said. "You can see that he's a big guy, but when he's changing direction, he makes that cut and accelerates very quickly. He's a big guy and he's stout in pass-protection. We've let him know: 'you're a big body and we need you to play like a big body. We need you to be physical, dominate and show that you can protect the quarterback, and then add that flash with the ball in your hand'. He has the perfect body type to do that."

Alouettes Transactions

The Alouettes added American linebacker Jaylen Moody (Alabama) and American running back Mike Weber Jr. (Ohio State) on the active roster.


The Alouettes will be back on the field on Friday at Complex Sportif Claude-Beaulieu in Saint-Jerome beginning at 8:30 am.

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