Alouettes will make plenty of ratio changes in 2017

We knew the Alouettes would have a different look going into the 2017 season. Now that the opening week of free agency has come and gone, we know just how different they’ll be.

Leading up to free agency, the Alouettes were able to bring back potential free agents Kyries Hebert, Nicolas Boulay, Michael Klassen, Boris Bede and Kyle Graves, but gone are Marco Brouillette, Winston Venable, Alan-Michael Cash (likely), Jovon Johnson, Jeff Finley and Ryan White.

In the last few days, they were also able to add linebacker Frederic Plesius via trade, defensive back Ryan Phillips and quarterback Jacory Harris in free agency. They also agreed to terms with defensive lineman Jabar Westerman.

What do all these transactions mean for the Alouettes?

Clearly, these moves would indicate that ratio changes are coming in 2017.

Offensive Tackle:

General manager Kavis Reed and head coach Jacques Chapdelaine have already mentioned that the team will be playing with a pair of American offensive tackles next season. Since 2007, Montreal has primarily used Canadians at both tackle positions, so expect that to change.

The Als decided not to go after free agent tackle Derek Dennis because the price tag was just too high. Expect them to go with lesser-known players at that position. The point of going with Internationals on the offensive line is to save money.

As of right now, Mathu Gibson is the only American tackle on the roster.

Defensive Tackle:

The Alouettes will have three strong Canadian defensive linemen on their roster in Westerman, Klassen and Keith Shologan.

For most of 2016, the Als used a thirty front with American Alan-Michael Cash as the nose tackle. It sounds like Montreal will not only make the switch to a forty front, while making the two defensive tackle positions Canadian.

We’ll probably see a steady dose of the three national defensive lineman on a rotation basis.


With Winston Venable now in Toronto, it appears as though Montreal will open the season with a Canadian at weakside linebacker.

Keep in mind, they traded for Plesius, who Reed told me can contribute on defence, and they made sure to bring back Boulay. Even though I expect them to play a little more defence than they’re used to, I still think Chris Ackie is the right fit replace Venable.

The 25-year-old has registered just 11 defensive tackles in his first two seasons as a pro, but that should change next season.


When the Als entered the season with three rookies in their secondary (they had as many as four back there), it was local product Marco Brouillette who helped keep them together.

But now, Brouillette is off to Saskatchewan and they’ve replaced him with 34-year-old veteran Ryan Phillips. The former B.C. Lion is an International with plenty of experience. He’s been in the CFL 12 years and he’s missed just four games during his career (they all came in one season).

Joey Alfieri

Joey Alfieri

A reporter and host for TSN690 radio in Montreal, writer at Rotoworld Hockey and Pro Hockey Talk.
Joey Alfieri
Joey Alfieri
About Joey Alfieri (38 Articles)
A reporter and host for TSN690 radio in Montreal, writer at Rotoworld Hockey and Pro Hockey Talk.

15 Comments on Alouettes will make plenty of ratio changes in 2017

  1. Thomas Gunther // February 19, 2017 at 12:54 pm //

    Is there any concerns about the overall age of the Als roster? 21 players are 30+ and almost all will be starters or primary players.

  2. Good luck to the Alouettes. They may have some older players but now have the ability to win over next couple years.. I would love the see The Eastern counterpart of the Stampeders reemerge with a newer generation of Players. BTW most unique landscape of a stadium I’ve seen.I true treasure IMO

  3. Kudos to Montreal for stepping it up.

    Should be a good year for them. It will be interesting to see if Mack can still find talent.

  4. Would the 7th national starter be at receiver? (Giguere)

  5. You forgot to account for Kyries Hebert. As long as Thorpe is in charge of the defence, Hebert will play and subsequently alter the ratio.

    • Since the Alouettes already said they’re looking forward to go with 2 OTs, this gives little room to dress Hebert as a starter at WLB. He’ll likely play on the 3-4 schemes. The only other way to dress Hebrt as a starter is to play Termansen as a starting DB, which I doubt they will.

  6. Edward Leslie // February 20, 2017 at 6:11 am //

    Seven Canadian starters will be: Sam Giguere (WR); Luc Brodeur-Jourdain (Centre); Phillip Blake (Guard); Kristian Mattr (Guard); Keith Shologan (DT); Jabar Westerman (DT); Chris Ackie (Either SAM LB or Safety).

    • Ackie or Plesius at WLB. The Alouettes may also end playing 4 national OLs (Matte, Brodeur-Jourdain, Gagnon and Blake).

  7. Blake or phillppe gagnon

  8. Alouettes will have plenty of options to deal with the ratio. 3 or 4 OLs, 1 WR, 2 DTs, 1 LB (Ackie, Plesius), 1 RB (Moore) or 1 DB (Termansen). There are options. Would have been better with a national S, but looks they thought otherwise.

  9. Wouldn’t it be great if they would REDUCE the Canadian ratio? not only would teams have more flexibility but we would see some better players at the usual Canadian positions.

    • No, it wouldn’t. It would be great if they increased it to 8.

      Reducing it wouldn’t mean we would see better players. It would just mean we would see less Canadians. If the passport really made the players, no QB would want to play here as the American DLs would always get through the Canadian OLs to the QB. It doesn’t happen. Truth is there’s enough Canadian talent to compete. Just not as many guys to build with.

  10. CFL will not drop ratio to below 7. Part of what makes the Canadian game so special to our country is that it employs Canadians. it would be tragic to lose this. I have coached high school ball for a long time and love seeing young men from around my province make it to the CFL. As far as the Als go, without question 3 OL and two DL will be nationals. The other two spots might flip on a week to week basis but WR to the field is usually a Canadian position. Hebert made an impact coming off the edge last year. He seems to be defying age. When he came back from NFL I didn’t think he would have much left. Clearly he can still play at a high level and brings an intensity to that D.

  11. Kavis Reed is an idiot . How he got to be a GM I still can’t figure out the real icing on the cake is hiring Joe Mack ???? Did he not see how Mack was in the 204 ….. was Fired after 3 years . Adams will be the Sask riders QB becouse Reed does not like winners …….that’s why he signed doubles which is also why Montreal had no money to sign Dennis .

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