CFL: Alouettes defense without Lemon against Calgary

CFL: Alouettes defense without Lemon against Calgary
CFL: Alouettes defense without Lemon against Calgary

The Montreal Alouettes will try to remain undefeated on Saturday against the Calgary Stampeders, without a key piece of their defensive line.

The CFL announced Thursday that Alouettes star Shawn Lemon’s suspension is back in effect for sports betting in 2021.

Montreal head coach Jason Maas is confident, however, that any player selected to replace him will be able to perform the task required.

“You have to have a certain skill, a certain toughness and a certain effort to play defense for our team. When you have those things, the expectation is that you can be called upon and play the right way,” he said. “We’ve been able to do that because of the way we coach the group and the way the players play. It’s a group effort.”

Maas, however, declined to comment on the situation surrounding Lemon. CEO Danny Maciocia did comment on the timing of the decision.

“I don’t condone what happened, there’s no room for that, let me make that clear,” Maciocia said. “What’s awkward, I admit, is that here we are three years later – three teams later – and this just happens to pop up at the beginning of the year.”

Lemon was first suspended on April 24, but an appeal allowed him to play for the Alouettes until arbitration scheduled for Friday. His suspension will remain in place until August 1-2, when a final decision on the 35-year-old’s fate will be made.

While the defense will try to make up for Lemon’s absence, it’s the offense that saw the emergence of one of its receivers in last week’s 30-20 win over the Argonauts.

Third-year receiver Cole Spieker caught eight passes for 113 yards, marking the fourth time this season that an Alouettes receiver has reached 100 receiving yards in a game.

Despite limited playing time, Spieker said he is still ready to make a difference.

“I’m happy that I can make the plays that are called and that the coaches have confidence in me. We have a lot of depth at receiver and we have a lot of guys that can make plays and step up their game every game.”

The Alouettes are among the best offensive teams in the CFL this season with 127 points, one less than the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

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