Bonjour encore, Vernon Adams Jr.
Adams Jr. will return to Montreal on Friday just over a week after the Alouettes (4-7) dealt him to B.C. for a '23 first-round pick. How much he'll play for the Lions (8-2), though, isn't clear as through Wednesday veteran Antonio Pipkin had taken more reps with the starting offence.
Regardless of who starts, a former Alouette will be at quarterback Friday for B.C. Pipkin opened 2019 as Montreal's starter before suffering an injury and being replaced by Adams Jr.
Adams Jr. went on to earn CFL all-star honours that season after passing for 3,942 yards and 24 touchdowns while rushing for 12 TDs. He led Montreal (10-8) to second in the East Division and its first post-season berth since 2014.
Adams Jr., 29, spent the bulk of his CFL tenure with Montreal (2016-17, 2018-2022), playing 56 of his 65 career regular-season games with the Alouettes. The other 11 were with Saskatchewan (2017).
The acquisition of the five-foot-11, 200-pound Adams Jr., certainly fills a need for the Lions.
Starter Nathan Rourke was brilliant in staking B.C. to wins in nine of its first 10 games before suffering a right foot injury in a 28-10 victory over Saskatchewan on Aug. 19. Rourke, of Victoria, was diagnosed with a Lisfranc sprain and recently underwent surgery.
Backup Michael O'Connor drew the start in B.C.'s 23-16 loss to Saskatchewan on Aug. 26 but suffered a groin injury. Pipkin finished up, completing nine-of-17 passes for 112 yards and a TD while rushing for 26 yards on six carries.
Adams was originally on B.C.'s negotiation list but was traded to Montreal in May 2016 for a '17 first-round pick.
B.C.'s offence leads the CFL in offensive points (33.5 per game), offensive TDs (40), net offence (438.4 yards), passing yards (355.1) and fewest sacks allowed (11). And the unit is complemented by a defence that's ranked first overall in fewest net yards (297.3 per game), passing yards (234.7) and TD passes (11), tied for first in fewest offensive points (19.0) and second in most sacks (33).
And the Lions boast a solid receiving corps that includes Dominique Rhymes (56 catches, 893 yards, nine TDs), Lucky Whitehead (60 catches, 786 yards, three TDs), Keon Hatcher (44 catches, 653 yards, two TDs), Jevon Cottoy (37 catches, 417 yards, three TDs) and perennial all-star Bryan Burnham (26 catches, 398 yards, four TDs in six games).
Montreal's decision to trade Adams Jr., wasn't surprising. He returned as the club's starter this year after suffering a season-ending injury in October 2021 but was replaced by Trevor Harris in the Alouettes second regular-season contest.
On Aug. 3, Montreal placed Adams Jr. on the six-game injured list with tendinitis in his throwing elbow.
Montreal is coming off a 38-24 home loss to Ottawa on Friday night. Harris finished 22-of-29 passing for 256 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
The Lions are 4-0 on the road and 3-0 versus the East Division this season. They've also won nine of their last 10 meetings against Montreal and are 5-1 in their last six visits to Molson Stadium.
Montreal is 2-3 at home and 2-4 versus West Division teams.
Toronto Argonauts versus Ottawa Redblacks (Saturday afternoon)
At Ottawa, the Redblacks (3-8) play the first of two straight two home games against Toronto (6-5). Nick Arbuckle threw for 313 yards and a TD in last week's 38-24 road victory over Montreal, his second consecutive victorious start. The Argos earned a 28-8 Labour Day win over Hamilton but needed two fourth-quarter Brandon Banks TDs to cement it. This is a game first-place teams should win, not to mention the redemption factor as Ottawa's first victory of the year was a 23-13 decision at BMO Field on July 31.
Saskatchewan Roughriders versus Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Saturday night)
At Winnipeg, the Blue Bombers (11-1) look to complete the home-and-home sweep after earning a 20-18 win in Regina last weekend. That victory made the defending Grey Cup champions the first CFL team to clinch a post-season berth. Controversial defensive lineman Garrett Marino won't play for Saskatchewan (6-6) after being released by the club Tuesday. The Riders remain fourth in the West, two points behind third-place Calgary, which has a game in hand.
Calgary Stampeders versus Edmonton Elks (Saturday night)
At Edmonton, there's no such thing as home-field advantage for the Elks (3-9), who're 0-5 at Commonwealth Stadium and have dropped 13 straight there. They're also 0-8 within the West Division and have lost their last two games. That includes Monday's 26-18 decision to Calgary (7-4). Jake Maier threw two touchdown passes to Reggie Begelton in his first-ever Labour Day start for the Stampeders, who're 4-2 on the road this season. They're also 3-4 within the division but three of those losses were to Winnipeg.
Last week: 2-2
CP's overall record: 40-11.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 7, 2022.
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press