(Montreal) The Montreal Alouettes were back at work on Monday, after taking advantage of their first of three weeks off on the schedule.

If this first week comes after only one week of activity, it could not come too soon.

“It felt good. It’s clear that starting with a win and getting a week off right after breaks our rhythm, but we’re not going to complain about having a day off, noted offensive lineman Pier-Olivier Lestage after training near the Olympic Stadium. It is clear that we are fresh to return to work. »

“There are pros and cons,” quarterback Cody Fajardo said. I was able to see my family, my little guy that I haven’t seen for a month. On the other hand, we lose a little of our rhythm.

“But it’s clear that one of the very positive sides [to having a leave so early in the season] is that after a training camp, you come out with lots of little sores and that allows everyone to take time to heal it all. »

Luc Brodeur-Jourdain, the coach of the offensive line players, has also estimated between 1,000 and 1,200 repetitions the number of games performed during the three weeks of camp in Trois-Rivières. Add to that the intra-squad game and the two preparatory meetings and it is clear that not all the Alouettes came out of the exercise fresh as a rose.

“A week of recovery like this is welcome,” he blurted out.

“The camp was intense and it will do the guys good,” said safety Marc-Antoine Dequoy. It allows small injuries not to last and turn into more serious injuries. »

On the field, the players did not seem rusty and the various exercises were going well. That doesn’t mean all is well after a 19-12 win over the Ottawa Redblacks in Week 1.

“In general, we want to improve on all points,” said head coach Jason Maas. We want to be better from week to week, regardless of our assessment of our game. We don’t want to be satisfied with a victory at home. As a team, we aspire to greater things. »

Unsurprisingly, reporters asked Maas about the six sacks conceded to the Ottawa defence.

“I knew that question was coming,” he admitted. We watched the game and analyzed everything. Is there room for improvement? Without a shadow of a doubt and the offensive line is one of the aspects that we want to improve. Coaches can help players with adjustments. But there are a lot of really good things that have been accomplished by the offensive line and that’s what we’re going to focus on. »

“It’s mostly communication problems and the lack of data on [the Red and Black], explained Lestage. We had a game plan, but we didn’t have a lot of films about their defense. It is clear that a performance of six bags, we no longer want to give that. »

However, this return to work was made without linebacker Brian Harelimana, who was released by the Alouettes on Sunday. The team made the announcement on their social media.

The Quebec linebacker was a 2020 Alouettes fourth-round pick. 2023 season – collecting 12 tackles on defense, six more on special teams, and three sacks, in addition to causing a fumble.

The six-foot-two, 228-pound athlete had just signed a new two-year pact last April.

According to head coach Jason Maas, Harelimana is suffering from congestion at his position. Maas said one of the players whose name will be removed from the injured list this week, without specifying which one, could perform the same job as the 27-year-old Laval resident.

Currently, linebacker Bryce Notree, defensive back Kerfalla Exumé and defensive end Avery Williams are on the one-game injured list. The Alouettes are not required to withdraw their name until 48 hours before their next game if they wish to add one of these players to their roster of 45 players.

The Alouettes will play their next game on Friday when they visit the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.