Since 2000, the Montreal Alouettes have made six appearances in the Grey Cup Championship Game, but five times the club was sent away empty handed. Last season, the club finished 11-7 during the regular season, the only Eastern Division team to post a winning record. The Alouettes reached the title tilt only to be defeated by Calgary in a 22-14 final.

So what does the 2009 season have in store for Marc Trestman’s squad? Well, there aren’t many new faces in the fold, but some consider that to be a good thing. After all, there is enough talent on the roster to put the team back in the championship race.

Of course, it all starts with veteran quarterback Anthony Calvillo, who completed 69.2 percent of his passes in 2008 for 5,633 yards with 43 touchdowns and only 13 interceptions. He is thrilled to have Jamal Richardson back in the fold, as the talented receiver tallied 98 receptions for 1,287 yards and 16 touchdowns a year ago. Some though Richardson might be playing in the NFL this season, but his return to the Alouettes cements them as a serious Grey Cup contender.

There are other dangerous weapons on the offensive side of the football, such as tailback Avon Coburne and wideout Ben Cahoon.

Coburne rushed for 950 yards and six touchdowns on only 145 carries a year ago, and he also caught 66 passes for 616 yards and two more scores. As for Cahoon, he had a team-high 107 receptions for 1,231 yards and seven scores, proving more than capable of moving the chains with clutch catches.

Montreal did a good job of locking up Anwar Stewart and Mark Estelle, rather than allowing those players to find new homes. T.J. Hill led the club with 84 tackles last season, while Keron Williams posted 10 sacks. This is not an elite defence, but there is obviously enough talent in place to complement the explosive offence.

What can be expected by fans is another successful season, a first-place finish in the East and a likely return to the Grey Cup title game. Still, expect the team to come up just short once again.

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