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This is going to be a good team. I realize I tend to say that about almost every team in my CFL previews this year, but with Montreal it is easy to express analytical optimism for many reasons. First is quarterback Troy Smith. There is nothing really physically outstanding about Smith; he is 60, 224 pounds with a good arm and good mobility. I sum him up as thick and quick. But there is something about him, a genuine confidence expressed through experience in football at a high level. An articulation and intelligence that you "pick up on" when he is in front of a camera talking about himself and the league. And a unique level of humility that says in order to perform, I have to learn; not the other way around. I have always looked at humility as a strength and maturity; arrogance as a weakness and insecurity. When you consider the short amount of preparation time Smith experienced last year, his solid on field performance in yes, limited games, was very impressive. You have to feel good that as the teams starter from the outset, improvement is inevitable. I know of the other Alouettes QBs, but I would be immensely surprised if, outside of injury, Smith is not the No. 1 quarterback wearing No. 1. And with Anthony Calvillo retired, I am sure Smith looks at this training camp as a career opportunity, not a wait-and-see situation. On the defensive side of the ball, the Alouettes have an exceptional unit with just one unknown: who will play middle linebacker now that Shea Emry is an Argonaut? This issue is more a ratio adjustment problem than a personnel problem. It would be great if you could replace a Canadian with another good Canadian but if not, you will have a market of linebackers ready throughout the United States. The two positions of numeric wealth in NCAA football are running back and linebacker; simply said there are a lot of them. Last year Montreal was first in some significant defensive categories: fewest yards allowed at 314 per game, fewest rushing yards allowed at 88 per game; fewest 2nd down conversions allowed, most two and outs forced, most quarterback sacks with 59, and a key one, most takeaways with 56. All they need is to find or develop a new middle linebacker. Thats a manageable situation. On offence, Brandon Whitaker will be back and with Jamel Richardson and SJ Green it is hard to argue that the two best slot receivers are anywhere but Montreal. The Chad Johnson experiment will be an interesting one. Hes closer to 40 than 30 but the bottom line is can he still move like he is 20? Answers will be given early but if he is competing for a roster spot with someone younger and equal in talent, the younger guy will get it. The single biggest mediating factor in athletic performance is age. You know it is coming but you cant stop it, you can only slow it down. Special teams will improve with Larry Taylor and Duron Carter as returners, but also a rededication to blocking effectively for the returners as a priority. And finally there is Tom Higgins, the new Alouettes head coach. More than a few years removed from coaching, Higgins is about as much a polar opposite from the previous full-time head coach as you can get. And that is a good thing. Higgins is pragmatic and calculated; hes an administrator and no one knows the rules better. Hes been named CFL coach of the year and is a Grey Cup-winning coach. He is not the next youthful flash of success, quite the opposite. This decision comes from the experience of decades being the front man of the organization. This one is logical and safe compared to last years decision, which was risky and a novelty. It does not happen very often but every now and then games are determined by experience or inexperience with CFL rules. This year, thats an advantage with Higgins in Montreal. In the East, Toronto has to keep Ricky Ray healthy for 18 games because assuming the next Zack Collaros is on the roster is unrealistic. Hamilton has to continue to improve and may be the team to beat early. Ottawa is brand new, if they make the playoffs it will be a successful season. So where does that leave Montreal? With a new coach, new quarterback, new receivers, and maybe more adversity than any CFL team last year, they still finished 8-10, only three games out from first place. Another 8-10 finish this year is very unlikely; expect Montreal to surprise come November in BC. Kyle Brodziak Jersey . The 25-year-old Brazilian player has only made four Premier League appearances for United this season and underwent a medical test in Italy on Friday. Jake Allen Jersey . 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Called on from the college ranks to replace Andy Reid, Kelly implemented a whole new atmosphere in the City of Brotherly Love and now has the Eagles in the playoffs for the first time since 2010.NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Saints made their first major moves of what is expected to be a challenging off-season on Wednesday, releasing strong safety Roman Harper, outside linebacker and defensive end Will Smith, and cornerback Jabari Greer. General manager Mickey Loomis also says the club does not intend to re-sign free-agent linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who has been hampered by recurring knee injuries the past few seasons. "These were not easy decisions to make," Loomis said in written comments released by the club. "Since we acquired them, Jabari, Roman, Will and Jonathan have all been excellent players on the field for us. Each of them were integral parts in turning this program around and winning a Super Bowl. They were a great example to our players as team leaders in the locker room as well. "However, a new NFL year is about to begin and, with the start of free agency in March, these difficult moves allow us to position our team under the salary cap to move forward for 2014," Loomis added. The Saints have said they intend to retain free-agent Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham, either through a franchise tag or long-term extension, and both options will require financial flexibility. Wednesdays moves will save nearly $17 million in 2014. Saints coach Sean Payton said Smith, Harper, Vilma and Greer were "right there at the top" of all the great players he has coached or been around in his coaching career. "These are disciplined, smart, tough and team-oriented individuals," Payton said. "They all played an important role in helping this team and this city win its first Super Bowl and they have all enjoyed multiple playoff appearances and wins." Smith is a former first-round pick of the Saints in 2004 and had a team-leading 13 sacks during New Orleans Super Bowl season. However, he was widely expected to be released after this season, which he missed after tearing knee ligaments late in the preseason. He was scheduled to be paid $10.4 million in base salary allone this season.dddddddddddd He has played in 139 games for the Saints, accumulating 67 1/2 career sacks. Harper was New Orleanss second round draft choice in 2006 and has since started 104 games. He went to Pro Bowls after the 2009 and 2010 season and his 17 career sacks are the most ever by a Saints defensive back. His base salary for 2014 was set at $2.35 million. As the moves became public, Harper posted a note on the social media website Twitter, thanking New Orleans fans for "the 8 years of .GreatMemories .WHODAT .SBXLIVCHAMPS." Greer, scheduled to earn $4 million in base salary next season, joined New Orleans as a free agent in 2009, immediately sliding into a starting role he held until a serious knee injury against San Francisco in mid-November, which ended his season. He intercepted nine passes in his five seasons in New Orleans, returning two for TDs. Vilma was acquired in a trade with the New York Jets in 2008. He led New Orleans in tackles during his first three season with the club and selected to Pro Bowls in 2009 and 2010. In 70 games with New Orleans, he was credited with 530 tackles, eight sacks, six interceptions, five forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries. Last season, however, Vilma began the season on the physically unable to perform list because of his recurring knee problems. He returned for only one game before sitting out the rest of the season, and on Wednesday he seemed to be comfortable with the Saints decision not to engage him in further contract talks. On Twitter, he wrote: "Couple pro bowls and a superbowl ring later, I couldnt have written that chapter any better. .WhoDat" Like Smith, he was a defensive captain, but also like Smith, was implicated by the NFL as a ring-leader in a cash-for-hits bounty program that the league said the Saints ran from 2009-2011. Both players have always denied they ran a bounty pool as described by the NFL and successfully overturned suspensions. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, meanwhile, has maintained the leagues findings were accurate. Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys 2018 Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale ' ' '