Vernon Adams Jr. enters into the 2022 CFL season full of goals, the biggest being to make moves toward a Grey Cup victory.
When he takes the first step in that journey at training camp, he plans to leave a more pronounced footprint in his wake.
Adams came into camp at around 185 pounds last year and he wondered after his season ended early thanks to a fractured shoulder, if that lack of bulk played a factor in his injury. So this year, Adams wants to hit the field about 20 pounds heavier.
“Right now I’m 198 and I’m planning to come into camp at 205 and play around 195, 200,” Adams told MontrealAlouettes.com’s Joey Alfieri in a video interview.
Adams’ off-season is one that’s riddled with early rises, intense workouts, physical therapy and throwing sessions. In and around those workouts is an expanding relationship with food. His meals are heavier than in the past and in between them are what seems like an endless stream of protein shakes.
Having his 2021 campaign spoiled by a season-ending injury, Adams wants to do everything he can to get through an entire season of play this year.
“That hit me hard,” Adams told Aflieri of the three-to-six-month timeframe for his recovery last fall.
“I could have took it two ways. I could let it get to me and not be a team guy and I’m going to go home, or I can still be around, help (out), be a good energy and help the guys whichever way I can. I chose that route and I think that’s the better route to choose. I didn’t want to be depressed, I wanted to be out here winning games with my guys doing whatever I can to help them.”
In that time, Adams got to work closely with Trevor Harris, after Als’ GM Danny Maciocia swung a deal to land the veteran quarterback in Adams’ absence. The QB room will look different this season in Montreal. Harris was initially released when Adams signed an extension, but ended up rejoining the team in free agency. Adams is still the undisputed starter, but he’ll have plenty of experience behind him this year, with Harris and Dominique Davis coming aboard.
“I’m excited, man. It brings that fire back out in me,” Adams said.
“We have two veteran quarterbacks that started a lot of games in Dom and Trevor. Trevor still being a top guy, Dom can still get it done as well and that’s just going to push me to want to be great. I think they’re both great signings.
“Dom is similar to my play. Trevor, everyone knows he’s been around, he’s been to those championship games, he’s got experience. He’s an older dude and like ya’ll seen at the end of the season last year, he picked up the offence quick and got the ball to the playmakers. You learn a lot from that and you keep working.”
It’ll be a different look with the quarterbacks — who will be coached by legendary Alouette Anthony Calvillo — but many of the key offensive pieces will be returning. Running back William Stanback signed and extension. Receivers Jake Wieneke and Eugene Lewis will be back, as will four of their five starting offensive linemen from last year.
Adams said it’s time for the offence to take the next steps in its progression.
“I think our offence is pretty good but I know we can get better,” he said.
“The last two years we’ve been to the playoffs. We’ve got to get to that next step now. We’ve been bounced out in the first game of the playoffs, we need to take that next step, get into the semis and get to the Grey Cup.
“We’ve got the guys on offence and we just have to keep scoring more points. We put up a lot of yards, we were in first place in a lot of categories, offensively. We just weren’t winning and that’s what we need, we need to win. At the end of the day winning solves everything.”
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