July 25, 2024

“He’s a guy that shows up every single day,” GM Maciocia says of Philpot, who scored two touchdowns in Montreal’s opening game.

While it doesn’t rival the significance of scoring the Grey Cup game-winning touchdown, Tyson Philpot’s performance in last Thursday’s season opener against Winnipeg is a close second.

The Alouettes’ swift Canadian receiver caught 10 passes for 141 yards. After scoring the final touchdown of the 2023 season, Philpot secured Montreal’s first score of this season, 10 minutes into the game on a 14-yard pass from quarterback Cody Fajardo. He also scored the team’s last touchdown at 6:30 of the fourth quarter with a spectacular 76-yard flea-flicker.

“With everyone talking about the Grey Cup catch and asking what I would do this season as an encore, it couldn’t have been better to have that kind of game, especially against the team we beat in the Grey Cup,” Philpot told The Gazette by phone this week.

Recovered receiver Tyson Philpot is optimistic for Alouettes' offence |  Montreal Gazette

“I treated the game and the week like any other. I got myself mentally prepared and studied the opponent as usual.”

Already in his third season but still only 23, this could be the year Philpot cements his status as one of the CFL’s top receivers. His value is enhanced by being a non-import and ratio changer, one of the Als’ two starting Canadian receivers alongside Kaion Julien-Grant.

Selected in the first round (ninth overall) in 2022 out of the University of Calgary, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Philpot has increased his productivity each season. As a rookie, he caught 39 passes for 459 yards and scored two touchdowns. In 2023, despite being limited to 13 games due to training camp injuries, he caught 47 passes for 532 yards and scored five touchdowns. His best performance came in mid-September against Toronto, with nine catches for 105 yards.

“Obviously, he’s good. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know,” said general manager Danny Maciocia, who drafted Philpot. “He’s going to keep producing as long as he continues his work ethic and we provide him with the tools to do so. He shows up every day. He doesn’t act like he can afford to take a day or two off. He works hard daily. That benefits all of us.”

With the departure of leading receiver Austin Mack to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and Tyler Snead out for several weeks due to a lower-body injury against the Blue Bombers, the Alouettes will rely more heavily on Philpot and others. He seems prepared for the challenge and responsibility.

“I knew going into this season, with Austin Mack’s departure and an opening in the receiving corps, there was a need for someone to step up and be the guy this year. That was a possibility,” said Philpot, who keeps in regular contact with Mack. “I’ve always aimed to establish myself as a 1,000-yard receiver. That’s the benchmark that signifies a player as elite. It’s a definite goal. The first goal is to stay healthy. The second is to be consistent. I want to be recognized as one of those elite players.”

Philpot caught six passes for 63 yards in the Als’ thrilling 28-24 Grey Cup victory against Winnipeg, including the game-winning 19-yard touchdown with 13 seconds left in regulation, completing a dramatic seven-play, 83-yard drive. He was named the game’s most valuable Canadian. If he continues producing 100-yard performances, Philpot will be a strong contender for the CFL’s outstanding Canadian award — a recognition for which Als safety Marc-Antoine Dequoy was the East Division nominee in 2023.

Philpot, hailing from Delta, B.C., takes pride in his Canadian status and believes that non-imports can be among the league’s elite players.

“I’m trying to show the media and others that a Canadian can be the No. 1 receiver, too, regardless of the ratio,” he stated. “It’s something I stand for and tell others. I’m proud to be a Canadian and to have a lasting impact on young Canadians and those in the league. It’s definitely special for me.”

Alouettes receiver Tyson Philpot named outstanding Canadian of 110th Grey  Cup | CBC Sports

Philpot, who was the division’s outstanding rookie in 2022, worked out for the Pittsburgh Steelers that winter but wasn’t offered a contract and hasn’t had any NFL inquiries since. While this surprises him and he hopes the window hasn’t closed, Philpot said a career in the CFL remains a viable option. His contract with Montreal expires after the 2025 season.

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