As the shampoo commercial once informed viewers, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Quarterback Cody Fajardo knows that as well as anyone, which is why he said the Montreal Alouettes' season opener against the visiting Ottawa Redblacks on Saturday is important for him and the team.
"I think Week 1, with that home opener, is when the real first impression comes," Fajardo said. "You have your full offensive playbook in; you're not running your vanilla stuff. You get to play the whole game and that's when it starts counting.
"There's a lot of things in preseason you try to see if you can get away with. It's not always pretty. You're just trying to test some things you wouldn't normally do. Go out there, execute the offense and try to make sure we stay on the field and score some points."
Fajardo played the last three seasons in Saskatchewan, falling out of favor with the team last year when he tossed 13 interceptions as the Roughriders limped to a 6-12 record. But he has a fresh start in Montreal along with a new head coach -- Jason Maas, his former offensive coordinator with Saskatchewan.
As for Ottawa, it also has a new head coach in Bob Dyce. It also has a plethora of injuries from the preseason that will have it missing four starters for the opener, including veteran quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (leg) and All-CFL cornerback Money Hunter (torn pectoral muscle).
Dyce is tasked with changing the culture of a roster and franchise that has won just 10 games over the past three seasons. To that end, not only have there been player moves, there's also been locker room changes. Instead of having position groups dress together, Dyce mixed them up in an attempt to build team chemistry.
"Everybody needs to get to know everybody," Dyce said. "These guys spend a lot of their position meetings together. Not that things get cliquish but you see the same guys all the time. We just felt it was a great way to help build our team culture."
Nick Arbuckle, who played in 12 games last year after Masoli was injured in Week 4, will start the season opener.
--Field Level Media