MONTREAL -- If the game had more meaning, Jamel Richardson would be strapping on his shoulder pads and getting ready to haul in passes thrown by Anthony Calvillo.
If the calendar read November and not mid-July, the CFL's leading receiver, and arguably its best, would be fired up to play.
It's only Week 3 in an 18-game season and Richardson knows any lingering effects from a quad contusion would prove more problematic if he didn't take a step back and heal it properly.
Coupled with the Als having a short week, it seemed logical to rest Richardson, who won't be on the active roster for Friday's visit by the Argos.
"This is more precautionary,'' Richardson said on Thursday. "There's no sense in worsening the injury.
"If this game were for a championship, I'd be playing."
Enter fourth-year receiver Eric Deslauriers, who hasn't caught a touchdown since his rookie season.
Career-wise, Deslauriers has 42 passes for 468 yards, which is about the production Richardson is capable of recording in six games.
After two weeks, Richardson, the MVP in Montreal's Grey Cup win last fall, had accumulated 276 yards on 18 receptions, including two for touchdowns.
"Eric has been in a system for a while and he understands it,'' Calvillo said. "We expect him to go out there and play at a high level."
Part of Montreal's extended run of success has been its ability to fill spots when a starter gets injured, save at quarterback.
There are no excuses when someone is provided with an opportunity.
In last week's win in Regina, Tim Maypray was asked to fill in for Brian Bratton.
"You have to be in the right spot,'' began Maypray. "He (Calvillo) is always going to make the right play, right read and right throw. All you got to do is your job and he takes care of the rest."
What Calvillo likes to do is spread the ball based on his pre-snap reads.
If a go-to receiver does exist with the Als, the closest is Richardson.
Without Richardson, the next best thing would be S.J. Green.
"That would be my guess,'' Argos DB Byron Parker said. "But with A.C., he has no preference.
"In that system, the next guy on their depth chart is just as good or they wouldn't keep him around."