Monday, 30 August 2010

Mid-Season Grades: Receivers

We're down to the final three positions. We have the men that throw the ball, the men that run the ball and the men that catch the ball. We're starting with the men who catch.

Arland Bruce is the best Receiver in the Canadian Football League right now. There, I said it. I don't think there is a player right now who is playing better week in, week out, than Arland Bruce. All he does is make plays. Everyone will point to his game against the Roughriders, where he tied a single-game CFL record with 16 receptions, as the pinnacle of the first half of the season. It was one of the most impressive outputs I have ever witnessed. Lost in the lovefest about that game was the game he had the following week where he tallied 11 catches in a win over Winnipeg. A great first half of the season for the man known as Mr. Bruce.

Dave Stala has picked up right where he left off in 2009. Whether you like to call him "Sticky" or "Second Down Stala" the fact remains that he has been the go-to guy when the team needs to pick up a first down. There hasn't been a player this reliable in a Cats uniform since maybe Mike Morreale.

Marquay McDaniel has quietly put up some pretty impressive numbers. While they don't rival Bruce's, McDaniel has progressed well following his rookie season. He continues to get better week after week.

Matt Carter has also been a revelation. Since taking over for the ineffective Chris Bauman (more on him later), Carter has been very steady and very reliable. His first ever catch was for a TD, and since then he has shown reliable hands and steady play.

That's not to say all has been great with the Receiving corps. Maurice Mann has not acclimated himself well, and he hasn't been the threat many thought he would be playing opposite Arland Bruce. Chris Bauman still has not shown any of the skills that made him the top pick in the 2007 CFL Draft. He drops too many passes and hasn't gotten any better during his time in Hamilton.

Overall, the Receivers have performed very well. Arland Bruce has been a man possessed since the end of July, and his performance bumps the grade up. I look forward to more great things from the Receivers in the second half of the season.

Mid-Season Grade: A-

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  1. A-minus??

    There have been FAR too many dropped balls this year from the group, Bruce included up until he caught fire. Even sure handed Stala has had his moments. Glenn hasn't always got the ball to them when they're open and made his usual boneheaded passes, but his receivers have let him down at inopportune times too often.

    Bruce's production lately has made things seem better across the entire unit than it has been. Consistency has improved, but on the whole taking the first few games into account and the play of Mann I say B. Tops.

  2. I was going to go with a 'B' or 'B+', but I just couldn't get the image of Bruce playing out of his mind against the Riders and Bombers in back-to-back weeks out of my head.

    When looking at the team, I look at how they've come along. That doesn't mean I'll hand out high grades for just recent performance -- there will be no 'A' grade for the Running Backs, that's for sure. But if the unit looks better than they did to start the year (and I guess that's easy considering how bad everyone but Thigpen looked in Week 1), I will be a little more generous with my mark.

    But your points are fair and I cannot deny your logic.