Balloting is now closed for divisional All-Star nominations, so over a four-day span I will unveil one of four groups of players. Today is my East Offensive All-Stars.
Quarterback: Kevin Glenn (HAM)
I am sure that this selection will be heavily scrutinized. I'm sure the detractors will call this a homer pick. To be fair, there were, in all honesty, only two players worthy of consideration: Glenn and Anthony Calvillo. (Anyone who thinks Cleo Lemon or anyone in Winnipeg should be considered is out of their mind.) So how do Glenn and Calvillo stack up against one another?
Glenn had more passing yards and touchdowns. Calvillo had fewer interceptions, a higher QB rating and a higher completion percentage. Basically their statistical comparisons are a wash, though Calvillo throwing only seven picks is impressive, even for him.
Glenn, however, did play in all 18 games; Calvillo missed three games and most of a fourth. Calvillo's numbers would be higher than Glenn's had he suited up for all 18 games, but Glenn playing in every game needs to be a positive not a negative. Durability is key, and no QB in the East was more durable than Glenn in 2010.
Now, having said all that, I am 99.99% positive that Calvillo will be the East All-Star QB when the votes are tallied. I'd be surprised if Glenn got the nod, but an argument can be made for him.
Running Back: Cory Boyd (TOR), Fred Reid (WIN)
While the West had somewhat middling performances from their Running Back stable, the same cannot be said of the East. Three of the four finished with over 1,000 yards rushing (Reid, Boyd and DeAndra' Cobb), while the other one (Avon Cobourne) missed by only 44 yards.
I've stated before that players that I gave award nominations to would also get my All-Star vote. So since Boyd was my nominee from the East for MOP, he's one of my All-Star RBs. Boyd, to put it simply, was the Argonaut offense in 2010. Even though teams knew he was going to get the ball, he was virtually unstoppable. Boyd was fantastic during his first CFL season.
Reid led the league in rushing and played brilliantly for a losing team in Winnipeg. He's never been a big TD guy, but his numbers stayed about the same as last year, when was also an All-Star. Reid also led the league with a 6.6 yards-per-rush average.
Receiver: Arland Bruce (HAM), Terrence Edwards (WIN), Jamel Richardson (MTL), Dave Stala (HAM)
The competition at Receiver in the East was the same as the competition for Running Back in the West. That is to say, there wasn't much. With Toronto having a passing game that resembled a mediocre high school team's, that left only three teams to choose from.
Arland Bruce, who led the league in receiving for most of the year, gets one of the spots. He is, if not the best, then one of the top three or five Receivers in the CFL.
Terrence Edwards had a terrific season in Winnipeg. He led the East in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns (and finished second, league-wide, in both categories), and he did it all despite never having a solidified QB. He started the season with Buck Pierce, who was replaced by Steven Jyles, who was replaced by Buck Pierce, who was replaced by Steven Jyles, who was replaced by Alex Brink, who was replaced by Steven Jyles, who was replaced by Alex Brink, who was replaced by Joey Elliott. Phew, were you able to follow all that? Yet, regardless of who was taking snaps, Edwards continued to put up great numbers.
There were a lot of good Receivers to choose from from Montreal. I chose Richardson. He was the most consistent out of the bunch (where he edges out S.J. Green) and the most durable (where he edges out Kerry Watkins). Richardson led the Als in receptions and yards, and finished third in touchdowns.
I will admit that a bit of homerism played a role in selecting Dave Stala as my fourth, and final, All-Star Receiver. It came down to him and S.J. Green, and I went with Stala because of how important he was to Kevin Glenn throughout the season. He was Glenn's security blanket. When the Tiger-Cats needed a first down, Glenn looked to Stala. Green made a lot of big plays, but he wasn't as dependable as Stala over the entire season.
Centre: Marwan Hage (HAM)
Year after year, Hage would lose this to Alouette Centre Brian Chiu. With Chiu now retired, there is no better Centre in the East, and perhaps the CFL, than Marwan Hage. Like Bob Dole in 1996, it's Hage's turn in 2010.
Guard: Peter Dyakowski (HAM), Scott Flory (MTL)
Dyakowski played in all 18 games and was part of a Tiger-Cat Offensive Line that gave up a league-low 26 sacks all season. Considering 11 of those sacks came in two games, that's remarkable.
Flory, a perennial All-Star, had his typical great season, and there was no reason to elevate anyone ahead of him.
Tackle: Josh Bourke (MTL), Alexandre Gauthier (HAM)
Much like Hage and Dyakowski, Gauthier was a rock on a great Tiger-Cat O-Line. Not much else needs to be said.
Bourke was very good for the Als this season. He was even able to wrestle away Montreal's nomination for Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman from Scott Flory (which is no small feat). Bourke also has a legitimate shot to take home the award at the end of November.
Kicker: Damon Duvall (MTL)
I think if I would have waited, I probably would have picked Winnipeg's Justin Palardy. Duval was hurt this season, and his field goal percentage was the lowest of any of the regular Kickers. I think I goofed on this one, but no Kicker in the East was truly worthy of consideration. DeAngelis stunk, and the Argos rotated Kickers (Shaw to Medlock to Prefontaine) like people rotate their mattresses. Yeah, this should have gone to Palardy.
Punter: Eric Wilbur (HAM)
This has as much to do with his punting (which was phenomenal) as it does with his toughness. Not since Jamie Boreham has a Punter been willing to stick his nose in and make a play.