Tuesday 4 December 2012

Williams Named League All-Star

Chris Williams capped his amazing 2012 season by being named a CFL all star.

Williams was named to the league's all-star kick returner following a year that saw him break the league's single-season record for return touchdowns. While being a unanimous selection was impossible – fan votes accounted for part of the selection equation and some would have voted for BC's Tim Brown (remember, one person voted for Brown over Williams for special teams player of the year award last week) – Williams was probably the closest to a guaranteed pick of any player named.

While it is great that Williams was recognized for his spectacular special teams play, I don't understand why he wasn't also named an all-star at receiver. Williams has a case to be named at receiver as much as any of the players picked instead of him and maybe even more so in the case of two of them. Nik Lewis and Chad Owens were locks to make the team; Owens led the league in receiver yards and Lewis was the only player to hit triple digits in catches. But a case could be made to put Williams ahead of both Weston Dressler and Fred Stamps.

Dressler led the league in touchdown catches with 13, but finished just two ahead of Williams, who had 11. Dressler had more catches (94 to 83) than Williams, but Williams had more yards (1,298 to 1,206). Stamps finished with more yards than Williams (1,310 to 1,298), but Williams notched more catches (83 to 70) and more touchdowns (11 to 9). So Williams wasn't snubbed in the classic sense of the word, but it is surprising that he wasn't named at receiver. Perhaps it is just a case of five very strong receiver candidates (six if you count Winnipeg's Chris Matthews) and Williams being a lock for the kick returner spot. My guess is that the voters just didn't want to give Williams two all-star spots when there were equally deserving players at the receiver position.

The odd thing about the all-star selections is that Hamilton, which had the league's best offense, ends the season without a league all-star on that side of the ball. I don't care that they finished 6-12, the offense was the best in the league and to see it not rewarded with at least one league all-star spot is curious. Either voters held the team's last-place record against it or the unit was better than the sum of its parts, but to see the CFL's highest scoring offense get shut out on that side of the all-star ball is strange and likely something that has never happened before. Of course, not making the playoffs with the league's best offense doesn't happen either, but it did this year.

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