Monday 1 November 2010

Morning-After Thoughts (Week 18)

One week. That's all that is left. We have seen 68 games start and finish, and we sit on the precipice of finality with only four more games to go in the 2010 CFL Regular Season. I have to say this has been one of the most enjoyable Canadian Football League seasons I can remember. I have watched more CFL games this season than in any other, mostly because of this blog. I have re-found my love for the CFL, and as much as I'm sad to see this season near its end, I can't wait for the 2011 season to begin. Here's to an amazing final nine games (including the playoffs and Grey Cup). Now, on to this week's thoughts.
  1. Is there any player as electrifying as Chad Owens? The guy is just awesome. Why Montreal ever thought of getting rid of him is beyond me. He has the Most Outstanding Special Teams Player award in the bag, but there has been a groundswell of support for his inclusion in the Most Outstanding Player award conversation. Whether he gets that nomination or not, Chad Owens has been one of the most outstanding players in 2010.
  2. There have been a lot, and I mean a lot, of bad interceptions thrown this season, but I think Cleo Lemon's interception at end of the third quarter to Mark Estelle, which took place deep in Montreal territory when the Argos were looking to put the proverbial foot on the throat, may have been the most inexcusable. That was the turning point of the game. There is no excuse for throwing that ball. A Pee-Wee QB would know to eat it and take the sack. Lemon is not some kid fresh out of college either; he's played in both the NFL and CFL. He was taught a very long time ago to take the sack. Indefensible throw by a QB who is showing that Jim Barker's faith might be misplaced.
  3. I absolutely loved the uniforms and helmets that the Alouettes were wearing on Friday night. The white helmets looked fantastic.
  4. I know they won the game, and I know they are 12-4 with a first-round bye, but does anyone else feel like the Montreal Alouettes just don't have the same jump in their step that they usually have? I know the end of the season is typically swoon time for the Als, but that hasn't been the case under Marc Trestman. Montreal is still the favourite to go to the Grey Cup from the East Division, but I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't. They just seem... off.
  5. Want to know how to beat Montreal? Here's the secret: score first. In the twelve games where the Als have scored first, they are 12-0. In the four games where their opponent has scored first, they are 0-4. I guess we'll know who is going to the Grey Cup very early on November 21st.
  6. The ending to the Montreal-Toronto game was one of the all-time great endings to a CFL game. If you haven't seen it, go watch a replay. It was amazing. Words cannot do it justice. It must be seen to be believed.
  7. I know Alberta tends to be a little colder than Southern Ontario, but was it really necessary for Dave Stala to dress like he was about to ride a Tauntaun out into the harsh weather of Hoth to find Luke Skywalker? Seriously, I half expected him to fight a Wampa before the game was over.
  8. So much for all the streaks emanating from Hamilton. The TD-less streak, the winning streak, my shaveless streak. All up in smoke.
  9. Brandon Browner is constantly cited as being the best cover corner in the CFL. He has made that reputation by shutting down many of the top Receivers. But watching him closely, I noticed that he gets away with an awful lot of pass interference. Go back and watch the Stamps game against Montreal in Calgary when Browner shut down Jamel Richardson. He held Richardson on pretty much every play. That's not what I would call a good or great cover man. It's what I call someone whose reputation helps him with the zebras.
  10. I hate Dwight Anderson. That's all, I just wanted to say that.
  11. If Philip Hunt played for a team in playoff contention, his name would be mentioned as a sure-fire, damn-near lock for Most Outstanding Defensive Player. Hunt has recorded at least one sack in 10 consecutive games. That's incredible, and Hunt needs to get more publicity for such a feat.
  12. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will not be a participant in the 2010 CFL Playoffs. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers could very well end up with the league's top rusher (Fred Reid), top receiver (Terrence Edwards) and top sack master (Philip Hun). How a team could have all three of those and still miss the playoffs is beyond me. Just shows how hard luck the Bombers have been this season.
  13. I like a lot of what I see in Jared Zabransky, but he still has a lot to learn. One such area is ball protection. Zabransky has ten interceptions in 100 pass attempts. That's not good. Extrapolate that out to how many throws he'd have during a full season as starter and it gets even worse. Of course, with more experience come fewer interceptions, but the number is still very striking.
  14. The wild endings didn't end in Toronto. The Eskimos and Bombers staged a game for the ages... the Stone Ages. It was one of the dullest games I can remember, but the final few minutes were absolutely thrilling. Just goes to show you, never turn off a CFL game, because you never know what might happen.
  15. Another undoing of the Bombers (aside from their record in games decided by four points or less) is the fact that they did not win a single game on the road this season. Winnipeg finish 2010 at 0-9 on the road. If the Bombers can just go around .500, let's say 4-5, they are 8-9 right now and possibly headed to Regina on the 14th of November.
  16. Four losses in a row. The Saskatchewan Roughriders, many people's pick to win the Grey Cup this season, have lost four consecutive games. I am sorry, but they do not look like a team that can win a playoff game, let alone three. They are in a world of trouble if they don't fix their problems now!
  17. Earlier this season, someone wrote that they thought Darian Durant was on his way to becoming the next Doug Flutie. First, that is about as ridiculous as saying someone will be the next Joe Montana or Bobby Orr. Secondly, even if we all thought Durant could be "Flutie good," his performance this season shows that he still has a long way to go. Right now I'd say he is probably the fourth or fifth best QB in the league, at best. He is absolutely behind Anthony Calvillo, Henry Burris and Kevin Glenn. He's also probably behind Ricky Ray. That puts him ahead of whatever QB Winnipeg trots out, BC's Travis Lulay and Toronto's Cleo Lemon. If Durant doesn't start showing better results, he could find himself behind Lulay (and perhaps Steven Jyles, if the Bombers decide to go with him) by this time next season.
  18. What Chad Owens is doing for the Argonauts, Yonus Davis is doing for the Lions. Whenever the Leos need a spark, Davis provides it. In any other year, he'd win the award for Most Outstanding Special Teams Player. But with Chad Owens doing what he's doing, Davis will likely have to settle for the West Division nomination.
  19. With the Lions done the home portion of their schedule, that means we bid adieu to Empire Field. The renovations at BC Place should be done before the 2011 CFL season kicks off, so the Saskatchewan-BC game was the last one played there. The Lions will be happy to see the inside of BC Place again. Empire Field was none too kind to the Leos. BC finished an awful 3-6 at home in 2010. No wonder they're still fighting for their playoff lives.
  20. My goal when I decided to make predictions on the 2010 CFL season was to go no worse than .500. With my 2-2 record in Week 18, I guarantee myself of at least that in the regular season. My overall record stands at 36-32, and with only four games left, the worst I can finish is 36-36. Now, with five playoff games still in the mix, I can still finish below .500 if I'm way off on my playoff predictions, but my regular-season record is guaranteed to be at what I thought my bare minimum would be.

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