Thursday 11 November 2010

West Offensive All-Stars

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 West Offensive All-Stars.

Quarterback: Henry Burris (CAL)
For my money, Burris was the best QB in the CFL in 2010. He was my choice for MOP, so he's obviously my pick for West Division All-Star.

The numbers tell part of the story. Burris threw for more TD passes than anyone else (38) and led his team to more victories (13) than any other QB. He finished third in passing yards behind Darian Durant and Kevin Glenn, but he was also pulled from a lot of games (namely two mid-season contests against Edmonton and in the final week against Winnipeg), which hurt his numbers.

Even so, Burris was still far and away the best QB in the West in 2010.

Running Back: Wes Cates (SSK), Joffrey Reynolds (CAL)
The Running Backs in the West weren't as strong as the ones in the East, so these choices were tough. But BC and Edmonton didn't have a bellcow back, so almost by default, the choices were Cates and Reynolds.

That's not to say that either player isn't deserving. Both went over 1,000 yards, and Cates scored 16 TDs (15 rushing, one receiving). But in all honesty, these two were the best of a mediocre bunch.

Receiver: Nik Lewis (CAL), Andy Fantuz (SSK), Weston Dressler (SSK), Fred Stamps (EDM)
The West, while lacking at Running Back, more than made up for it at Receiver. Eight Receivers from the West eclipsed 1,000 yards (Lewis, Fantuz, Dressler, Stamps, Ken-Yon Rambo, Geroy Simon, Romby Bryant and Emmanuel Arceneaux), so picking only four was difficult.

Fantuz led the league in receiving; Lewis had arguably his best season; Stamps, in my opinion, likely would have won the receiving title had he been healthy all year; and Dressler is as clutch as they get.

That said, an equally strong case could be made for the four players I didn't select. It was just that good of a year for Receivers in the West Division.

Centre: Jeremy O'Day (SSK)
One of the hardest choices to make is Offensive Line. On the line, picking interior linemen is even more difficult. O'Day has been the West All-Star three of the past four seasons, so I probably gave this to him on rep alone. That said, I don't know who else I would have picked.

Guard: Dimitri Tsoumpus (CAL), Patrick Kabango (EDM)
The weak link heading into the season for the Calgary Stampeders, according to most pundits, was their Offensive Line. The loss of Tsoumpus, who went to try out for the Miami Dolphins, was one of the reasons why. But the Stamps line gelled, and reintegrated Tsoumpus with ease. Once he was back, he dominated like he did the year before.

I was going to pick Gene Makowsky for my second Guard, but when I did my picks online, Makowsky wasn't available. So I went with the only other guy I knew, which was Patrick Kabango. He probably doesn't deserve this, but as I said, picking interior linemen isn't easy.

Tackle: Ben Archibald (CAL), Gene Makowsky (SSK)
Archibald was my choice for Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman in the West, so to not pick him as an All-Star would have been foolish.

As I said above, I was picking Makowsky for Guard, but he was listed as a Tackle. I picked him anyway.

Kicker: Paul McCallum (BC)
No Kicker was better than Paul McCallum in 2010. He connected on a league-high 88.2% of his kicks, and he was the BC Lions' nominee for Most Outstanding Player. At 40 years of age, McCallum seems to have found the fountain of youth.

Punter: Eddie Johnson (SSK)
Calgary's Burke Dales leads the league in punting average, but Eddie Johnson of the Roughriders was put into a difficult position when Luca Congi went down with injury. Johnson's versatility was the reason I voted for him as an All-Star.

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