Sunday 31 July 2011

Morning-After Thoughts (Week 5)

What an absolutely great weekend of football. Anyone who calls themselves a fan of our great game must have enjoyed every second of the action they saw this weekend. It is weekends like this that remind me why I watch the CFL. From Winnipeg's emotional win on Thursday to Hamilton's statement win, and from Edmonton's come-from-behind win on Friday to Calgary's grind-it-out win on Saturday, fans of the CFL were treated to four quality matchups.
  1. The only blemish this week was the atrocious officiating, especially in the Montreal-Hamilton game. There was horrible officiating in the Toronto-Edmonton game as well; however, that was to be expected because the head ref was... Andre Proulx. Proulx is probably the worst official in any sport.
  2. One thing I've noticed the first third of the season is a major improvement in kick and punt coverage. The CFL is full of many dynamic returners (Chad Owens, Marcus Thigpen, Jovon Johnson, Tim Brown, etc.), yet there have been only two return TDs in 2011 compared to nine at this point last season.
  3. I'm a hip-hop fan, and we as fans all agreed that the word "swagger" died in 2008. Can someone please relay that message to Winnipeg? Sorry guys, Swaggerville is kinda lame.
  4. For the second consecutive week, I watched Ben Archibald get abused by an opposing Defensive End. Last week, it was Justin Hickman; this week, it was Odell Willis. I'm starting to wonder if Calgary let Archibald walk because they knew he wasn't the player he once was.
  5. Buck Pierce went down with an injury, forcing Alex Brink to take over. Brink, to my surprise, played very well. He even orchestrated the winning drive for the Bombers. Brink showed a lot in Week 5, and I'm starting to think Winnipeg isn't in as much trouble if Pierce goes down as I originally thought.
  6. We're five weeks into the season, and I have to ask: where the heck is Paris Jackson? He has yet to catch a pass in 2011. I understand that BC has a lot of skilled players at Receiver, but for Jackson not to have caught a pass is ridiculous.
  7. Montreal prides themselves on being a very disciplined football team, but they lead the league in penalties and amassed an astounding 14 in their Week 5 loss. Penalties cost you games, and while the reffing was bad, you can't let the refs call that many on your team. There are problems in Montreal, but fixing this one should be near the top of the list.
  8. Probably what will be talked about most from this weekend's games is the odd series of events at the end of the first half of the Toronto-Edmonton game. While it was undoubtedly the correct call – there was time on the clock when the whistle was blown – there did seem to be some time issues on the two previous plays. I don't know if anything sinister happened, but the optics aren't good.
  9. I talked about Chad Kackert in this space last week, and I'm once again wondering if he is really that good or if the Argos can just run the football. I suspect it's a little of both, which makes me wonder how good Cory Boyd really is.
  10. The Argos are in a bit of a tailspin, and it all revolves around – surprise – the Quarterback position. Dalton Bell has been given two chances to take the reins from Cleo Lemon, failing both times. Much like Lemon, Bell seems to force throws and tosses bad interceptions. Steven Jyles must be licking his chops knowing that Lemon and Bell are all that stands between him and a CFL starting gig.
  11. At the start of the year, Fred Stamps said that he was the best Receiver in the CFL. Some laughed; others cringed; many dismissed. Well, it doesn't sound so crazy now, and I don't think many people would disagree with Stamps's preseason proclamation.
  12. Could there be two more opposite teams than Edmonton and Toronto? Edmonton sits 5-0 and came into the season with no expectations after missing the playoffs in 2010; Toronto sits 1-4 and came into the season expecting to take the next step after making it to the East Division Final in 2010. Whatever Edmonton's doing is working, and whatever Toronto is doing isn't.
  13. Kavis Reed has done a remarkable job in Edmonton. Unless the Eskimos completely collapse and don't win another game all season, I feel confident in declaring him the CFL's Coach of the Year.
  14. Does anyone else feel like Chad Owens isn't the same player he was last year?
  15. I understand that we live in a vast country, but why did the Stamps-Riders game have to start at 9:30PM on a Saturday? Was there something in Regina that prevented that game from being an afternoon contest?
  16. Saskatchewan, put the all green uniforms (green helmet, green jersey, green pants) out to pasture. They make the players look like giant pickles. But at least they are better than those red and black numbers from last season. Yuck!
  17. When a player makes a big hit, it is commonplace for the player to celebrate. But when a player makes a big hit and the opposing player not only holds onto the ball, but gets the much-needed first down, celebrating the hit makes you look like a buffoon. Tristan Jackson, I'm talking to you.
  18. I know Rene Paredes went four for five last night, but I just feel as if Calgary's kicking situation is eerily reminiscent of Hamilton's last year. I don't trust Paredes to make the kick if he's called upon.
  19. I really like a lot of the young, Canadian talent at the Receiver position in the CFL right now. I look at Shawn Gore of BC, Cory Watson of Winnipeg and Spencer Watt of Toronto and I see potential stars. All three have varying skill sets, but they all have the opportunity to play in this league for a very long time.
  20. I'm starting to scare myself. I went 0-4 in Week 2 and followed that up by going 4-0 in Week 3. I went 1-3 in Week 4 and followed that up by going 3-1 this past week. That puts me at 10-10 for the year. Not horrendous, but I want to do better. I have yet to be above .500 all year, and I want to change that next week.

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