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In case Week 1 of the NFL season hasn’t been exciting enough for you, (looking at you, readership segment that enjoys smoking meth then jumping out of cargo planes without parachutes), there’s always… BLOCKBUSTER MIDSEASON CFL TRADES! Oh yes, folks, there were two big deals made on Sunday, September 11th, while we were all busy watching the lowly Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, and other allegedly professional football teams!
The trades, as follows:
- TORONTO acquires QB Drew Willy from WINNIPEG, in exchange for DB TJ Heath, 2017 1st-round pick, 2018 3rd-round pick.
- WINNIPEG acquires QB Kevin Glenn from MONTREAL, in exchange for a 2017 4th-round pick.
The Blue Bombers have made out like absolute bandits in these deals. A 1st-round pick for a young quarterback that was never going to start again in Winnipeg is a king’s ransom, and THEN you throw in the fact they’ve picked up a defensive back tied for first in the league with 5 interceptions this season… plus the other pick… that’s a great, great job for the Bombers. Throwing in then that you’ve got a very talented backup who, despite losing his starting job in Montreal, is still third all-time in Winnipeg’s team history in passing yards thrown… Glenn will serve as better insurance to Matt Nichols than Drew Willy could.
For the Argonauts, with Ricky Ray out for several more weeks, as well as due to the fact that he’s unquestionably on the downswing of his career, Willy represents a fresh start and the chance to be Toronto’s offensive centrepiece. Head Coach Scott Milanovich is said to be a big fan of Willy, contrary to the Winnipeg head office. It’ll be interesting to see if he’ll get some time to work closely with him in the coming weeks as Toronto figures out their QB situation for the rest of the season. And despite absolutely understanding the need for a quarterback, Argos fans must be perplexed by the need to give up such a steep price for him, especially since the 2013 depth chart of Ricky Ray – Zach Collaros – Trevor Harris is still a very, very recent memory for many.
For the Alouettes, dumping Glenn’s large salary is a net positive, and it gives Rakeem Cato, who was the starter in 2015, to re-establish some confidence with more playing time. It also gives backup Vernon Adams, the well-known Oregon grad, to push more for playing time as well. For Montreal, who are likely out of the playoff race sitting last in the East at 3-8, the chance for younger players to develop is a welcome opportunity.
Anyways, onto the recaps!
WEEK 12 RECAPS
Montreal 27 vs. BC 38: The Lions opened the game with touchdowns on each of their first three possessions, and Montreal didn’t have a hope of staying in it. Rakeem Cato had a surprise start over Kevin Glenn, who was traded to Winnipeg a couple days later. In his return as the Alouettes’ starter, Cato threw for 255 yards and a touchdown, and Anthony Fera kicked four field goals. For the Lions, RB Jeremiah Johnson had an incredible, rushing 16 times for 159 yards and three touchdowns, while Jon Jennings threw for 341 yards and added another score as well. The Lions keep on rolling, while Montreal heads into Week 13 with some major personnel shakeups to deal with moving forward.
Saskatchewan 10 vs. Winnipeg 17: The Blue Bombers won their sixth straight game this week, emerging as victors in the Banjo Bowl – that streak is their longest in 15 years. Winnipeg is making waves both on and off the field with both their strong play as well as their bold front office moves of this past week. Matt Nichols improved to 6-0 as a starting QB this season, bringing his all-time record as Winnipeg’s starter to 8-5. Things are looking mostly peachy for the Bombers, save for the loss of Andrew Harris, who left the game just before the start of the third quarter with a lower-body injury. For Saskatchewan, despite the losses continuing to pile up, this game was a better defensive effort than many of their previous ones, and the chemistry between Darian Durant and receiver Naaman Roosevelt is a positive that can definitely be built on for next season.
Calgary 34 vs. Edmonton 28 (OT): A slow start almost burned the Stampeders this week, but after entering the second half down 17-3, Calgary pulled it out in overtime to win their eighth straight game of the season. Bo Levi Mitchell threw for over 300 yards for the ninth time this season, the most of any QB in the league, going 25-38 for 338 and 3 TDs, two of which were caught by DaVaris Daniels, who ended the night with 6 catches for 113 yards. For the Eskimos, the offence continues to roll – Mike Reilly continues to lead the league in passing yards, while Derel Walker and Adarius Bowman both cracked the 1000-yard mark in receiving yards in this game. In the end, though, Edmonton’s defence proved to be their Achilles’ heel, and in overtime, Mitchell completed two TD passes to cap the win for Calgary.
Hamilton 21 vs. Toronto 33: With Ricky Ray out with a fractured rib and partially deflated lung, new signee Dan LeFevour got his first start in double blue, and despite going almost two years between his last start in the CFL, had a pretty decent game, and went 27-36 for 329 yards and a touchdown, though that stat line was marred by two picks as well. The Argos’ defence had their best game of the season by far, however, limiting Hamilton QB Zach Collaros to just 1 touchdown through the air. DB TJ Heath, making what ended up to be his final start for Toronto after being traded to Winnipeg just minutes after the game ended, had two interceptions and seven tackles on the night, leading the way for the Argos to pull out what was arguably their best performance of the season thus far.
BYE: Ottawa (5-4-1)
WEEK 13 PREVIEWS
Montreal (3-8) vs. Hamilton (5-6), Friday, September 16th, 7:00 PM EST: Zach Collaros looks to rebound after a mediocre outing in Week 12, while Montreal adjusts to having a new starter under centre. With the Tabbies back at home, hopefully a friendly crowd will reward them justly. The Alouettes remain fractured – a report from the Toronto Star states that a number of players weren’t pleased about the Kevin Glenn trade, while Rakeem Cato has been in two shouting matches in practise over the past two weeks. So, yeah, things aren’t looking good there, really.
Toronto (5-6) vs. Winnipeg (7-4), Saturday, September 17th, 2:00 PM EST: With Dan LeFevour and a strong defensive effort snapping the Argos’ losing streak, they’re on the road to one of the two hottest teams in the league right now. The Bombers continue to roll, having won six straight games, and TJ Heath will play against his former team right away as he begins to learn his role in the Bombers’ strong secondary. Without Andrew Harris, they’ll be forced to pass more, but Winnipeg’s receiving corps seems to be in a very good space connecting with Matt Nichols over the last few games.
Ottawa (5-4-1) vs. Calgary (9-1-1), Saturday, September 17th, 5:00 PM EST: Ottawa comes off the bye to head to Calgary for a rematch; the last time these two teams met, back in Week 3, it ended in the first tie in the CFL since 2009. Another would be just strange. With a few key defensive players missing and slated to return soon for the REDBLACKS, most notably Arnaud Gascon-Nadon and Jerrell Gavins, the D will look better than it has over the last few weeks. Still, they’re rolling into town against the CFL’s top team by a wide margin, and need to keep the pressure going hard on Bo Levi Mitchell, who leads the league in touchdowns with 20. What makes Calgary most dangerous, similar to Ottawa’s offence, is that they have so many weapons and can easily spread the ball around. With Ottawa’s offence not clicking as much as Calgary’s as of recent, I have to give the edge to the Stampeders, especially with them as the home team this time around.
Edmonton (5-6) vs. Saskatchewan (1-10), Sunday, September 18th, 4:30 PM EST: The Eskimos lost an overtime game last week, and head to Saskatchewan with the knowledge that the Roughriders won’t cause them as much trouble as Calgary did in two games previous. Expect Mike Reilly to chuck bombs all game long, and hopefully the Eskimos notably shaky defence can at least get one or two stops on Darian Durant, who could really use a chance to get back in the swing of things and increase his passing touchdown totals, even if a win looks virtually impossible for them right now.
BYE: BC (8-3)
STANDINGS AND STATS
East Division Standings
|Team||Games||Wins||Losses||Ties||Points For||Points Against|
West Division Standings
|Team||Games||Wins||Losses||Ties||Points For||Points Against|
- Reilly, EDM – 3747
- Mitchell, CGY – 3575
- Jennings, BC – 3030
- Mitchell, CGY – 20
- Rielly, EDM – 19
- Collaros, HAM – 15
- Messam, CGY – 704
- Harris, WPG – 677
- Whitaker, TOR – 592
- Bowman, EDM – 1127
- Walker, EDM – 1124
- Roosevelt, SSK – 1095
- Bazzie, BC – 10
- Lemon, TOR – 9
- Chick, HAM – 8
- Leggett, WPG – 5
- Heath, TOR/WPG – 5
- Jefferson, TOR – 3
- Paredes, CGY – 37
- Medlock, WPG – 35
- Milo, OTT – 27
Game picks this week: 3-1
Game picks this season: 28-21