The problem with summertime in your twenties is that it seems like every weekend gets booked up with stuff. I’ve got a wedding to attend this weekend, a family retreat next, and another wedding after that. Whatever happened to sitting on your couch in your underwear, drunk at 4:30 PM and snoring with a baseball game on in the background? I have yet to acquire the knowledge necessary to attain this level of sloth; I think it has something to do with not being a parent yet. I dunno. At any rate, it’s also further cutting into my football-watching schedule as well. A damn shame, truly.
Some league news this week:
- The Argos signed former NFL RB Dexter McCluster on Monday; after not playing in the 2017 season at all, this will be his first football action since six games with the Chargers in 2016. He made the 2013 Pro Bowl as a return specialist, and I suspect that is where Toronto will probably utilize him most right now; that said, his versatility as a runner, pass-catcher and return guy could see him become a complementary piece to a player like James Wilder, Jr. who is probably the most key cog in the offence right now. Toronto already has an excellent return man in Martese Jackson, but McCluster could well see action as the second man back on special teams as well.
- Ottawa released two of their defensive backs this week in Josh Johnson and Teague Sherman. While Johnson wasn’t working out compared to the expectations the REDBLACKS had for him at the beginning of the season, as a former NFLer and as an international player, the release of Sherman is far more serious, due it coming from a sexual assault charge filed this week from an incident in November 2017. Regardless of whether the charges are proven or not, it’s encouraging to see a team taking them seriously and being proactive in releasing players who aren’t keep with the CFL’s Code of Conduct for players.
- Terrell Owens triggered his 10-day window for signing a contract with the Edmonton Eskimos this week; as the rules go, Edmonton has ten days to offer a contract to T.O., elsewise they will have to release him from their negotiation list if no offer is made. If an offer is made and subsequently rejected by Owens, he will be removed one year from the offer date. While I don’t think it makes sense for Owens to sign in Edmonton – they have a fantastically deep receiving corps – and since they are only likely to offer the league’s veteran minimum of $54,000 CAD, it’s possible that the Eskimos could sign and then trade him, likely to a team in the East. Montreal might make sense – they did sign Ochocinco in 2014, after all – but despite the fact that Terrell Owens can run a 4.43 40 at 44 years old, I still think all of this is pretty crazy.
- Argos DL Dylan Wynn was suspended one game for a late hit on Eskimos RB CJ Gable last week, when he led with the crown of his helmet and made contact with Gable’s head after he was down on the field already by another player. Wynn will miss this week’s matchup against Winnipeg as the result of his actions.
WEEK 5 RECAPS
Calgary 27 vs. Ottawa 3: Well, this one was probably the ugliest game I’ve seen Ottawa play since their inaugural 2014 season, where they went 2-16, and looked every part like an expansion club. The first half, in particular, was absolutely brutal; despite the Stamps losing Bo Levi Mitchell from a low tackle from the REDBLACKS’ Danny Mason, they went into halftime with a 20-0 lead. The score was only a single indicator of how lopsided this game was – besides Trevor Harris only going 14-22 for 93 yards and two horrendous interceptions, the REDBLACKS also only managed 27 total yards and a single first down in the entire first half. With Mitchell injured, the Stampeders relied on rookie RB Don Jackson to step up his workload, and he delivered, helping the offence with 102 rush yards on 15 carries. Nick Arbuckle also threw a touchdown in relief of Mitchell, and Romar Morris added another on the ground. All in all, Ottawa should really be burning the game tape of this one – it was truly atrocious.
Toronto 15 vs. Edmonton 16: The Eskimos got revenge for their Week 4 upset loss to this same Argos team; after a slow start, Edmonton jumped out to a lead in the 2nd quarter when Mike Reilly connected with Jordan Robinson for a 30-yard touchdown pass. While Edmonton managed to hold on for the win in the end, the Argos pushed all game long to try and keep pace with the Eskimos. Ronnie Pfeffer’s 28-yard bank shot field goal cut the lead to a single point with just under five minutes to go, but after trading a couple of two-and-outs, the Eskimos managed to secure a late first down and run out the clock on Toronto. Controversial from this game was the headshot delivered by DL Dylan Wynn on Eskimos’ running back CJ Gable in the 4th quarter, who left the game and did not return. With the hit coming late (with Gable already on the ground), and with Wynn leading with the helmet and connecting with Gable’s head as the principal point of contact, it was an indefensible play, and the kind of hit the league is working to get rid of in play. One game seems light, but this remains in line with punishments doled out elsewhere.
Winnipeg 17 vs. BC 20: Down by 17 points at halftime, Travis Lulay, back on the job as the Lions’ starting quarterback, lit a fire under his team and rallied BC to a massive comeback win at home against the Blue Bombers. With a big goal-line stand by the Lions’ D halting the Bombers on third and inches, the offence finally responded, with third-stringer Cody Fajardo pulling off a successful QB sneak at the one for a touchdown to cut the Bombers’ lead to 10. When DB Winston Rose picked off Matt Nichols at the end of the third, BC got the ball back and kept marching along, adding a field goal… Following another big stop on third down to keep Winnipeg from adding to the lead, Lulay connected with Shaq Johnson for a 13-yard touchdown to tie the game. BC got another final lucky break when Matt Nichols got picked off for the third time in the contest, with Anthony Orange doing the honours. Ty Long kicked the winning field goal as time expired, capping the impressive victory.
BYE: Montreal (1-3), Hamilton (2-2), Saskatchewan (2-2)
WEEK 6 PREVIEWS
Saskatchewan (2-2) vs. Hamilton (2-2), Thursday, July 19th, 7:30 PM EST: Chris Jones needs to stop doing stupid shit. By stupid shit, I mean have Duron Carter playing cornerback, and the endless QB rotation between Brandon Bridge and David Watford. Right now, the major issue plaguing the Riders is the inability to establish offensive rhythm – which is awfully damn difficult to do when your best players aren’t getting adequate time on the field together. For the Ti-Cats, Jeremiah Masoli has been a bastion of consistency to date – nine straight 300-plus-yard games is an excellent streak, even in a league designed towards emphasizing quarterback play. If he can continue that hot streak – and if his O-line can weather the storm from a ferocious Saskatchewan pass rush – then hopefully things will fall into place for the Tabbies this week.
BC (2-2) vs. Ottawa (2-2), Friday, July 20th, 7:30 PM EST: Despite the big win last week over the Bombers, the Lions will deal with a big loss on defense, with LB Solomon Elimimian hurting his wrist during practise this week, which required surgery to fix, landing him on the 6-game injured list. Elimimian has been the Lions’ most important player on defence for almost his entire career, racking up the Most Outstanding Rookie award in 2010, top defensive player in 2014 and 2016, and the league’s Most Outstanding Player award in 2016. BC will also be without starting RB Jeremiah Johnson, who is dealing with an ankle injury. For the REDBLACKS, after the pathetic performance against the Stampeders last week, they really need to hit the re-set button. The good news is that it’s going to be difficult for them to be much worse than they were last week – and BC is certainly not Calgary, in terms of both on-field talent and results so far.
Winnipeg (2-3) vs. Toronto (1-3), Saturday, July 21st, 4:00 PM EST: After the crushing loss last week, where Winnipeg really abandoned their run game in the second half – a curious decision, especially considering they have the league’s best running back and dual-threat option on their roster in Andrew Harris – they need to re-set themselves. Matt Nichols didn’t have a great game last week – three interceptions – but it’s not all about him, either. As a whole, Winnipeg needs to be more consistent as a team. Despite possessing the league’s top offence in points scored thus far, they also need to do a better job of closing out drives – the two missed third down opportunities against BC are proof of that. For Toronto, as James Franklin continues to learn the ropes of being a CFL starter, the entire rest of the team needs to step up as well. Not a ton is going well for the Argos right now – I don’t know what the solution is going to be, moving forward.
Montreal (1-3) vs. Calgary (4-0), Saturday, July 21st, 9:00 PM EST: I feel like the result of this isn’t going to be a hard one to predict. That said, the Alouettes did shock the Stamps last year for one of their three wins – although that was a home game. When they visited McMahon Stadium last year, the final whistle saw Calgary win 59-11; and I’m not confident that this is a better Montreal team than last year, even with the personnel changes made on D. Montreal will also be going back to Drew Willy at QB, who is healthy once again, replacing Jeff Mathews, who’s out for 4-6 weeks after stepping in during Week 3 when Willy got hurt. Even whoever Calgary starts at quarterback – Bo Levi Mitchell’s status is still uncertain right now after leaving in the second quarter of last week’s game due to a knee injury – when you have a defense that’s conceding fewer than 10 points a game, it’s hard to bet against your team.
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 – 1648
- Masoli, HAM – 1378
- Mitchell, CGY – 1038
- Reilly, EDM – 9
- Mitchell, CGY – 7
- Streveler, WPG – 6
- Harris, WPG – 449
- Jackson, CGY – 396
- Powell, OTT – 372
- Williams, EDM – 556
- Walker, EDM – 386
- Banks, HAM – 360
- Hughes, SSK – 5
- Johnson, CGY – 4
- Laing, TOR – 3
- Bighill, WPG – 2
- Murray, OTT – 2
- Lee, BC – 2
- Hajrullahu, HAM – 11
- Lauther, SSK – 10
- Paredes, CGY – 9
Once again, vodkachaprick lays waste to us all. Will he ever be caught? Should we put him on trial for being a witch? Did he turn me into a newt? Well, it’s hard to say. If he did, then I got better, it seems.
Remember to submit your picks here! http://www.pooltracker.com/join.asp?poolid=148402
|Rank||Total Points||Weekly Score||Win Percentage|
|Game Time Decision||13||3-0||62.42%|
Enjoy the games, everyone.