Nine thoughts on nine teams: aftermath from pre-season week one

Nine thoughts on nine teams after each franchise across the league has played at least one exhibition game.

B.C. Lions: The Jonathon Jennings to Emmanuel Arceneaux connection looks to be in fine form. B.C.’s 23-year-old quarterback dropped a ball into the 2015 CFL All-Star receiver for a 46-yard gain in the Lions’ first pre-season game. That’s an encouraging site for the Leos as Jennings learns a new scheme under offensive coordinator Khari Jones.

Edmonton Eskimos: John Ojo had to be carted off the practice field on Monday with what was revealed as a torn Achilles. That setback puts the All-Star cover man on the shelf for the season. And it means Edmonton’s entire strong side of the secondary is gone from last season – Aaron Grymes signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. A green American will be forced to into action, which is exactly what Ojo was at this time in 2015.


Calgary Stampeders: Turning the ball over six times in an off-season touch game would irritate any coach, especially Dave Dickenson who took care of the football while he starred in the CFL. Seeing Calgary give the ball to Edmonton on a half dozen occasions was not what we’ve become accustomed to seeing from the Stampeders. That performance could serve as an early wake-up call for a team that’s expected to be among the elite.

Saskatchewan Roughriders: Riders fans need to learn patience. The roster was depleted when Chris Jones took over, and it’s going to take time for all the new additions to get comfortable in their systems. Saskatchewan has the luxury of more time than any other team because the green and white don’t play a football game that counts until Week 2 (June 30). Allow Jones and Co. the ability to mold the Riders for at least a little while before jumping to any conclusions, even though that may be hard, Riderville.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers: If another team needs a capable field goal kicker, Sergio Castillo’s proving he can handle those duties. The international made six of eight three-point tries in two pre-season games, including a long of 49 yards in what was an important audition of sorts for the 25-year-old. With Justin Medlock on the roster, Castillo will have a hard time getting any playing time in Winnipeg.


Hamilton Tiger-Cats: Mike Filer’s unfortunate thumb injury – he caught it between two helmets and needed 12 stitches to close up the wound – allowed Mathieu Girard, who spent 2015 developing as an offensive lineman with Hamilton, to play three full quarters Saturday. The University of Montreal product showed well and it means the team has some depth at the centre position.

Toronto Argonauts: By all accounts Toronto’s test run at BMO Field was a success. Fans felt the tailgate was authentic – no corporate stuffy feel – and the stadium sets up well for football. Now the Argos need to continue that momentum into the regular season and sell out the regular season opener against the Ticats.

Ottawa Redblacks: Running back William Powell was being touted by some pundits as a possible CFL MOP candidate, but what looked like a serious injury Monday could sideline the talented ball carrier for a long period of time if not the entire season. Fortunately for Ottawa Travon Van displayed vision and burst while rushing for 38 yards on seven carries versus Winnipeg. If the 25-year-old keeps up that production he could go from not seeing a single carry in 2015 – three games with the Redblacks – to lead back for the team in the nation’s capital.


Montreal Alouettes: While watching Montreal against Winnipeg it quickly became clear that Anthony Calvillo has put his trademark on the offence. Especially when Kevin Glenn and the first unit was on the field, the short rhythm passing game was featured. That’s an area where the CFL’s All-Time leading passer excelled as a pro.

Editor’s note: When there is a Monday game in the CFL the column will be posted on Tuesday. Otherwise expect to see it on Monday.

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