Nine thoughts on nine teams: opening week in the books

Nine thoughts on nine teams with CFL kick-off weekend fresh on the mind.

B.C. Lions: Wally Buono’s mentality and Chris Rainey’s late-game heroics earned the Leos a comeback victory. B.C. was down 17-6 in the third quarter and recent Lions teams might have closed up shop, but that didn’t happen with the CFL all-time coaching wins leader on the sideline. As for B.C.’s game-breaking return man, Rainey’s already proving that what he did to end 2015 was no fluke.


Edmonton Eskimos: The new-look secondary was torched for 543 yards and four touchdowns. That makes it hard for any team to win when giving up those type of numbers. Eskimos defensive backs Deion Belue and Cord Parks were roasted for a 71-yard touchdown – on second and 26 – midway through the third quarter, that stings.

Calgary Stampeders: The Stamps blocked three punts and lost Dave Dickenson’s head coaching debut. Missed opportunities will have Calgary smarting after dropping their season-opener, but expect Dickenson and Co. to get that corrected. The Stamps will be revving at full horsepower when Winnipeg comes to Cowtown.

Saskatchewan Roughriders: No football was played by the green Riders who were on their bye week, but the personnel and coaching staffs were hard at work. Saskatchewan continues to retool the roster with quarterbacks Bryant Moniz and G.J. Kinne brought in. Moniz has the most CFL experience of any Riders’ QB not named Darian Durant. That’s why the team has discussed the possibility of trading for James Franklin.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers: The defence and special teams units played well enough to keep the blue and gold in the game for a while, but the offence couldn’t do its part. Drew Willy didn’t go over 100 yards passing until the fourth quarter. Yes, Paul LaPolice’s offence is new to No. 5, but he needs to prove he can be an elite CFL passer if Winnipeg wants to legitimately be talking about playoffs.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats: Watching Simoni Lawrence flying around and making plays against Toronto was highly entertaining. It’s like he’s got a magnet for the football. Simmy Hov’s stat-stuffing line: seven tackles, two sacks, one fumble recovery and an interception returned for a touchdown.



Toronto Argonauts: If the Argos are going to live up to the hype surrounding BMO Field the offensive line must play a lot better than against the rival Ticats. Quarterback Ricky Ray was moved off his spot, hit or sacked on every possession except for an extended drive in the third quarter.

Ottawa Redblacks: Rick Campbell’s squad started nine Canadians: three offensive linemen, three defensive linemen, two receivers and one linebacker – and won the game. If a national player or two happened to suffer an injury, Ottawa’s lineup would not have to change. And it’s more proof how well players from our country can compete. Just because they’re Canadian doesn’t mean they can’t play at a high level.


Montreal Alouettes: As John Bowman racked up seven tackles and two sacks the two-game benching of the veteran defensive end last season came to mind. Since then No. 7 has been on a tear. The 33-year-old continues to produce even though at the time when he was kept off the field some wondered whether that was the end of his career.