Nine thoughts on nine teams after a highly entertaining week of professional three-down football.
B.C. Lions: Wally Buono’s Leos played well enough on defence and special teams to be 3-0. Jonathon Jennings needs to raise his production level. Travis Lulay has embraced the mentor roll, but the 32-year-old is pushing the youngster and he’s got the fire to lead a team.
Edmonton Eskimos: Beat writer Gerry Moddejonge reported ‘All or nothing’: The untold story behind the exit of Chris Jones’ coaching staff. It was a revealing look at what happened to the Grey Cup-winning coaches and how Edmonton refused to pay the final two weeks of their salaries stipulated within each contract. Ed Hervey’s new group of coaches beats Jones’ Riders in the first meeting of what will be a heated rivalry between the two men for years to come.
Calgary Stampeders: Bakari Grant is 29 years old. The way some pundits talk about him you might think he’s an older veteran playing out the final string of his career. The rangy receiver made an instant impact when inserted into Calgary’s starting lineup in Week 3 with five receptions for 89 yards. Grant found soft spots and chewed up yards after the catch. And it’s clear Bo Levi Mitchell already trusts the six-foot-four target.
Saskatchewan Roughriders: On the positive side Chris Jones and the Riders have been ultra competitive in two games. But short yardage mistakes have cost the team possible victories and Bryant Moniz his job. It’s not hard to imagine Saskatchewan being 2-0 – if they could’ve executed in short yardage situations.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers: Winning the time of possession battle equaled a victory for the blue and gold. The defence wasn’t left on the field for almost three quarters of the game and it meant that unit was fresh to fly around the field and disrupt the opposing offence. That Bombers ‘D’ had the energy required to force a Jeremiah Masoli fumble in the dying seconds with Hamilton driving for a possible ‘W’.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats: 10 turnovers over a two-game span has the Ticats on a losing skid. Six fumbles lost and four interceptions thrown means Kent Austin will likely be preaching ball security. Most of that directed at quarterback Jeremiah Masoli who has committed seven of those costly errors.
Toronto Argonauts: For the second game in a row, and subsequently second straight time Toronto started nine Canadians, the Argos earned a victory with all that national talent playing prominent roles. Safety Matt Black led the defence with six tackles. While a largely Cancuck offensive line kept the pocket clean and paved the way for a strong running game on the Left coast.
Ottawa Redblacks: Running back Nic Grigsby parachuted in and started for Ottawa with less than a week’s time in the offence. The 27-year-old turned in a productive performance and looks like he could be a long-term fit, if he can stay healthy.
Montreal Alouettes: S.J. Green is out for the season and Kenny Stafford is on the six-game injured list with a broken toe, which leaves some opportunity in the Montreal receiving corps. Corbin Louks made a strong impression on Als player personnel men during training camp, so keep an eye on the Nevada product.