Nine thoughts on nine teams after a drama-filled week in the CFL.
B.C. Lions: Jonathon Jennings ability to elude defensive players running free at him was a major factor in B.C.’s 45-38 victory against Hamilton. The 24-year-old pivot escaped a number of would-be sacks by reacting with natural athleticism and vision to either throw the ball downfield or take off for rushing yards. It was an impressive display of poise while facing a high-pressure defence.
Edmonton Eskimos: New weakside linebacker Deon Lacey really seems to be settling into his new role as a starter for the Esks ‘D’. After making a strong reputation as a special teams demon, Edmonton’s first-year full-time starter has been around the football a lot. He leads the Eskimos with 44 tackles and notched his first career touchdown on a pick-six to seal a crucial Edmonton victory.
Calgary Stampeders: Charleston Hughes snapped a three-game sackless streak by getting to Darian Durant on three occasions at Mosaic Stadium. Six of Hughes’ 10 sacks last season came in two separate games where he took down the opposing quarterback three times. The savvy veteran Stamp Machine has now registered six career three-sack efforts.
Saskatchewan Roughriders: Rookie kicker Quinn van Gylswyk displayed a strong leg, but his CFL debut was bumpy. He missed the first three-point try of his career wide right, nailed a 54-yarder and rang a 40-yard attempt off the upright. Those six missed points proved costly in a tight game against the top team in the West Division. van Gylswyk’s mental toughness will be tested coming off a disappointing outing when he travels to the wind tunnel that is Tim Hortons Field in Week 9.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers: Winnipeg is flying high on a three-game winning streak for the first time since 2014. Possibly the most important statistical advantage the Bombers have put in their favour in those three games: turnovers. The blue and gold have turned in lopsided takeaway-giveaway numbers over the three-game stretch: 13-2. (Eskimos 1-0, one interception, Ticats 6-0, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one turnover on downs, Argos 6-2, five interceptions and one fumble recovery.) If Mike O’Shea’s team continues to take care of the football the string of wins could continue to roll in.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats: Imagine if Zach Collaros had a receiver with 4.2-second 40-yard speed? Eight years ago American sprinter Justin Gatlin – 2004 100 metre Olympic gold medalist at 9.85-seconds – tried out for the Ticats, former CFL and current Browns pass catcher Andrew Hawkins revealed on Twitter.
FunFact: Me & Justin Gatlin tried out together for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (CFL) in 2008 ????. He ran a 4.25 on grass in sneakers in the 40.
— Andrew Hawkins (@Hawk) August 15, 2016
Toronto Argonauts: Eight interceptions, tied for most in the CFL, in just over two full games of action will likely mean Logan Kilgore is on a short leash as Toronto’s starter while Ricky Ray gets healthy. Rookie quarterback Cody Fajardo got some reps late in the loss to Winnipeg. Veterans Adrian McPherson and Dan LeFevour are available too.
Ottawa Redblacks: Every East Division team lost while Ottawa was on a bye week. That made it even more enjoyable for the red and black.
Montreal Alouettes: Anthony Calvillo’s offence has managed 130 points, the lowest total league-wide. Only one team has allowed fewer points than Noel Thorpe’s defence (Calgary). The Als ‘D’ has kept them in games for long periods of time. First and foremost, Montreal’s offensive line needs to protect Kevin Glenn better, the group has allowed 21 sacks, tied for second-most in the CFL.