Insider Talk: Elks trade Beard, Riders waste challenge, Gittens keeps improving

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Insider Talk is a bi-weekly staple on 3DownNation that includes anonymous quotes from people around the CFL — players, coaches, personnel people, executives, agents, etc. — regarding the latest news around the league. It’s a combination of insight, analysis, rumours, and friendly gossip.

This week’s Insider Talk is full of discussion regarding Edmonton’s decision to trade David Beard, Saskatchewan’s challenge in the Labour Day Classic, Calgary’s emerging pass-rusher, Hamilton’s continued struggles, and the possibility of the Calgary Stampeders adding a familiar face for a potential playoff push.

Enjoy this week’s quotes and come back in two weeks for another edition of Insider Talk.

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The only explanation for the David Beard trade I can think of is that Edmonton needed to clear some cap space. They really don’t have a hard cap guy. This certainly wasn’t a football trade. You don’t give away a guy like that unless you’re getting something really good back — preferably a quarterback or at least a first-round pick.

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That challenge (by Saskatchewan on Shaq Evans’ offensive pass interference penalty in the Labour Day Classic) was awful. I don’t know who they have in the booth (helping decide what to challenge) but if I were Craig Dickenson I’d have been furious after the game. There’s no way that penalty was getting overturned. You can’t waste your challenge in a big game like that.

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(Calgary Stampeders’ defensive lineman) Folarin Orimolade’s bull rush is next level. He’s one of the most underrated pass-rushers in our league for sure.

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Kurleigh Gittens Jr. isn’t just Toronto’s best Canadian receiver, I think he’s their best receiver of any of them. A lot of U Sports guys coming out of the draft seem to struggle to adjust to the speed of the CFL but not him. Everything he did at (Wilfrid) Laurier, he’s doing now as a pro. That’s rare and impressive.

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Hamilton’s not great along the offensive line, they can’t run the ball, and they let their best receiver (Jaelon Acklin) sign with Ottawa, so I’m not surprised their offence is struggling regardless of who’s under centre. Add in the fact that their defence isn’t generating takeaways and you get a team with a lousy record.

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I liked that article grading the trades Chris Jones has made (as the head coach and general manager) in Edmonton. My only criticism is that the grades were too high.

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I still think we’re going to see (Canadian offensive lineman) Brett Jones sign with Calgary for a playoff run in late October or maybe early November. He’s still tight with the guys in that organization and could make a huge impact at centre or guard. He’d be able to make some good money in a relatively short period of time and still be able to try the NFL again after Grey Cup if he wanted.

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I don’t understand the obsession some personnel guys have with players who get hurt literally every year. Injuries can happen to anyone – I get that – but there are guys who never play more than eight or ten games per year and they keep getting signed into their mid-late thirties. It’s called scouting. Find someone young and healthy who can compete.

John Hodge is a CFL insider and draft analyst who has been covering the league since 2014.