3DownNation CFL awards: the best and worst of Week 4

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

The fourth week of the 2023 CFL regular season came to a close following a rare Monday night matchup at BMO Field in Toronto.

There were only three games on the docket this past week, making the ballot for this week’s awards a little shorter than most. Even so, there was lots of action to dissect with plenty of players deserving recognition for their efforts.

These awards are selected by a panel of 3DownNation contributors and will be presented weekly throughout the 2023 season. Enjoy.

Offensive player of the week: RB De’Montre Tuggle, Ottawa Redblacks

The five-foot-ten, 200-pound ball-carrier helped lead the Redblacks to their first win of the season, recording 17 carries for 126 yards and one touchdown. Ottawa’s offence has generally lacked a focal point and Tuggle gave them one against Edmonton. Though the club will likely become more pass-focused when Jeremiah Masoli eventually returns from injury, Tuggle appears to have added some versatility to the attack.

Honourable mention: REC Kaion Julien-Grant, Montreal Alouettes

Defensive player of the week: DB Robertson Daniel, Toronto Argonauts

The veteran cover man was dominant from his spot at boundary halfback as he recorded four tackles and intercepted Vernon Adams Jr. three times, returning one for a touchdown. Daniel also came close to yet another interception late in the second quarter when he broke on a ball intended for Dominique Rhymes, though he ended up batting it into the open arms of linebacker Jonathan Jones.

Honourable mention: DL Willie Jefferson, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Photo: Matt Johnson/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Special teams player of the week: KR Javon Leake, Toronto Argonauts

The second-year running back broke a 91-yard punt return for a touchdown late in the first quarter after getting strong initial blocks from Qwan’tez Stiggers and Dejon Brissett and another key block from Trevor Hoyte. The big play opened the scoring for the Argos and sparked a run that saw the club put up 24 points by halftime against a B.C. Lions team that had allowed only 21 points through the first three games of the season.

Honourable mention: LB Tyrice Beverette, Montreal Alouettes

Breakout player of the week: RB De’Montre Tuggle, Ottawa Redblacks

The 24-year-old has only dressed for two career CFL games and yet he’s rushed for 146 yards, ranking him seventh league-wide. He has been a nice addition to the Redblacks following brief stints in the NFL and XFL following a solid collegiate career split between Kilgore College and Ohio University.

Honourable mention: LB Jonathan Jones, Toronto Argonauts

Offensive line of the week: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The veteran crew bounced back from a miserable outing against the B.C. Lions to own the line of scrimmage at a rain-soaked Percival Molson Stadium. Winnipeg had 184 yards along the ground and Zach Collaros often had a clean pocket from which to operate. The unit allowed one late sack to Nick Usher, though the Alouettes were able to generate little pressure overall.

Honourable mention: Ottawa Redblacks

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Coach of the week: OC Khari Jones, Ottawa Redblacks

The 52-year-old designed the perfect game plan for young quarterback Tyrie Adams, who made his first career CFL start under the weight of a 13-game home losing streak. Ottawa’s offence put up 26 points, 18 first downs, and 375 yards of net offence while committing zero turnovers, which was more than enough to get the club’s first win of the season.

Honourable mention: DC Richie Hall, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Best play of the week: QB Vernon Adams, B.C. Lions

For those who claim the level of quarterbacking in the CFL has declined in recent years, Vernon Adams Jr.’s first dot to Dominique Rhymes was world-class. The veteran receiver came open on a deep corner route and Adams placed the ball perfectly with high velocity and low trajectory to ensure Rhymes could bring it down before running out of bounds.

Honourable mention: Marco Dubois’ 54-yard touchdown catch and run

Worst play of the week: QB Vernon Adams, B.C. Lions

The veteran quarterback threw six interceptions on Monday, a few of which received consideration for this spot. The worst of them came late in the third quarter after he stared down his read and threw it directly into the hands of Roberston Daniel. The turnover also took place on first down deep in Toronto territory with the score still relatively close, so there was no reason to force a dangerous throw.

Honourable mention: Winnipeg’s muffed field goal attempt

Best game of the week: B.C. Lions at Toronto Argonauts

If you didn’t find this game wildly entertaining then you should probably just stop watching football. This contest had 69 points, 44 first downs, 742 yards of net offence, seven turnovers, a punt return touchdown, a pick-six, and a brawl. How do you beat that? It’s rare for the CFL to play on Monday nights but this contest was so entertaining, maybe there’s an argument for having the league do so more often.

Honourable mention: Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Montreal Alouettes

Worst game of the week: Edmonton Elks at Ottawa Redblacks

Jarret Doege’s debut as the new starting quarterback in Edmonton was a complete dud as he threw three interceptions and didn’t generate any points until late in the third quarter. This game wasn’t awful but there were far too many mistakes and far too few big plays, which is understandable given it featured two quarterbacks making their first career starts.

Honourable mention: Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Montreal Alouettes