Defence is king as offences still try to find footing
Offence is still MIA in the CFL after last weekend, but many of the games could be used as a non-narcotic cure for insomnia. In fact, CFL fans may the run the risk of a full-on coma if they watch too many games like the ones showcased in the early 2014 season.
Quarterbacks are getting massacred behind sub-par O-lines on several teams and the trend has made them pretty nervous in pass situations. Defence is king right now in the league and many teams have brought plenty of heat from every angle, including interior guys, linebackers, secondary guys, and probably even angry water boys in some schemes.
Nevertheless, I still believe the offences in the CFL will sort out their misery before Labor Day. This week kicks off with a matchup between Winnipeg and Hamilton in the league’s smallest stadium because the new Tiger-Cat facility is behind schedule. The new stadium is now expected to be completed just in time for a Maple Leaf Stanley Cup celebration.
Winnipeg shocked me last week in B.C. with a convincing win over the Lions. The Bomber defence imposed its will on the B.C. offence and forced Lion quarterback Kevin Glenn to make very bad decisions along the way. B.C. tailback Andrew Harris also crashed down to earth in the game because Winnipeg stuffed the run.
Hamilton won handily against the RedBlacks, largely due to an incredible game by backup quarterback Dan Lefevour who ran for 109 yards and passed for 361 yards. Lightning will not strike twice and Winnipeg will be too much for the ‘Cats to handle in this game, particularly if Bomber quarterback Drew Willy can locate his missing touchdown mojo.
Toronto visits Montreal in the early Friday night game and both teams are reeling thus far in 2014. The Alouettes have enjoyed a week’s summer holiday and will meet an Argo squad fresh off a beating in Regina.
The game should favor the Als under these circumstances except for one minor point: Anthony Calvillo is no longer their quarterback and has been replaced by one of the worst CFL starters since Michael Bishop inexplicably built a career in the league. Montreal’s Troy Smith is a brutal quarterback and will never be a star in this league, despite the apologists and cheerleaders on the TSN broadcast crew.
Pull Smith and Montreal has a chance to win the game. Leave him in the game and even a slumping, shell-shocked Ricky Ray will win the game for the Argos. Ricky Ray will eventually come out of his slump, but Troy Smith should interview for his life-after-football job very soon.
B.C. visits Calgary in the late Friday game and I doubt whether ex-Stamp quarterback Kevin Glenn will exact his revenge on his former team in this game. Calgary’s defence has owned their opponents early in the 2014 and will plan a pretty miserable homecoming party for Glenn.
New Calgary starting quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell has been terrible this year and was very lucky last week when Edmonton’s defence missed four golden interception opportunities against him. However, he has an opportunity to set a record of eight wins and no losses in his career as a starter and Mitchell should set that bar in this game. He should thank his defence for this record because Mitchell has only been along for the ride thus far in 2014.
The last game of the weekend features Saskatchewan at Ottawa and I expect the Riders will win this one for the same reasons as Calgary: pressure defence. Rider quarterback Darian Durant has also been just along for the ride this season because Saskatchewan has relied upon its run game and defence to win games.
Durant and Mitchell will have better future games this season, but right now neither has done even close to enough to reignite offence in the CFL, and they both have good O-lines in front of them. See you next week.