Bombers move to West will not help them in the standings

The CFL West appears to be the alpha male division in the very early stages of the 2014 season, if the opening weekend results are an accurate measurement. One game is not an accurate measurement, but why should fear and common sense kick into the equation for my CFL West forecast?

The CFL West appears to be the alpha male division in the very early stages of the 2014 season, if the opening weekend results are an accurate measurement.

One game is not an accurate measurement, but why should fear and common sense kick into the equation for my CFL West forecast?

I liked what I saw from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in their opener against the Argos last week, but not enough to keep them out of the CFL West basement. Drew Willy looked good against a powder-puff Argo defence and gives legitimate hope to the beleaguered Bomber fan base. The ‘Peg defence also looked good with the return of premier rush end Jason Vega.

However, I am not sold on the Bombers in a tough West Division. They are razor thin on Canadian talent and cannot afford to have any Canuck starters suffer even a hangnail in a tough 18-game season. Winnipeg will not soar with the eagles in their new division, but they will be a better team with Willy pulling the trigger and assistant coach Bob Wiley’s effect on the offensive line.

The Edmonton Eskimos will also be a better team this year and upset the Lions in their first game last week because they won the turnover battle by a 5-1 score. I am not sure whether political correctness will force me to call them the Edmonton Inuit by the end of the 2014 season, but I am more certain the Eskimos are a fourth-place team in the West.

The biggest issue is still the Eskie O-line and the big question is whether they will prolong or shorten the life of Edmonton quarterback Mike Reilly. He took another pounding in the B.C. game and quarterbacks who receive this kind of punishment eventually pay a big price.

I liked what I saw from the Edmonton receivers and defence; just not enough to compensate for the quarterback protection problems.

Something magical has happened for the host Grey Cup cities because the home town boys have won the championship in front of a home town crowd for the past three seasons. That streak began in 2011 with B.C. and will end this year with the Lions because they are not good enough to make it four host cities in a row.

The injury to Lion quarterback Travis Lulay is a potential career-ender and his absence forced B.C. to acquire well-traveled veteran pivot Kevin Glenn to take the reins this year.

Glenn has talent, but he has bounced around the league and acquired a choker label over the years with his sketchy playoff record. Glenn looked shaky against the Eskimos last week and I wonder how well the B.C. O-line will protect him this season by comparison to Glenn’s former Calgary O-line last year. My answer is only well enough for third place in the CFL West.

Calgary lost Glenn in the expansion draft because they have enough faith in young gun Bo Levi Mitchell to leave Glenn exposed to the RedBlacks. Calgary’s other quarterback Drew Tate was not taken in the draft and has assumed a backup job to Mitchell with the Stamps.

Neither quarterback looked particularly impressive in pre-season, but Mitchell racked up over 300 years and two TD passes against an awful Montreal team in the Stamps season opener.

I have always believed Mitchell is a future star in this league, but he is not yet good enough to put the Stampeders back in their familiar place atop the West Division.

The 2014 season will be an opportunity for Mitchell to learn what it takes to be a starter in the CFL and very few quarterbacks can learn it all in one season. The Stamps are a very good football team with essentially a rookie starter, given Mitchell’s brief resume as a starting quarterback. Second place is more realistic for the Stamps in 2014.

That leaves first place for Saskatchewan this year. I believe the Riders are even better on defence and retain the best 0-line in the league. Quarterback Darian Durant appears to have more confidence after a Grey Cup victory and the team will have to totally rely on him with the departure of Drew Willy and the uncertainty of a qualified Rider backup this year.

Last year I would have replaced Durant with Willy in a heartbeat when Durant went cold for several games, but that is not an option this year. However, there is enough talent around him for first place in the West.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Public Schools says that in the absence of additional funds from the provincial government, there was no consideration of using alternate classroom sites in the district. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools launches online engagement process

Red Deer Public schools is seeking community input to help ensure a… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels defenceman Mason Ward battles with a Medicine Hat Tigers’ forward during the WHL Central Division season opener. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers come back to spoil Red Deer Rebels home opener

It’s been nearly 345 days since the Red Deer Rebels last played… Continue reading

Students walk into Hunting Hills High School, which is one of the Red Deer Public Schools with solar panels on its roof. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)
Red Deer high school was placed in lockdown following potential threat

Hunting Hills High School was placed in a lockdown Friday after Red… Continue reading

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer says some details of the provincial government’s 2021-22 budget need to be ‘sorted out’ when it comes to the hospital expansion funding. (File photo by Advocate staff)
More detail needed regarding hospital funding, says Red Deer mayor

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer says some information is unclear regarding the… Continue reading

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Thorough sanding of a table top is usually the first step to renewing a finish. Wax contaminants can sometimes still remain on a surface like this after sanding. Cleaning with rubbing alcohol and a rag gets rid of these contaminants without leaving a residue behind. (Photo by Steve Maxwell)
Houseworks: Fixing wood finishes

Q: How can I stop polyurethane from beading up on a mahogany… Continue reading

Need a knife? There are knives of all shapes and sizes at The Kitchen Store.
Hints from Heloise: Finding a good set of kitchen knives

Dear Readers: A good set of knives in the kitchen is a… Continue reading

Runner Melissa Bishop-Nriagu speaks to the media at the opening news conference at the Canadian Track and Field Championships Thursday, July 25, 2019 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canadian athletes struggling to find competition as they try to qualify for Tokyo

Canadian athletes struggling to find competition as they try to qualify for Tokyo

New York Red Bulls midfielder Jared Stroud, right, vies for the ball against Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio during an MLS soccer match in Harrison, NJ., Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. Entering his ninth season with Toronto FC, Jonathan Osorio said his off-season regimen was no different than in the past. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
Veteran TFC midfielder Jonathan Osorio looks to take it to the next level this season

Veteran TFC midfielder Jonathan Osorio looks to take it to the next level this season

Powell, Lowry help depleted Raptors beat Rockets

Powell, Lowry help depleted Raptors beat Rockets

Edmonton Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen (19) makes the save on Toronto Maple Leafs' Zach Hyman (11) as Tyson Barrie (22) defends during third period NHL action in Edmonton, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. Toronto continues to lead the North Division standings, but hard-charging Edmonton is now just four points back on the all-Canadian circuit heading into a three-game series between the teams in Alberta's capital beginning Saturday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Maple Leafs, Oilers set for key three-game series atop North Division

Maple Leafs, Oilers set for key three-game series atop North Division

Angela James stands on centre ice in front of the Toronto Maple Leafs team after being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame before Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres NHL hockey action in Toronto on Saturday November 6, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Hall of Famers James, Lowe, Hay named to Order of Hockey in Canada

Hall of Famers James, Lowe, Hay named to Order of Hockey in Canada

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse talks to center Aron Baynes (46) and guard Norman Powell (24) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris O'Meara
Nurse, five Raptors assistants sidelined to due COVID-19 health and safety protocols

Nurse, five Raptors assistants sidelined to due COVID-19 health and safety protocols

Most Read