Another CFL season has gone to the great football schedule in the sky. The 2010 CFL season will be remembered for many reasons, including the continuity of the Alouette dynasty in the 21st century.
The biggest mystery of the 2010 season had to be the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. They lost many games by margins closer than the range of hand grenade and radioactive explosions. The Bombers began the season with Buck Pierce at quarterback. They ended the season with a fourth-string quarterback who probably couldn’t spell Winnipeg back in July.
Buck Pierce is an amazing quarterback when he is not resting comfortably in an orthopedic ward during the football season. Therein lies the problem, and it would be unrealistic to expect Pierce to play an entire football season. Currently the Bomber quarterback job belongs to Stephen Jyles — after he recovers from injury.
I expect that the Bombers will be a powerhouse in 2011. They have an enormous array of talent on both sides of the ball and will benefit from a healthy Buck Pierce (unlikely) or a seasoned Stephen Jyles (likely). The x-factor may be the fourth-string kid (Joey Elliott) who played out the season because he was the only upright quarterback in the final games.
The non-surprise of the season was the continued success of the Montreal Alouettes. The Als are a force in this league, and will continue to be a dominant team if legendary quarterback Anthony Calvillo remains healthy enough to return in 2011. They are a very well-coached team that make few mistakes on the field.
The Edmonton Eskimos will be back in 2011. General manager Eric Tillman has already begun to leave his fingerprints on the team. He will pick the right head coach and tinker with his Canadian roster very quickly as he assembles a potential Grey Cup team in a hurry.
There is a very good reason that B.C. Lions head coach/ general manager Wally Buono wants to continue to wear two hats in 2011.
First, he has an excellent quarterback in Travis Lulay. The kid is big, smart, talented and mobile. Wally is no fool, and the prospect of Lulay as his starter in 2011 was like catnip for Wally and the Lions.
Secondly, B.C. will host the 2011 Grey Cup in a very upscale stadium and Wally has a realistic chance to be the home team, even if Montreal whines about the home-team favoritism concept again next year.
Toronto will be a better team in 2011 because of a little housekeeping task. They will sweep out the short-lived Cleo Lemon quarterback era and bring in a competent pivot. It is a simple decision that should have been made during the 2010 training camp.
Calgary and Saskatchewan both run the risk of serious heat for top spot from B.C. and Edmonton in 2010. A lot depends on off-season moves by these teams, but both have to make some changes to remain in the game for 2011.
Hamilton is a mystery to me, even after the end of the current season. They have a solid defense and a suspect offense with journeyman quarterback Kevin Glenn as their starter. Off-season moves by the ‘Cats will determine the ferocity of their bite in 2011.
That’s a wrap on the 2010 CFL. I can hardly wait for 2011.
Jim Sutherland is a local freelance writer whose columns appear on Tuesdays and Fridays. He can be reached at mystarcollectorcar.com