CFL Month In Review: July 2009
Well July is over and that means many things in the Canadian sports world, the Jays are officially out of playoff contention, the MLB trade deadline is over, and hockey news shifts from one half of SportsCenter to three quarters of it and more importantly the first month of the CFL season is over
The first month of the CFL season this year brought us many storylines, from Graham Harrell signing with the Roughriders, The Arland Bruce saga, and the apparent two horse race to a Grey Cup matchup the first month has been an interesting one.
The Roughriders jumped off to a hot 2-0 start and it looked like the talks of the Riders finishing last in the West were a bit premature. Then the old demons of last season re-appeared as turnovers began to plague the Riders frustrating the fans and creating a quarterback controversy in the Queen City.
The turnovers caused the Riders their first loss to Montreal, a second half blowout. Then were the culprit for a loss to the Eskimos in week four as the wheels falled off in the second half and the Eskimos got a character win in the CFL's most unfriendly confines.
If the Riders want to get back to the top of the West they need to start protecting the ball and improving the offensive line and quarterbacking play. This will be solved over time as the line needs to get healthier.
The quarterback situation remains a mystery as Darian Durant can win football games but has looked shaky to put it nicely. If the Riders want to win they need to take a serious look at throwing Graham Harrell into the fire sooner.
The Roughriders kick off August with a tilt against the defending champion Stampeders at Calagary.
The 1-3 Lions are continuing the theme of quarterback controversy in the CFL as the battle between Jarius Jackson and Buck Pierce is heating up.
The Lions have looked like a team that is a couple of plays away from winning, or losing, every game they play in this year and it may just be the drama between Pierce and Jackson that will be the difference between this season being an usual success or a rare dissapointment in British Colombia.
The Lions start out August With a home game against Saskatchewan in Week Six.
The story of Edmonton's season has definitley been at the running back, particulary with running back Jesse Lumsden getting injured once again, proving the doubters right when it comes to his durability.
After an embarassing defeats against BC and Montreal where the absence of Lumsden appeared to be a factor the eskimos bounced back in a big way coming from behind against saskatchewan on the road and ended the Alouettes undefeated record at 4-0 getting revenge for the crushing Week Two blowout.
The Eskimos appear to be back on track and could unseat their in province rivals from Calgary as the favorites in the Wild Western Conference.
Edmonton kicks off August in Hamilton on August 8 in Ivor Wynne Stadium.
The Stampeders are another Western Conference team that faltered at the beginning of the season only to bounce back later on in the month.
After a loss in a Grey Cup rematch to Montreal and a shocking loss to Winnipeg, the Stampeders finally got their offence clicking and are back to being the dominant offensive force that won them the Grey Cup last year.
Calgary has it all, great quarterbacking play from Henry Burris, hreat receiving corps led by Jermaine Copeland and a solid defense Calgary has the perfect tools for a repeat in Cow Town.
The Stampeders kick off August at home against Saksatchewan it what is always a wild game.
As usual there is turmoil in Toronto and surprisingly they have been able to win in the midst of it thanks to a weak slate and good defensive play the Argonauts sit a game out of first place with a game at hand to the Als.
The problems started in Week One during the CFL's opening game on Canada Day, Arland Bruce decided to honor Michael Jackson by stripping out of his jersey and shoulder pads and pretending to be buried in the endzone. Debate how much respect is in that, but it caused the talented receiver a fine and perhaps a ticket out of Toronto as he basically burned every bridge after that.
He called out the coach, Kerry Joseph he basically read Terrell Owens tell all book about the situatrion with the Eagles and followed it page by page. This earned him a trade to the rival Hamilton Tiger Cats, whcih should get very interesting.
The question is can the Boatmen continue winning once the competition gets tougher? I don't think so, but they should make the playoffs this year and avoid the embarrassment they suffered last year.
The Argos kick off August in Winnipeg on the back end of a home and home August 1st.
Nothing really to report here other than that it is business as usual in Montreal as Anthony Calvillo is once again leading the Allouttes to another dominant run throughout the Eastern Conference starting the race to avenge their Grey Cup loss at home to Calgary last year.
It seems to be a foregone conclusion that Montreal will win the much weaker Eastern Conference convincingly and they have been beating their Western opponents as well this year so it looks like it might be another run at a Grey Cup ring for the mexican gun slinger and his Als.
Montreal kicks off August at home against Toronto on August 7th in what will be Toronto's first test of the year.
Hamilton is the surprise team of the year as the usual East doormat has rallied around the defence and the rushing of DeAndra' Cobb the pre-season sensation who is making waves throughout the league and is the breakout player of the year so far.
The Tiger Cats are making the East interesting and may reverse the balance of power between the East and West this year. The more Quinton Porter develops the better they get and the Ti Cats are getting better game by game so they may just be serious contenders come October.
The Ticats kick off August against Edmonton on August 8
It turns out as letting coach Mike Kelly clean house this offseason wasn't such a good idea.
His pick at quarterback Stefan LeFors has been an absolute bust and his decision to release Kevin Glenn and former Boise State standout Ryan Dinwiddie left them without a safety net forcing them to bring in Michael Bishops who was coming off his worst year as a pro.
The Bombers are basically the team off the horrible movie with Keanu Reeves a band of misfits just happy to be able to win games, and unlike the movie the games are real as in real hard for the Bombers to win.
The Bombers are my pick to "bomb" and miss out on the postseason as they have absolutley no evidence to prove that they can turn it around.
They kick off August at home against Toronto August 1st.
That is your recap of the first month of the CFL, come back again next month. stay Classy Canada
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