CFL Race To MOP: Issue Two

Jonathan HamelinCorrespondent IAugust 18, 2009

TORONTO - NOVEMBER 25:  James Johnson #19 of the Saskatchewan Rough Riders jumps over a fallen Ryan Dinwiddie #4 after his interception to score a touchdown to tie the game 7-7 against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the second quarter of the 95th Grey Cup on November 25, 2007 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  Johnson would be the MVP in a 23-19 Rough Rider win.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

We’ve all heard a star player say, “It’s not about me, it’s all about the team.” This is all good and well, but who doesn’t strive to be the best? Whether it is the best at knitting, ballroom dancing, or fantasy football, there is the drive in everyone to become the best.

In the Canadian Football League, the Most Outstanding Player award is the most prestigious award a player can win. Race to MOP will evaluate the top players in the league and look at who is winning the race to be named the next Most Outstanding Player. It will also take a look at who is the top contenders who the other awards.

Since the first issue of: CFL Race to Most Outstanding Player, things haven’t really changed in the Canadian Football League. The Montreal Alouettes are still the top dogs in the league, whereas the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Toronto Argonauts are bringin up the rear.. After that, it is still really a mystery.


Some players on the other hand, have been stepping up since the last issue. My pick to win the award, Paris Jackson, got off to a slow start this season. After a couple of good games, he is now second in receiving yardage. The rookie Martel Mallett of the BC Lions is making a name for himself as well. He is currently third in rushing yardage.


Let’s take a closer look at how is winning the race so far to be named the CFL Most Outstanding Player.



1) Anthony Calvillo: Quarterback for the Montreal Alouettes


Calvillo is making a strong case to repeat as the Most Outstanding Player this season. Despite a loss to the Eskimos earlier, the Alouettes still sit comfortably atop the standings at 6-1. They hold a two game lead over the Hamilton Tiger Cats in the East. Cavillo leads the league in passing yardage with 2160, is tied for the lead in touchdowns with 11, and has the best passer rating among starting quarterbacks at 108.0. Under the guidance of head coach Marc Trestman, Calvillo has been leading an effective Alouette offence to a lot of points.



2) Fred Reid: Running back for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers


The Blue Bombers may be in a funk this season, but Fred Reid certainly isn’t. Taking over from the legendary Charles Roberts this season, Reid has already rushed 535 yards through seven weeks and has three touchdowns. His average of 6.0 is also very impressive. Currently leading the league in rushing, Fred Reid has played a crucial role in any success the Bombers have this season. Recently, he rushed for 176 yards against the Calgary Stampeders.



3) Kerry Watkins: Receiver for the Montreal Aloeuttes


You could really insert any of the Alouettes’ offensive stars here, as they have all been having career years. Watkins however has been one of Montreal’s most dominant receivers. Watkins leads the league in receiving with 577 yards and 4 touchdowns. Being a potent deep threat, Watkins has averaged 16.0 yards a catch so far with a 71 yard catch already. Watkins has been a favourite target of quarterback Anthony Calvillo.


Honourable Mentions


Avon Cobourne: The talented Montreal Alouettes’ running back is definitely right up there in the race to be named the Most Outstanding Player. Cobourne is currently second in rushing yardage with 534 yards. He also has seven touchdowns.


Henry Burris: Much like the Stampeders, Henry Burris got off to a slow start this season. He has since rebounded and has already thrown for 2064 yards and 11 touchdowns.


Stevie Baggs: Baggs has been flying around the field all year. Baggs is tied for second with 5 sacks and also has an interception. Stevie Baggs has also been the heart and soul of the Riders defence, often making tackles twenty yards down field.


Paris Jackson: With Geroy Simon struggling somewhat, Paris Jackson has picked up the slack. Jackson moved into the important slot back position this year to replace Jason Clermont, and has 540 yards receiving with 5 touchdowns.


The Other Awards


Outstanding Defensive Player: Stevie Baggs (Defensive end for the Saskatchewan Roughriders)


Baggs has been flying around the field all year. Baggs is tied for second with five sacks and also has an interception. Stevie Baggs has also been the heart and soul of the Riders defence, often making tackles twenty yards down field.



Outstanding Canadian: Paris Jackson (Slot back for the BC Lions)


Paris Jackson has taken over Jason Clermont’s open spot quite nicely this season. He has 540 yards and five touchdowns on the season.



Outstanding Offensive Lineman: Bryan Chiu (Center for the Montreal Alouettes)


You could almost pick any Alouettes offensive lineman to win this award as they have all been excellent. Chiu however has been a solid leader on the offensive line and has provided great protection for Anthony Calvillo.



Outstanding Rookie: Martell Mallet (Running back for the BC Lions)


Mallett is currently the thid leading rusher in the Canadian Football League. He has rushed for 492 yards and two touchdowns this season and filled in nicely for the departed Stefan Logan.



Outstanding Special Teams Player: Tristan Jackson (Returner for the Edmonton Eskimos)


Tristan Jackson has been lighting it up in the return game this year. The talented returner is leading the league in punt returns and already has one touchdown.


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