CFL: Winnipeg Leads the East; Edmonton Undefeated; Trouble Continues in BC

Dorian McLeanContributor IIIJuly 31, 2011

The fifth week of the Canadian Football League has ended and the B.C. Lions are still winless after losing 25-20 to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Following Saskatchewan’s loss Saturday night to the Calgary Stampeders 22-18, the Roughriders are still winless at home.

It should also be noted that the league lost a very special man following the passing of defensive line and assistant head coach in Winnipeg, Richard Harris, at age of 63. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers stepped up 48 hours later in an emotional game and gave Harris a send-off with another win.

The Good

It should be noted that this is a very special league that holds itself at a high standard and prides itself with great players and coaching staff. As everyone knows, Coach Richard Harris passed away Tuesday afternoon and it didn’t take long before the entire league gave notice and shared their thoughts of this special man. His loss will not be easily replaced and his team will do all they can to honour him the best they can.

At the same time, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers win over the B.C. Lions Thursday night, gave them their fourth win of the season, matching their win total from just a season ago. Head Coach Paul LaPolice has done a tremendous job over the off-season in making sure his team was ready for the 2011 campaign and so far has paid off.

The Eastern division has become it’s most competitive as it has in recent years, with each team having the ability to beat one another on any given night, such as how Hamilton won against Montreal Friday night, giving them second place while Montreal fell to third for the first time in several years.

The Bad

The Saskatchewan Roughriders fell to 1-4 and if not for an injury to Anthony Calvillo in week four, could easily be in the basement with the B.C. Lions. The Lions loss on Thursday night pushed them to 0-5 on the year and looks lost. It may be time for Wally Buono to pull the plug and make some moves sooner than later if he wishes to salvage this season.

It has become an issue and a noticeable problem amongst the league and that is the continued loss of helmet for the players. It has been noted and discussed by the league however any solutions have not been released yet. The danger of the game is already at a high level, however whenever a players helmet comes off, that level of danger raises to extreme levels, especially if the recipient is the ball carrier.

The Ugly

One dangling stat that can be attributed to the Lions lack of success so far this season is their league high 434 yards per game allowed, with 304.40 yards a game through the air. It’s a true testament to their secondary and it is something that Buono and his staff needs to look into.

Offensive Player of the Week: Chad Kackert

His efforts Friday night won’t go unnoticed among the Toronto coaching staff, as Kackert racked up 139 rushing yards, averaging just shy of 7 yards per carry, two touchdowns and one fumble. Kackert is now fifth overall in the league with 252 yards.

Defensive Player of the Week: Johnathan Hefney

Entering the week, Hefney had recorded 21 tackles which set him at third place amongst the defense. Following Thursday night’s contest, Hefney recorded nine tackles, giving him 30 on the season so far and has put him on pace for 108 tackles.

Special Teams Player of the Week: Justin Palardy

In a crucial win to honour their fallen leader, Justin Palardy was called upon four times when his team’s offense was unable to find the end zone. He delivered on all four attempts, added the single and helped his team get the emotional win Thursday night.

Canadian Player of the Week: Dave Stala

Dave Stala lead all Hamilton receivers Friday night with 107 yards, breaking one for 58 yards and caught two touchdowns in their 34-26 win over divisional rival, Montreal Alouettes. This puts him second in receiving on Hamilton with 260.