It’s a month into the CFL season and the main takeaway revolves around quarterbacks and the best of their bad situation.
Through four weeks, a back up quarterback has needed to replace an injured one five times. Four of those five injured quarterbacks are currently on a six-game injured list.
Looking glass half-full, the relief pivots have been excellent. It looks like the league has a bright future of gunslingers — if they stay healthy themselves.
The Four Relief Quarterbacks
Throwing for 945 yards in three starts, Saskatchewan’s Cody Fajardo highlights the current crop of back up turned starting quarterbacks. If you have recency bias, it’s Calgary’s Nick Arbuckle, who convincingly defeated Fajardo’s Roughriders in Week 4. Arbuckle has some ridiculous stats too. He’s 28 of 31 for 355 yards with three touchdowns and zero picks.
Out East, in for Antonio Pipkin, Vernon Adams Jr. has some respectable numbers for Montreal, the most important being his 1-1 record. In relief of James Franklin, McLeod Bethel-Thompson has looked alright, ranking sixth in efficiency of quarterbacks with over 50 throws.
Trevor Harris hasn’t skipped a beat with his new team. He’s averaging 362 yards per game and has yet to throw an interception compared to six touchdown passes. Despite a few of their defensive stars sidelined, Edmonton’s 2-1 and it’s mainly because of Harris’ play.
William Stanback is leading the CFL in rushing yards and averaging 8.1 yards per rush. His most recent outing was a breakout 203-yard, three-touchdown game against Hamilton. If you were bold enough to pick him to lead the CFL in rushing in 2019, you’re a smart fellow.
With the B.C. Lions still working on team chemistry, Lemar Durant’s been one of their few bright spots. Now in his fifth season, Durant’s eclipsed 400 yards once. He’s at 308 after four games — good for third in the CFL — and has a career-high in touchdowns with four.
Tre Roberson’s had an outstanding four weeks with five interceptions in three games. He’s also scored once, took a ball back to the five and has had one pick-six called back due to a roughing the passer call. Roberson’s been the best cornerback in the CFL so far.
The Chicken Dance
In Week 1, Duron Carter showed minimal effort for a ball over the middle after feeling safety Jeff Hecht closing in. In hilarious fashion, Hecht proceeded to show his opinion of someone who recently rapped about having the heart of a Lion.
Jeff Hecht calling Duron Carter out pic.twitter.com/X9Un7VY912
— Nik Kowalski (@nik_kowalski) June 16, 2019
The four Thursday Night Football games have had diverse and entertaining halftime shows. The Trews and Monster Truck rocked out in Hamilton and Ottawa while Zach Zoya brought a different but cool atmosphere in Montreal — 1919 was stuck in my head for a few days. Oh, and although overplayed, let’s not pretend like Long Live The Night doesn’t still slap.
Simoni Lawrence hasn’t missed any game action following his disgusting headshot on Zach Collaros in Week 1. Then there’s Jonathan Rose, who got fined — not suspended — for blatantly pushing an official. The league gave shoddy efforts toward disciplining Lawrence and Rose, but didn’t even penalize Jeremiah Masoli for his hit on Ryan Carter in Week 3. Masoli leads with his head plus his first contact is with Carter’s head, but not a peep.
Through three games, the 0-3 Argos have been outscored 114-38, are averaging 10.7 offensive points and 50 rushing yards per game and have registered two sacks. They’ve been horrible in every aspect, but the cherry on top is their coaching.
Corey Chamblin electing to squib a ball to Mike Reilly’s offence in a tie game with almost a minute left was baffling. Chamblin putting no one in the end zone on a 37-yard field goal attempt because he wanted to block the kick when a rouge would win the game was worse.
Speaking about the Argonauts’ coaching, what on Earth is Jacques Chapdelaine doing with Derel Walker. Thirty-five players, four on the Argos, have seen more targets than Walker, who’s lined up as an extra blocker at times. When fed the ball, Walker’s second to none in the CFL. Less than 140 yards in three games is concerning although it’s not Walker’s fault.
On Canada Day Gainer showed up to the Riders home opener about 75 pounds lighter and with some questionable facial restructuring. Saskatchewan wisely responded by throwing out Gainer’s green contacts, although his newest look still isn’t too great.
Through four weeks there has yet to be a sellout and average capacity is down over three per cent according to CFLdb. Attendance across the CFL has been on a protracted decline without a concrete answer to why. It’s not a good look for the league.
Jason Maas’ Eskimos have taken 46 penalties through three games. In Maas’ three seasons as Edmonton’s head coach, they’ve ranked in the bottom third in penalties each season. So far, nothing’s changed in 2019.
Maas also hasn’t changed his late-game thinking. In the 2017 West Final, while down seven with under two minutes to go, Maas’ called for a field goal on third-and-four from Calgary’s 13-yard line. In Week 3 in Winnipeg, while down 10 with over two minutes left, Maas made the same call, but on first down on the Bombers 26. Neither decision worked out for Maas.
The B.C. Lions Record
The Lions have looked alright through four games yet are 1-3. Oddly enough, they’re 0-3 when leading after the first quarter and 0-2 when leading at halftime. Aside from giving up 12 touchdowns on defence, they’re in the middle of the pack in most team statistics. The Lions just need to close out games; there’s a chance they’re over .500 if so.
Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images