The 2019 CFL season is shaping up to be a combination of the year of the return and the year of the backup quarterback. Or if you fancy the glass-half-full perspective, it’s the year of the next crop of quarterbacks — currently led by Saskatchewan’s Cody Fajardo.
July’s CFL studs also highlight some excellent performances, hilarious tweets and viral makeup. As for the duds, they contain a general manager’s shady exit, a potential bust free agent signing and more brutal special teams’ decisions.
Fajardo’s been a big reason to why the Roughriders are currently riding a three-game win streak and are sitting above .500. He’s second in passing yards with 1,705, first in efficiency (of starters) and has thrown for 14 30-yard completions, which is first in the CFL. Not bad for a journeyman who had failed to throw for 200 yards in a season before 2019.
Returners — especially DeVonte Dedmon
Eight kickoffs have been returned for touchdowns after eight weeks, which is a CFL record. Redblacks’ rookie DeVonte Demon took a punt and kick return back against Montreal last week, breaking an absurd six tackles on the punt return score. And while it wasn’t a touchdown, shoutout to David Dean for his back-to-back pancakes on a Hamilton return.
WOW. Describe this return in one word aaaannnd… GO.
— CFL (@CFL) August 3, 2019
Evans is quickly making a name for himself in the CFL. He’s currently second in receiving yards with 587 yards and is averaging 20.2 yards a reception. He’s got chemistry with his quarterback and recently had seven catches for 160 yards versus Hamilton, the majority coming against Delvin Breaux.
Harris is once again leading the CFL in rushing with 646 yards. He’s averaging 6.8 yards per carry and is on pace to set a new career-high in rushing yards. He also rushed for 384 yards on 47 carries last month (8.1 yards per rush). Imagine what Harris’ numbers would look like if Winnipeg gave him more than 15 carries a game.
Ti-Cats’ receiver Brandon Banks wasn’t too happy about getting fined for making unnecessary contact with a receiver, while Bombers’ safety Jeff Hecht, who’s a great follow on Twitter, wasn’t too happy about Redblacks’ long snapper Louis-Philippe Bourassa violating the CFL’s drug policy.
In a tribute to defensive backs coach Josh Bell, Stampeders defender Robertson Daniel threw on Joker face makeup in Week 7 against Ottawa. Daniel even recorded an interception in the game, meriting national attention.
The Alouettes fired Reed after reports said the league demanded Montreal to do so. Reports then surfaced of Reed circumventing the salary cap, although news has quieted down. Things got messier when Stefan Logan, who was reportedly untouchable under Reed’s control, was released three days later.
After two months Matthews has six catches for 69 yards and a touchdown. The 6’5 receiver was the Bombers big offensive splash in the off-season. So far, his season’s been highlighted by consecutive healthy scratches and a violent altercation — not a stabbing — at a Winnipeg bar. Now in the lineup, Matthews has to perform better.
In two relief starts with Ottawa in July, Jennings completed 21 passes for 170 yards. His days as a CFL player, yet alone starter, appear to be numbered. Jennings’ downfall has been puzzling, as his 5,000-yard season in 2016 is now a distant memory.
The Lions hit rock bottom in Week 7 after getting annihilated by the Riders, losing 45-18 even with two Ryan Lankford return touchdowns. The Lions’ offensive and defensive lines are unfathomably bad, their tackling is amateur and their lacking skill across their roster. At 1-6 with a struggling Mike Reilly, the Lions have little hope in 2019.
Reilly along with Edmonton’s Trevor Harris and Winnipeg’s Matt Nichols are the three remaining healthy starting quarterbacks in 2019. Jeremiah Masoli’s season-ending non-contact injury put an exclamation point on the unfortunate, and more the less unlucky injuries to the league’s most important players.
Taking a Knee
Toronto head coach Corey Chamblin took heat for his speical teams decision in June’s CFL studs and duds. It’s Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell’s turn in July. Up 16-12 against Calgary with 1:14 to go, Campbell gave up a safety while on his own six. The Stamps got into field goal range less than 20 seconds later, and Rene Paredes connected on a game-winning 31-yard field goal plays later. Derek Taylor had the numbers to back up why Campbell made the wrong choice.
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