Saturday, October 3, 2009

Edmonton Eskimos: Shake-ups Will Help Bring Team Closer to CFL Grey Cup

Edmonton's defense has undergone numerous major changes over the past few days as they acquired defensive back Byron Parker from Toronto and signed defensive back Randee Drew, linebacker Reggie Hunt, and defensive tackle Jerome Haywood.

When you look at it you see aging veterans (Hunt and Haywood), an injury-prone player (Drew) and a player who failed to crack the lineup in Toronto potentially due to him "not learning the playbook" as coach Bart Andrus explained it.

But when you look at it further you see a 6-6 Eskimos team that holds a one-game lead over BC, a two-game lead of, and a three-game lead over Toronto for the fifth out of six teams in the playoffs.

Also, Edmonton has given up the most points in the league, 369 with the next closest being Saskatchewan with 331 and they are adding Hunt, a seven-year CFL veteran, to a linebacking corps who's most experienced player is four-year CFL vet Maurice Lloyd.

Haywood was brought in to replace the injured Dario Romero, yet while Haywood isn't as talented he, just like Romero, has seven-plus years of CFL experience and will likely combine with six-year veteran Kai Ellis in leading a group that contains two two-year veterans and a group of rookies.

Now Parker and Drew, while they are not as experienced (Parker has four years in the league, Drew has two), bring in more talent.

Jason Goss leads the secondary in tackles with 39 and Kelly Malveaux leads them with two interceptions after they failed to get one in seven weeks.

Both Parker and Drew should help in the tackling game with Drew having 86 (67 in 2007) and Parker having 99 (40 in 2008), while Parker has 18 interceptions with a season high of eight in 2006.

Bringing in these four players should in my opinion be able to pass the Roughriders and Calgary Stampeders who are both 7-5.

All they need now is for the the offense to step up from the fourth best (based on points for) in the league.

Is Mike Kelly Slowly Losing His Mind?

What a season for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

New coach Mike Kelly promptly made moves acquiring QB Stefan LeFors while releasing CB Stanford Samuels, DE Tom Canada, QB Timmy Chang, and QB Kevin Glenn.

The 2009 regular season, on the other hand, started with a bang as star wideout Derick Armstrong and Kelly did battle and Armstrong eventually earning his way out of town.

LeFors struggled so veteran Michael Bishop was brought in.

However, running back Fred Reid has been dominant and rookie linebacker Jonathan Hefney has been a pleasant surprise.

Through 12 games, though, they've struggled to a 4-8 record with LeFors hitting the 9-Game injured list and journeyman Casey Bramlet being brought in.

Don't get me wrong, the season hasn't been a total wash as the above-mentioned Fred Reid has been dominant, while Hefney's been okay, and Jovon Johnson and Ike Charlton have been tackling machines.

Fred Perry and Dorian Smith have also been wreaking havoc in the backfield with five sacks each.

Terrence Edwards leads the receivers in receptions (36), receiving yards (518), and touchdowns (1).

And no, the one touchdown is not the problem for Winnipeg as Fred Reid has six.

But the reason Winnipeg is struggling this year is new head coach Mike Kelly.

Not only was the Armstrong confrontation problematic but so was the most recent one.

This week, Kelly informed team leader Barrin Simpson (who leads the team with 58 tackles) that he'll be on the bench so they can shake things up.

Simpson obviously declined as he's blowing out his stats from last year and could contend with his career high 115 tackles in 2001.

So, Winnipeg responds by placing him on 9-Game injured list since they couldn't find a trading partner.

The issue, not only with the Blue Bombers handling of the situation, is that Simpson did not approve his placement on the injured list.

CFL rules require that a player okays the move before it can happen.

Not only is Winnipeg facing a rules violation and a road trip to Montreal, but they're also facing the dreaded "rebuilding" that plagued Hamilton for years.

Winnipeg fans better be prepared for the day Kelly tells Fred Reid that they decided to go with another player since Kelly and stars clearly clash, which just shows that he's slowly losing his mind by the day.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Jackson Sidelined For 3-5 Weeks, Casey Printers Returning the Den?
On Thursday, the B.C. Lions announced that starting quarterback Jarious Jackson will be out for about three-to-five weeks after a damaged rotator cuff after he had an MRI on his throwing shoulder, according to the Vancouver Sun. It was reported by the Sun that backup quarterback Buck Pierce will replace him.

But the Lions might have to add a new quarterback to the roster. It definitely seems Wally Buono still has interest in Casey Printers, who was named the CFL's Most Outstanding Player back in 2004. Printers also played in the National Football League, giving him some more knowledge of the game.

"It's not as good as we thought, but it's not as bad, either,” Buono said. "There is some damage to the rotator cuff, but the doctors aren't exactly sure as there still is a little bit of inflammation. They think it may be three to five weeks."

Jackson has been missing many practices lately. Jackson was going through injuries, especially after the loss towards the Montreal Alloutes. Pierce retained his starting job after losing it to Jackson after suffering from injuries. The Lions haven't been that good this year, but with Printers in, it'll boost things up.

And he may be the answer.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Amos Allen: A Chip off the Old Block?

Amos Allen graduated from the University of South Dakota in 2007, which was a year after star Stefan Logan left.

After Logan's failed NFL stint with the Miami Dolphins, he headed northwest to the BC Lions. Joining him there was his Pop Warner friend, Amos Allen.

Allen and Logan first met as kids in Miami, Fla., and were both neglected by Division I-A NCAA teams.

Logan went on to go to play at South Dakota, only to have Allen follow him there.

After going undrafted in 2007 and joining the Dolphins practice squad midway through 2007, he joined the BC Lions for 2008.

Allen, on the other hand, also went undrafted, and instead of waiting joined his childhood friend in the Lions backfield.

Logan went on to start for the team, while Allen was cut in training camp.

In 2009, Logan signed on with the Pittsburgh Steelers while Allen tried to follow up Logan's performance and re-joined the BC Lions.

However, for the second straight year, he was cut by the Lions in training camp.

On the other hand, Logan made the Steelers' final roster as a kick returner and debuted last Thursday.

Allen finally made a team, joining the Toronto Argonauts, and debuted on Friday, a season after Logan made his debut.

Logan was the return specialist for the Steelers while Allen shared returning duties with rookie wideout Jason Carter.

Throughout their respective careers, they both got shunned from opportunities and were forced to work for them.

Logan started for the South Dakota Coyotes in 2006, Allen in 2007.

While Logan starred for the Lions in 2008, Allen first played in 2009 and has yet to make a major impact.

However, if Toronto running back Jamal Robertson were to go down, Allen would step in and take all or most of the carries.

If he makes an impact in the return game and in the backfield, don't be surprised to see Allen follow up Logan once again and join an NFL team a special teamer.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Big Moves Around the CFL

Recent NFL final cut victims, Tearrius George and Charleston Hughes have opted to re-join the Calgary Stampeders.

And while I'm not one to brag, I predict Hughes would be back (see

In his previous Calgary stint in 2007, George recorded 33 tackles and eight sacks. Following which, he spent failed NFL stints with the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins along with time spent on the New Orleans Saints active roster.

Hughes had 66 tackles, five sacks and two forced fumbles in his only season which was last year in 2008. Following the season he was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles only to be waived/injured, placed on injured reserve and released with an injury settlement (as I said in the above mentioned tweet).

Also, in somewhat surprising move the Edmonton Eskimos have released off-duty police officer Kitwana Jones.

Jones "only" had 17 tackles and one sack for the season.

The Eskimos also showed offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Rick Worman the door. Senior Offensive consultant Kevin Strasser has taken over his duties.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Could Chase Daniel Eventually Follow Graham Harrell's Career Path?

Graham Harrell was a Sammy Baugh Trophy winner, Johnny Unitas Golden Award winner, AT&T All-American Player of the Year, 3-time All-Academic Big 12, and a Heisman Trophy candidate.

Despite, all of this collegiate accolades, Harrell went undrafted out of Texas Tech and received tryout invitations with the Cleveland Browns and then tried out for the UFL.

He went unsigned both times.

Following his UFL tryout, rumors started that Harrell could sign with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL.

Those rumors eventually transpired as he signed with the team on July 20 and was immediately placed on the inactive list as he adjusted to the Canadian game.

Harrell has yet to make his debut and the earliest he could is October 2 in a game against the BC Lions in Vancouver.

Chase Daniel on the other hand was a one-time Heisman Trophy candidate (2007), Second-team All-Big 12, Big 12 Male Athlete of the Year, First-team All-Big 12, Second-team All-American, Maxwell Award semifinalist and also a finalist for the Manning Award, Walter Camp Award, Draddy Trophy, and Davey O'Brien Award winner.

Needless to say that's a bit more than Harrell's accolades yet Daniel has faced the same treatment as Harrell has, NFL wise.

Daniel spent the entire training camp with the Washington Redskins before being cut.

After being cut, while the Redskins were assembling their practice squad he was told he'd be added to it.

However, the Redskins opted to go with ex-Kentucky Wildcats quarterback and New York Giant cut (ironically, the Redskins first opponent in 2009) Andre Woodson.

After being shown the door by the Redskins, Daniel has opted to take his show to New Orleans under the mentoring of gun-slinger Drew Brees.

Luckily, for Daniel the New Orleans quarterback situation is less log-jammed down the road as the only backup is almost 40 year-old Mark Brunell.

Now, odds are Daniel will see limited time on the active roster and even less time on the field but a situation that has gone unmentioned in the media is the fact he could decide to go the CFL once his deal with the Saints expires.

As you may or may not know most of the league has little to no backup depth.

It also doesn't hurt that Daniel is a prototypical CFL quarterback (6'1", 219) and has solid arm strength along with time in one of the toughest conferences in the NCAA.

In my opinion, Daniel staying in the NFL in the short term would be a mistake for him down the road, and taking the path blazed by the likes of Warren Moon, Doug Flutie and Graham Harrell makes sense for him and his potential team.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

CFL: Is Fred Reid the Next Stefan Logan?

Ex-BC Lions running back Stefan Logan signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers following a 1,366 all-purpose yard season.

The year before the South Dakota product signed with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in November 2007 and spent the rest of the year on their practice squad.

Logan then headed north of the border with the BC Lions where he put together a 122 rushing attempts, 889 rushing yard, 52 catch and a 477 receiving yard season.

He added three touchdowns (all receiving) and four fumbles (all while rushing) to his season totals.

Following 2008, he signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers where he's battling for a roster spot as a return specialist.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Fred Reid on the other hand played his college football at Mississippi State, which is no South Dakota but following the draft also went selected.

Just like Logan he bolted for south Florida but headed towards the shore with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2005.

He was cut before the season, and didn't play football in 2006.

After star linebacker Barrin Simpson recommended Reid to the Bombers front office guys, they brought him into camp and obviously showed enough to keep a spot on the roster.

As a rookie in 2007 Reid got 40 carries, 270 rushing yards, two touchdowns and eight catches for 120 yards.

Playing in Joe Smith and Charles Roberts's shadow again in 2008, he still managed to get 101 carries and 709 yards with three scores.

Reid added 13 catches for 96 yards to his 2008 totals.

Now, Logan obviously had the better 2008, but Reid is on pace to shatter Logan's 2008 season.

After eight games in 2009, he has 115 rushes (seven less than Logan in a full season) and 795 rushing yards (93 less than Logan in 2008).

Not only are Reid's stats better in three years than Logan in one, they similar in body size.

Reid 5'8", Logan is 5'7" while they're both speedy 185 pound backs.

Because of these similarities, I'd be very surprised to not see Reid get an NFL shot as a kick returner or even a backup running back.