Monday, June 29, 2009

CFL Week One Preview: Calgary-Montreal Headlines Exciting Opening Week

With the CFL season started, tune in often for complete coverage. I will be coming out with two articles on the CFL per week during the regular season. In one, I will preview the games to come and offer my predictions and in the second, I will recap the games, hand out some awards and display power rankings.

If you are looking for in-depth coverage of the CFL, you are in the right place. If you are looking for a place to learn ballroom dancing… well then you are in the wrong place.

The wait is finally over!

The long heated off-season has withered down, the gruelling training camp has winded down, and the final rosters are set for a new season. Seven teams will be trying to dethrone the defending Grey Cup Champion Calgary Stampeders.

The quest for the Grey cup will begin this Wednesday, when the CFL opens up with a double header. It doesn’t matter how you did last season or what your record was—every team is undefeated and has a chance to become the next Grey Cup Champions.

We have all heard the headlines heading into the season.

“Will Tiger Cats finally make the playoffs?”

“Will Calgary repeat as Grey Cup Champions?”

Now, it is time to find out the answers to these questions.

Prediction Time:
Every week I will predict the winners of each game. Disagree with my picks? Comment down below with your picks and see if you can do better

Wednesday July 1
Game One: Hamilton Tigercats vs. Toronto Argonauts

Another instalment of the Hamilton-Toronto rivalry—what a perfect way to start the season.

Two underachieving teams last season, the Tabbie and the Argos will both have something to prove this season. A win over their biggest rivals would be a welcome start to the season for both teams.

Both teams retooled a lot over the off-season, with Toronto adding Zeke Moreno, Rob Murphy and Dominic Picard; and Hamilton adding Alexander Gauthier, Dan Goodspeed and Brandon Guillory.

It is also the debut of two new head coaches. Bart Andrus will look to right the Argos sinking ship and Marcel Bellefuile will begin his first official season as Tabbies head coach.

For Toronto, a big key to the game will be shutting down the run. Hamilton has bulked up on the offensive line and have talented running back Terry Caulley carrying the rock.

If Toronto does this, they will put more pressure on Hamilton’s starting quarterback, be it Kevin Glenn or Quinton Porter. On offense, they need to try to establish some sort of running game. If they are successful in this, Kerry Joseph will have less pressure on him and settle into his grove.

For Hamilton, a big key to the game will be containing Kerry Joseph. Joseph is known for scrambling with the football and it is usually bad for the defense when he does.

If they do this, it will force Joseph to settle in the pocket and throw the football, which he struggles with. On offense, Hamilton should look first to establish the running game. Hamilton ran all over the Argonauts last season, and should be able to do so again.

This game really could go either way. Both teams have a different look and will be desperate for a win. Hamilton is at home however, and they will have a faithful crowd behind them hoping for the start of something great.

My Pick: Hamilton

*Game of the Week*
*Game Two: Calgary Stampeders vs. Montreal Alouettes*

The second game of the doubleheader is the Grey Cup rematch from last season, when Calgary traveled into Montreal and claimed victory.

With both teams rosters pretty much intact, this game should prove to be a very heated one—and undeniably the game of the week.

Anthony Calvillo has returned for another season, determined to lead the Alouettes to the Grey Cup.

The Stampeders however, will be celebrating their Grey Cup victory and won’t want the Als to spoil the party.

For Calgary to win, they will need to attack Montreal’s defense through the air and on the ground. Montreal has the ability to put up a lot of points and Calgary may need to score a lot of points to win.

On defense, it is really hard to stop the Alouettes offense, but if Calgary can shut down the run and get pressure on Anthony Calvillo then they may be able to hold Montreal in check.

For Montreal to win, they will need to also put up a lot of points. Sometimes the best defense against Calgary is a good offense, and the more Montreal has the ball, the less time Henry Burris will be able to go to work.

When Calgary does have the ball, Montreal will need to contain Henry Burris and get pressure on him, or else he will torch their defense.

Common knowledge would say that Calgary would win this game.

They are the defending Grey Cup Champions and are playing at home. But Montreal is angry following their Grey Cup defeat, and while Calgary is celebrating their Grey Cup victory, Montreal will be there to play football.

My Pick: Montreal

Thursday July 2
Game One: Edmonton Eskimos vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers

In an intriguing third game of the season, the Blue Bombers will travel into hostile Commonwealth Stadium.

Stefan Lefors, Edmonton’s third string quarterback last season, is now the starter for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He will square off against quarterback Ricky Ray—one of the best in the business.

What makes this game so intriguing is that we don’t know what to expect from either team. Winnipeg has question marks at the quarterback position, and Edmonton is being lead by former defensive coordinator Richie Hall.

For Winnipeg, as hard as it may sound, the key is to get Ricky Ray off his game. Ray can pick a defense apart, but if Winnipeg can put pressure on him, it will force Edmonton to turn to the running game, where they don’t have many proven options.

On offense, Winnipeg should attack Edmonton’s front seven with rising star Fred Reid. If the running game is working, it will open up the passing game where talented receivers Derrick Armstrong, Romby Bryant, and Terrance Edwards will look to reek havoc.

Edmonton on the other hand, will look foremost to stop the run. Fred Reid is one of the rising stars in the game and if they stop him, it will put pressure on the inexperienced Stefan Lefors. On offense, Edmonton should try to establish the run, but if all else fails, they should make sure Ricky Ray is protected then air the ball out.

Stefan Lefors may have success in the league, but it will likely take him a while. He is competing against one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and an improved Eskimos defense.

If Lefors plays solidly, the Bombers could pose a challenge to the Eskimos, but if not it could be a long day.

My Pick: Edmonton

Friday July 3
Game One: Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. BC Lions

Returning to the stage of the Western Semi-final, the Riders will look to avenge last season's loss at home.

The game will have plenty of hype going into it, as former Rider Anton Mackenzie will return to Saskatchewan and former Lion Jason Clermont will face his former team for the first time.

It is always a bitter battle when the Lions come into Regina, and with the question marks surrounding both teams, it should be interesting to see how the game plays out.

For Saskatchewan, getting Buck Pierce off his game will be key. BC doesn’t have a proven running game, so if Pierce is put off his game, the Lions will be in trouble.

On offense, Saskatchewan should look to get the ball to their playmakers. If Darian Durant can get the ball out to playmakers Weston Dressler and Andy Fantuz, it could be a long day for the Riders.

For the Lions, pressure will be the key. Darian Durant could be thrown out of his game—and into bad reads and turnovers—if the Lions put consistent pressure him.

On offense, if the Lions can develop a running game, it would shift the momentum in their favour. And of course, if all else fails, Buck Pierce just needs to get the ball out to Paris Jackson and Geroy Simon.

Both teams have a lot of question marks heading into the season, and this game could go a long way to determine the answers. Saskatchewan does have the home field advantage, though it hasn’t always been an advantage in this series.

My Pick: Saskatchewan

My Record: 0-0

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Montreal Alouettes Make Cuts

HAMILTON, ON and MONTREAL, QC-The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Montreal Alouettes announced their cuts on Thursday and here they are:

RB Guillarme Allard-Cameus
RB DeAndra' Cobb
WR Jacob Willis
WR Cassidy Doneff
WR Eddie Cohen
OL Francis Daneau
OT Albert Toeaina
OL Dan Oliphant
DL J.P. Bekasiak
DE Brandon Guillory
DT Alan Harper
DL Scott McCuaig
DL Mike McFadden
LB Matt Castelo
LB Isaac Brown
DB Lamont Reid
DB Desman Stephen
DB Melvin Matlock
DB Carlton Brown
DB Sean Manning

Practice roster:
WR Corey Grant

QB Adrian McPherson
QB Brad Banks
WR Marco Thomas
WR Chris Nickson
SB SJ Green
DT Sean Ortiz
DE Ivan Brown
DT Martavius Prince
LB Reggie Hunt
LB Stan van Sichem
LB John Mohring

Friday, June 26, 2009

Calgary Stampeders Make Cuts

CALGARY, AB-The Calgary Stampeders announced yesterday their final cuts and practice roster:

QB Matt D'Orazio
RB Cedric Thompson
WR John Kanaroski
WR Vincent Marshall
WR Jackie Chambers
SB Scott McHenry
OT John Hashem
DL Julian Jenkins
DL E. J. Kuale
DB Anthony Ivy
DB Perry Kyles

Practice roster:
OL Mike Byrne
DB Quinton Meaders
DL Kelvin Morris
DL Osie Ukwuoma
RB Derek Watson
OL Jon Gott
OL Steve Myddelton

BC Lions Make Cuts

VANCOUVER, BC-The BC Lions announced yesterday their final cuts:

WR Rufus Skillern
DB William Heyward
OL Martin Bibla
WR Jason Jones
WR Anthony Russo

Practice roster:
S Tang Bacheyie
RB Andrew Harris
RB Emmanuel Marc
SB Matt Carter
G Bobby Singh
LB Courtney Smith
DB Trestin George
WR Terrence Scott

CFL 2009 Season Preview: Calgary Stampeders

“It’s a highly debated question among fans of the CFL, can the Calgary Stampeders repeat as Grey Cup Champions?”

Henry Burris finally won the big game.

In a picture perfect season, the Stampeders won the coveted Grey Cup over the Montreal Alouettes in Montreal.

Things weren’t always perfect for the Stampeders last season. The defense was highly inconsistent and the offense was off their games at time, but when it came down to the wire, the Stamps perform.

The Stampeders survived against the BC Lions and used an all-around effort to defeat the Alouettes.

The Stampeders also had a number of individual accolades last season.

Joffrey Reynolds won the rushing title and Henry Burris was the Western nominee for Most Outstanding Player. Mike Labinjo was solid for the Stamps and kicker Sandro Deangellis was nominated as the Special Teams Player in the Year.

The Stamps managed to keep their roster intact during the off-season, and should be posed for another run at the Grey Cup.

Let’s take a closer look at the Calgary Stampeders:

What’s New? 

In the offseason, the Stamps focused on securing their own players rather than bringing in new talent.

The Stamps managed secure some key players.

The team finally reached a deal with star quarterback Henry Burris and slot back Nik Lewis, securing two of the teams veteran leaders.

Punter Burt Dales, return man Markus Howell and defensive players Dwaine Carpenter and shut down corner Brandon Carpenter.

Calgary did bring in some players as well in the offseason. The team brought in quarterbacks Drew Tate, who had been floating around Saskatchewan’s practice roster, and quarterback Matt D’Orazio from the Arena Football League,
The team also added a pair of receivers, Titus Ryan, Vincent Marshall and Cedric Thompson and Derrick Watson.

In the Canadian Draft, the Stampeder’s didn’t have a lot of picks but ended up one of the winners of the draft.

The team added solid linebacker Tristan Black, offensive lineman Steve Myddelton, coveted slot back Scott McHenry and defensive end Osie Ukwuoma in later rounds.

When all was said and done, the Stamps retained their core players and their coaching staff.


The Stamps weren’t flawless in their Grey Cup run last season and they won’t be this season.

In last nights preseason game, Henry Burris looked rusty and it my take him some time to adjust to the offense again.

The main concern surrounding the Stampeders is their defense is their defense.

Mike Labinjo should be solid once again wherever he lines up in the front seven, but the rest of the front seven is questionable.

Calgary’s secondary has improved but has been prone to giving up the big play.

If Calgary’s defense struggles it will put that much more pressure on their offense.

And of course, will Calgary have the desire to repeat as the defending Grey Cup Champions?

It hasn’t happened in a while.


With head coach John Hufnagel, offensive coordinator George Cortez and coach Dave Dickenson, Calgary has developed a very solid football core.

Just by watching them in preseason it is apparent that they have been working on a lot during the offseason.

If Joffrey Reynolds experiences any kind of a drop off this season the team should have their replacement in Derrick Watson. Watson is a tough as nail, downhill runner.

Henry Burris should once again have all of the tools he needs to run the offense and the defense should be decent.

Calgary cruised to the top of the West last season and they may well again this year.

But of course, as with any defending champion, whether or not Calgary has the desire to repeat as Grey Cup Champions.

Defending Grey Cup Champions, that still has to sound good for a Stampeders fan.

My Prediction: 12 wins, a first place finish and a home playoff game.

Outstanding Player of the Year: Henry Burris
Defensive Player of the Year:Mike Labinjo
Canadian of the Year:Rob Lazeo
Lineman of the Year: Jesse Newman
Special Teams Player of the Year:Sandro Deangellis
Rookie of the Year: Tristan Black

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Winnipeg Blue Bombers Make Cuts

WINNIPEG, MB-The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have announced their final cuts:

RB Joe Smith
OL Thaddeus Coleman
LB Jasper Johnson
DE Chase Ortiz
DT Montez Murphy
DB Nick Kordic
LB Neil Ternovatsky
DB Patrick Body
DB Ronyell Whitaker
WR Terry Firr
OL Jean-Francois Morin-Roberge
OL Matt O'Meara

Edmonton Eskimos Make Cuts

EDMONTON, AB-The Edmonton Eskimos have announced their final cuts:

QB Lester Ricard
RB Ciatrick Fason
WR Alan Turner
OL Gerald Davis
DE Jim Davis
LB Andrea Bonaventura
CB Therrian Fontenot
CB Sammy Okpro
DB E.J. Underwood

Practice Roster:
DL Dee Sterling

Toronto Argonauts Make Cuts

TORONTO, ON-The Toronto Argonauts have announced their final cuts:

OT Patrick Afif
RB Tyler Ebell
LB Nick Hannah
WR Kenny Higgins
DB Pete Hunter
DL Kevin Huntley
DL Ben Ishola
CB Sammy Joseph
WR Matt Lambros
WR Kinsmon Lancaster
WR/KR Jerome Mathis
DE David McMillan
WR/KR Kenny O'Neal
OL Zachary Pollari
QB Stephen Reaves
WR Cleannord Saintil
OG Gordon Sawler
WR Brad Smith
RB Da'Shawn Thomas
OL Chris Van Zeyl

Unlike Saskatchewan, the Argonauts have not yet announced their practice roster, when they do you'll all be the first to hear about it.

Saskatchewan Roughriders Make Cuts

REGINA, SSK-The Saskatchewan Roughriders have announced those who have not made the active roster:

DB Sasha Glavic
DL Seante Williams
DT David Patterson
DL Nuvraj Bassi
WR Byron Ross
WR Casey McGahee
WR Brandon "Bam" Childress
WR Todd Blythe
K/P Jeff Bolen
LB Sam Olajabutu
QB Juan Joseph
RB Jason Geathers
LB Brandon Perkins
OL Brad Peters
DB Jerron Wishom

Practice Roster:
DB Carlos Armour
DB Konrad Wasiela
DB Daniel Francis
RB Justin Beaver
OL Dan Clark
K/P Perry Scarelli
DL Joe Sykes

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Toronto Argonauts Release Injured Todd Lowber

TORONTO, ON-After some conflicting reports and depth charts the Toronto Argonauts have officially released injured wide receiver Todd Lowber.

Lowber suffered a concussion during Toronto's first preseason game against the Montreal Alouettes.

Lowber has also been on the roster of the Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.

In 2007, Lowber earned a Super Bowl ring while on the Giants practice squad.

Lowber's release leaves the Argos with eight active wide receivers and one injured one.

(Photo credit to: DoubleBlue a commenter here on the CFL report taken at the Argos Fan Day on June 14)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

CFL 2009 Season Preview: Saskatchewan Roughriders

“Durant, Bell or Jyles? Who will be the man to lead a talented Roughriders offense into battle?”

It was a typical offseason in Riderville. One full of controversy.

Major personnel moves, talks of a new stadium and a gm scandal made the offseason rather intriguing for Rider fans.

What made the offseason longer for Rider fans was the disappointing end to the season.

The Riders started the season with an impressive win streak but then quarterback Darian Durant succumbed to an injury. The Riders went out and acquired quarterback Michael Bishop from the Toronto Argonauts to replace Durant. The results, were disastrous to say the least.
Bishop did throw for 2,224 yards with the Riders but he also threw 12 interceptions to seven touchdowns.

Bishop looked spectacular at times but often had trouble taking care of the ball. His inconsistency came back to hurt the Riders as the team was defeated by the BC Lions in the Western Semi-Final.
Heading into a new season, the Riders will look to get over the dissapointment of last season.
With new players and coaches making their debuts for the Riders it should be interesting to see how the team will adapt.
Let’s take a closer look at the Saskatchewan Roughriders:
What’s New?

The Riders made the news in the offseason for all the wrong reasons. General Manager Eric

Tillman was charged with Sexual Assault, news that shocked the Rider nation.

When it came to the football side of things, the Riders were also dealt some blows.
Starting middle linebacker Maurice Lloyd signed with the Edmonton Eskimos during free agency, and outside linebacker Anton Mackenzie left for the BC Lions. Defensive coordinator Richie Hall finally got the head coaching job he’d been looking for with the Edmonton Eskimos.

Gary Etchevarry takes over the Defensive Coordinator spot for the Roughriders despite having ambitions to be a head coach at the collegiate level.

In a couple of somewhat surprising trades, the Riders dealt Kitwana Jones to the Edmonton Eskimos and former Grey Cup MOP James Johnson to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The Rides did make some signings of their own however.

The team added veteran slot back and home-grown product Jason Clermont to the team,

After missing out on Clermont in the draft, fans had been anxious for a chance to see Clermont play for the green and white.

Saskatchewan also recruited a lot of players in the offseason, such as receiver Todd Blythe, running back Justin Beaver and defensive ends Joe Sykes and Mike Stadnyk.

When it came to the CFL Draft, the Riders didn’t have a lot of picks to work with. The team ended up picking local products Tamon George and Nick Hutchins.


The Riders roster is filled with question marks.

Who will step into the line backing core? Which quarterback will grab the starters reigns? And will the defense play at a high level without Richie Hall?

The answers to these questions could very well dictate whether or not Saskatchewan has success this season. 

Whether it was a crucial move or not, Maurice Lloyd was undoubtedly a huge part of the Riders defense last season. He was widely considered to be the second choice behind Cameron Wake to win the Defensive Player of the Year award.
Mackenzie was not as flashy as Maurice Lloyd, but he was also just as successful.
The Riders believe they have found their replacement linebackers in Renauld Williamns, Sam Olajabuto and Tad Kornegay, but these players are all unproven.
And, whether it be Durant, Jyles, or Bell who starts for the Riders, all three will have to prove they can be consistent starters. Dalton Bell hasn’t played in the CFL, Steven Jyles has been inconsistent, and Durant has only played a few games.
And then there’s the Gary Etchevarry. He likely has the smarts to be a defensive coordinator, but he has no where near the experience of a Richie Hall.

When all is said and done, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have a very talented roster.

Despite a few turnovers, the roster that helped the Riders start 6-0 last season is in tact.
Andy Fantuz and Weston Dressler look better than ever in training camp and will likely help ignite a potent Roughriders offense. Wes Cates should continue to be one of the most dominant running backs in the CFL.

If one of Saskatchewan’s quarterbacks pan out for them this season, they could have one of the better offense’s in the league.

On defense, the Riders always seem to step it up and a new defensive coordinator will likely not affect it that much.

Once again their success on defense could depend on whether some new players step up.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders already are facing a lot of adversity going into the season, and they are once again being labelled as underdogs.

This shouldn’t bother the team as they’ve bore this label for the past several seasons. If anything, the team seems to embrace their role as underdogs.
With what appears to be a solid mood in the locker room, Saskatchewan should pose a challenge to any team in the West this season.

My Prediction: 9 to 12 wins, a second place finish in the West with a potential for first.

Outstanding Player of the Year: Wes Cates

Defensive Player of the Year: Sean Lucas

Canadian of the Year: Andy Fantuz

Lineman of the Year: Gene Makowsky

Special Teams Player of the Year: Luca Congi

Rookie of the Year: Joe Sykes

Monday, June 22, 2009

Calgary Stampeders Pull Off a Shocker; Cut JoJuan Armour

CALGARY, AB-The Calgary Stampeders have announced the shocking release of veteran linebacker JoJuan Armour.

Apparently Armour got involved in a on-field "incident" during Friday's practice and John Hufnagel the Stampeders coach and general manager decided to make the decision.

''It's never easy to release someone who contributed to a championship season, so I'm very disappointed to have to make this announcement about JoJuan today,'' said Hufnagel in a statement. ''We have a very clear policy on team discipline, whether it's on the practice field, during games or off the field. JoJuan chose not to follow that policy recently during practice and, as a result, I've made this decision.''

At the beginning of camp, Armour was slowed down and forced to sit due to a heart murmur and finally got back to pratice earlier in the week.

Armour started his CFL and professional career with the BC Lions. Then after some subpar season with the Lions he joined the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2006. With Hamilton he had 68 tackles and five sacks in year one, then in year two with the TiCats he recorded a career high 84 tackles, three sacks and two fumble recoveries.

In February 2008, Armour joined the Grey Cup bound Stampeders and had 61 tackles, four sacks and one interception.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

CFL 2009 Season Preview: Edmonton Eskimos

"After ending a two year playoff drought, "The City of Champions" will look to contend for the Grey Cup this season."

Heading into the 2008 CFL season, the Edmonton Eskimos were looking for their first playoff berth in two seasons.

A two-year playoff drought for “The City of Champions” had almost been unheard of in Edmonton.

When all was said and done, Edmonton won 10 games and crossed over to the East Division. Edmonton pulled off a minor upset in the Eastern Semi-Final by beating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. However, the Eskimos weren’t able to beat the Montreal Alouettes in the Eastern Final.

There were definitely a lot of positives to draw from the Eskimos season.

Most importantly, the Eskimos ended their playoff drought, but they also got some great individual performances.

Kamau Peterson continued his resurgence and had another successful season. Jason Goss was solid as well and the Eskimos began to develop a running game during the later parts of the season.

Heading into 2009 with plenty of changes, what will the future hold for the Edmonton Eskimos?

Can a new coach, new defensive leader and a new running back lead the Eskimos back to Grey Cup contention?

Let’s take a closer look at the Edmonton Eskimos:

What’s New?

The Eskimos found a new head coach during the off-season. The team signed Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive coordinator Richie Hall.

Hall comes to the Eskimos with an impressive resume as a defensive coordinator.

With their new head coach under contract, Edmonton focused their attention on the heated free agency period.

When the dust settled, the Eskimos made a lot of moves during free agency.

The Eskimos acquired defensive end Kai Ellis in a trade with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Jason Nugent in another trade with the Bombers, and Kitwana Jones in a trade with the Roughriders. They also signed safety Scott Gordon, offensive lineman Kyle Koch and running back Graeme Bell.

Edmonton’s big splash during free agency came when they added middle linebacker Maurice Lloyd and running back Jesse Lumsden.

Lloyd, an all-star middle linebacker, has been one of the driving forces on Saskatchewan’s defense for the last couple of seasons.

Widely considered to be the second choice behind Cameron Wake to win the Defensive Player of the Year, the Eskimos will count on Lloyd to add some aggression to their defense.

Jesse Lumsden will look to rejuvenate his career with the Edmonton Eskimos. The talented running back has never really been able to show his full potential because of injuries. When healthy however, Lumsden can be explosive.

The Eskimos loss in the off-season was a fairly big one. Receiver Kelly Campbell left the team and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


Whether or not Richie Hall will be successful as a head coach is yet to be determined.

Though he undoubtedly deserved a chance to be head coach, one has to wonder if he will be a good fit in Edmonton.

Hall’s success as a defensive coordinator has been amazing, but the situation is kind of reminiscent of when defensive coordinator Rich Stubler was promoted to the head coach of the Toronto Argonauts.

Stubler had also been successful as a defensive coordinator but struggled greatly as a head coach and was fired during the season.

Edmonton’s defense also has its question marks.

Maurice Lloyd should have a huge impact on the Eskimos defense as well as Kitwana Jones, but the rest of the front seven hasn’t really proved a lot.

Edmonton’s defense hindered them last season and it may continue to do so this year. And, though the Eskimos offense has been successful in recent seasons, they may in fact take a step back this season.

Kelly Campbell’s departure has left a void in the receiving core and the team still lacks a proven running back.

Calvin McCarty has never been consistent for a whole season and Jesse Lumsden is injury prone.


Edmonton has finally started to improve after missing the playoffs for two years in a row, but will it be enough in a tough Western Division?

Calgary and Saskatchewan will be tough opponents, and Edmonton may not have enough talent on their roster to beat them.

If there is one constant the Eskimos have going into the season, it’s Ricky Ray.

Ricky Ray always put up high numbers and will definitely give the Eskimos a shot to compete.

The Eskimos will be counting on players like Jess Lumsden, Kamau Peterson and Maurice Lloyd to step up.

Edmonton should be able to finish higher in the standings then the revamped BC Lions, but they may have to settle for third place in a tough Western Division.

My Prediction: 6-9 wins, a third place finish in the Western Division and a playoff berth.

Outstanding Player of the Year: Ricky Ray

Defensive Player of the Year: Maurice Lloyd

Canadian of the Year: Kamau Peterson

Lineman of the Year: Patrick Kabongo

Special Teams Player of the Year: Noel Prefontaine

Rookie of the Year: Gordon Hinse

CFL 2009 Season Preview: BC Lions

“No matter how many Wally Buono and the Lions try to spin it, the team lost a lot of key players during the offseason. This has led the casual fan to wonder if the Lions will be in rebuilding mode this season.”

It seemed like the BC Lions were good but never great last season.

The team had its highlights in 2008, and got some great individual performances from key players.

Defensive end Cameron Wake had a monster year with 23 sacks.

On offense, running back Stefan Logan had a break-out season with 889 rushing yards, while receivers Geroy Simon and Paris Jackson continued their solid play.

But when all was said and done, these players could not lead the Lions to a Grey Cup appearance.

Despite losing out on a home playoff game in the last game of the season, the Lions shocked Saskatchewan on the road to advance to the Western Final, where BC was defeated by the Calgary Stampeders.

Yet it seemed like whenever the Lions took a step forward, they seemed to take another one back.

The Lions traveled to a hostile Mosaic Stadium in the playoffs and beat the Roughriders, but lost in the regular season finale against a Stampeders team that was resting its starters.

Heading into the offseason, one had to believe the Lions would look to add a few players to help push their team over the top. Instead, the team lost a lot of players to free agency.

All of this makes one wonder what things will be like in BC this season.

Let’s take a closer look at the BC Lions:

What’s New?

The Lions' offseason didn’t exactly start the way they wanted.

In a disappointing (but not unexpected) move, Defensive Player of the Year Cameron Wake left the Lions to sign a four-year contract with the NFL's Miami Dolphins.

Wake, a defensive end, was not the only defensive player to leave the Lions, as BC lost a trio of linebackers. Jamall Johnson joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Jason Pottinger was traded to the Toronto Argonauts. BC also released veteran Otis Floyd.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Lions lost the bidding war for lineman Rob Murphy, who was signed by the Toronto Argonauts. The team also released slot back Jason Clermont.

Perhaps the biggest loss on the offensive side was running back Stefan Logan. Logan, who would have been the starting running back for the Lions, signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Lions added a few players during free agency to counter-balance some of these losses. The team’s best pick-up was Saskatchewan linebacker Anton Mackenzie, who was part of Saskatchewan’s dominant linebacking corps.

Defensive end Nautyn McKay-Loescher was also added as a replacement for Cameron Wake.

The Lions also manage to re-sign key players, such as Paris Jackson, Aaron Hunt, and Baron Miles.

The Lions used the three draft picks obtained from the Pottinger trade to select running back Jamall Lee, linebacker James Yurichuk and slot back Matt Carter.


Can the Lions hope to replace defensive end Cameron Wake and his 23-sack performance with the often-injured Nautyn McKay-Loescher?

Wake was a key force on BC’s defensive last season, and his aggression struck fear in the hearts of opposing offenses.

BC’s linebacking corps also has huge question marks after losing Johnson, Floyd, and Pottinger. The team did add Anton Mackenzie, but what other options do they have?

Mackenzie and Javier Glatt appear to be the only proven options available. Glatt is a good linebacker, but he has never really been a great one.

On offense, the Lions running game may be a weak point for them with Logan's departure.

The lack of a running game will put more pressure on Lions quarterback Buck Pierce, who lacks solid receivers to throw to besides Paris Jackson and Geroy Simon.

When it comes right down to it, there are a lot of question marks in BC with few answers.


Few can argue that Wally Buono has been a successful coach, and that the Lions always have a chance with him at the helm.

And the team still has talent. Jackson looks to be a rising star in the league and Simon is always reliable. On defense, the team still has a stellar secondary and all-star defensive tackle Aaron Hunt.

But with all the offseason losses, one has to wonder if BC will slide down the standings this season.

Whether the Lions have success could come down to a few things:

Will they find a solid running back? Can Buck Pierce be a consistent starter? And will the defense take a huge step back after losing Cameron Wake?

Another thing to keep in mind is the weak East division. Last season the Eskimos crossed over to the East and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Lions do the same this season.

But don’t expect BC to finish high in the West because, though Wally Buono may not want to admit it, the Lions are in a rebuilding year this season.

My Prediction: Between six and eight wins, a fourth-place finish in the West and a possible crossover playoff berth in the East.

Outstanding Player of the Year: Paris Jackson

Defensive Player of the Year: Anton Mackenzie

Canadian of the Year: Brent Johnson

Lineman of the Year: Aaron Hunt

Special Teams Player of the Year: Ian Smart

Rookie of the Year: James Yurichuk

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Camp Cuts: Week one

Week one of training camp is almost over and like everyone knows transactions come at a daily basis, so here they are for all eight teams:

Signed-DB William Heyward, OL Vaughn Lesuma (June 9), LB Courtney Smith

Released-C Lorne Plante, RB Charles Pierre, DB Donald Brown, OL Vaughn Lesuma (June 13), LB Marcus Richardson, RB Amos Allen, FB Lyle Green, SB Bret Anderson

Inactivated-OL Martin Bibla, DB Trestin George (June 7, reactivated June 13), OL Sherko Haji-Resouli (June 7, reactivated 13), WR Jason Jones, WR Anthony Russo

Signed-WR Derrick Smith, DB Anthony Ivy, DB Ronnie Amadi, DB Perry Kyles (June 12)

Released-LB Robert Killebrew, LB Kurt Campbell, DB Lakendrick Terrell, DB Perry Kyles (June 10), WR Johnny Thomas, WR Reggie Williams (June 12)

Inactivated-DT Kenny King, G Jesse Newman, SB Reggie Williams (June 7)

Signed-OL Joe McGrath (acquired in trade with Saskatchewan), WR Sean Young

Released-LB Derrick Doggett, DB Emanuel White, WR Eric Ware, LB Jason Kosec

Inactivated-DE Adam Braidwood

Signed-DB Cody Williams, DE Khari Long

Released-QB Erik Meyer, QB Josh Betts, DB John Williams Jr., OL Todd Londot

Inactivated-WR Willie Quinnie

Signed-WR David Kircus, WR Glenn McKay, WR Chad Rempel (June 7), DT Darrell Campbell, LB Jay Staggs, DB De'Audre Dix, WR Keith Godding, DT Johnny Jackson (June 8), WR Dorrell Jalloh, WR Kevin Marion (June 9), DE Sean Ortiz (June 9), WR Andrew Hawkins (activated from Suspended list)

Released-C Ryan Mousseau, DE Sean Ortiz (June 7), LB Jon Abbate, DT Johnny Jackson (June 9), WR Chad Rempel (June 13), WR Kevin Marion (June 13)

Inactivated-WR Jamel Richardson, CB Stanford Samuels, DB Brandon Williams, DB Gemara Williams, LB John Mohring, RB Dahrran Diedrick

Signed-OL Jocelyn Frennette (activated), RB Jason Geathers, LB Brandon Perkins, WR Eric Morris

Released-OL Andrae Townsel, DB Derrick Johnson, SB Carl Berman, OL Joe McGrath (traded to Edmonton)

Inactivated-WR David McKoy



Inactivated-CB Demetrice Webb

Signed-QB Richie Williams, DL DeVon Hicks

Released-QB Darrell Hackney


That's it for this week, can't wait till week 2 kicks off!

Friday, June 12, 2009

CFL 2009 Season Preview: Montreal Alouettes

“It’s time to take care of some unfinished business!”

The Montreal Alouettes treaded down familiar waters last season.

The team had an amazing regular season and cruised to the top of a weak Eastern Division.

Most Outstanding Player Anthony Calvillo was at his finest, and with assistance from playmakers Kerry Watkins, Ben Cahoon, Jamal Richardson, and Avon Coburne, he helped the offense function brilliantly.

The defense was a bit inconsistent, but still solid, as Montreal made it to the Grey Cup Finals in Montreal.

But, despite the home field advantage and a roster that was loaded with talent, the Alouettes suffered yet another Grey Cup disappointment by losing to the opponent Calgary Stampeders.

It was agonizing, yet not an unfamiliar loss for the Alouettes, who have had plenty of troubles in recent Grey Cup Games.

They lost in the 2006 Grey Cup game to the BC Lions and also in 2005 to the Edmonton Eskimos.

Heading into a new season, once again with the aftertaste of defeat still in their mouths, the Alouettes will look to break their Grey Cup slump.

Veteran quarterback Anthony Calvillo has committed to another season, and 16 touchdown receiver Jamal Richardson passed on the NFL. With other play makers such as Avon Coburne, Ben Cahoon and Kerry Watkins, the Al’s look to have all the tools to make it back to the Grey Cup Finals.

But will they buckle down when it matters most?

Let’s take a closer look at the Montreal Alouettes:

What’s New?

The Montreal Alouettes didn’t have a very eventful offseason, but since they already had such a talented roster, it wasn’t really necessary. Instead, the Alouettes focused on re-signing the key components of their team.

Montreal gladly welcomed back Anthony Calvillo for another season, inking their star quarterback to an extension. They also welcomed back Jamal Richardson, who had a breakout season in the receiving core. Receivers Brian Bratton and Ben Cahoon were also inked to extensions.

On the defensive side of the ball, Montreal re-signed defensive end Anwar Stewart and defensive back Mark Estelle. They also added defensive lineman Jerome Haywood and defensive back Stanford Samuels.

During the CFL Draft, the Alouettes focused on improving their offensive line as two out of their first three picks were offensive linemen. Their big pick was local lineman Dylan Steenbergen, who should help an aging Alouettes offensive line.

In the loss category, Montreal didn’t suffer many major blows, but did lose offensive tackle Luke Fritz to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.


There don’t appear to be many glaring weaknesses on the Alouettes roster, but there are still come concerns surrounding the Grey Cup runner uppers.

The obvious question heading into the Als' season is whether or not they will be able to avoid another Grey Cup defeat. But perhaps a better question is: will they have the motivation to get back?

While it seems unlikely that Montreal will lose in a weak East Division, the mood of the team is definitely questionable after yet another disappointment.

Will Montreal have the right mindset going into the season?

And while the Als do have a near perfect roster on paper, that doesn’t always translate into an amazing season. Just ask Winnipeg, who took a step back words last season with basically the same roster that got them to the Grey Cup game.

Montreal does have a few areas of concern.

Their offensive line is aging, which could lead to sloppier pass protection and run blocking.

And though he is coming off of an MOP season, Anthony Calvillo isn’t getting younger.

Perhaps the biggest question is the defense. Montreal’s defense has always seemed to be rather average, and they have seemed to falter recently in big games.


Montreal didn’t make a lot of signings during the offseason, but they also managed to keep their roster intact, which should bode well for them. Montreal’s offense should still be arguably one of the best in the league.

Anthony Calvillo is still playing at a high level, and with receivers like Ben Cahoon and Jamal Richardson, he will have plenty of targets. Watch out for star running back Avon Cobourne, who will be running the ball behind a talented offensive line.

The Als' defense has never been the best in the league, but they are fairly consistent nonetheless.

Really, there is no question that Montreal will be atop the Eastern Division.

There are so many question marks surrounding the other teams in the East, whereas there a few questions surrounding the Montreal Alouettes.

In fact, it may not be a stretch to say Montreal is a lock to make it to the Grey Cup in the East.

But when it comes down to it, will Montreal have what it takes to win the Cup?

Anthony Calvillo may only be around for one more season, so if the Alouettes are waiting for the perfect time to win the Grey Cup, the time is now!

My Prediction: Around 12 wins, a first place finish in the Eastern Division and a home playoff game.

Outstanding Player of the Year: Anthony Calvillo

Defensive Player of the Year: T.J. Hill

Canadian of the Year: Ben Cahoon

Lineman of the Year: Scott Flory

Special Teams Player of the Year: Damon Duval

Rookie of the Year: Dylan Steenbergen

The East previews are over. Next up are the West previews, starting next week. Will the BC Lions be stuck in a rebuilding year? Will Jesse Lumsden have an impact in Edmonton? And will the Stampeders have a chance to repeat? Stay tuned.

CFL 2009 Season Preview: Hamilton Tiger Cats

"The losing stops now!”

It is not secret, for the last several season, the Hamilton Tiger Cats have been the “Bad News Bears” of the Canadian Football League.

Poor playing, poor management and poor coaching have led the Tiger Cats into a downward spiral. A playoff berth in 2004 has been the only shed of light on the Tiger Cats franchise in some while.

Last season, Hamilton had expectations of turning their fortunes around. While they did have some bright spots in their season, when all was said and done Hamilton finished with only three wins and last place once again.

How can a team that has been in several rebuilding years in a row continue to be the laughingstock of the league?

How can Hamilton build off of a three win season?

Though they did only win three games, Hamilton did learn a few things during the season. First off, they may finally have their starting quarterback in Quinton Porter.

Porter showed promise last season and will only improve with more experience under his belt.

Hamilton’s management has given a renewed effort to improving the team through free agency, focusing more on the offensive line than in the past.

And of course, the Tiger Cats have explosive running back Kenton Keith. While he has not seen the playing field in a while, there is always a chance he will do this.

But, until these players all perform at a high level, and Hamilton starts winning ball games, it is all speculation.

Let’s take a closer look at the Hamilton Tiger Cats:

What’s New?

After Marcel Bellefeuille had taken over as head coach for Charlie Taafe during the season, people wondered if Bellefeuille would retain his job in the off-season. The Tiger Cats didn’t wait long into the off-season, signing Bellefeuille to an extension.

With the coaching staff in place, Hamilton could focus on improving their team through free agency. Hamilton had a number of holes to fill going into a loaded free agency class.

Hamilton had been rumoured to be involved in a lot of big moves, including talks surrounding prized free agent offensive lineman Rob Murphy.

In the end, the Argonauts picked up Murphy, but the Tiger Cats did find their own offensive lineman in Alexandre Gauthier.

Gauthier has been a solid tackle for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for the last couple of seasons. Later in the off-season, Hamilton added Dan Goodspeed through a three way trade.

The acquisitions of Goodspeed and Gauthier, plus lineman Simon Rottier, who the team drafted first overall, should give the Tabbies some stability on the offensive line.

On the defensive side of the ball, Hamilton added defensive tackle Matt Kirk, defensive end Brandon Guillory and linebacker Otis Floyd. Perhaps more importantly, the Tiger Cats re-signed one of their most promising defensive players in Chris Thompson.

The Tabbies also added veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Glenn is expected to challenge Quinton Porter and provide leadership.

Hamilton didn’t suffer too many losses during the off-season, but did lose running back Jesse Lumdsen to the Eskimos and quarterback Richie Williams to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.


When you have been bad for so long like Hamilton has, there are always going to be questions mark heading into a new season.

Hamilton looks to have a promising roster on paper, but that doesn’t mean they will be successful.

If young quarterback Quinton Porter experiences a drop off this season, Hamilton will have to hope that Kevin Glenn can rekindle some of his old magic.

Hamilton’s running backs also look decent on paper. Kenton Keith has had great success in his career, and Terry Caulley and Tre Smith have both been good for Hamilton in the past.

But Keith hasn’t always been the most consistent player in his career and Caulley and Smith have experienced injury problems.

Whoever does earn the starting running backs job will be running behind an improved, but not yet proven offensive line.

On the defensive side, Hamilton will have to improve on their defense which has been porous at times.

With a front seven anchored by lineman Brandon Guillory, Matt Kirk and a solid line backing core, Hamilton should be able to stop the run decently, but there secondary has always been a question mark.

Hamilton will have to hope the defensive back Chris Thompson continues his All-Star play of last season.


If Hamilton struggled this season and missed the playoffs, it wouldn’t really surprise any body. It seems like whenever you think Hamilton has turned a corner, they fall flat on their face.

The same scepticism will be equally as high this season with question marks galore. Can an inexperienced coach in Marcel Bellefeuille lead the Tiger Cats? Will Hamilton’s offensive line really improve? Can Hamilton’s defense turn the corner?

I however, remain cautiously optimistic. Baring injuries, the Tiger Cats should have a solid running back running behind a good offensive line.

Quinton Porter should be a efficient quarterback this season and the receiving core has also improved over the years.

Hamilton’s defense may struggle, but they should be able to shut down teams enough to give their offense a chance.

The Eastern Division is weak this year, so now may be the time for Hamilton to cement themselves as contenders and not pretenders.

It’s time to shed some light on a franchise that has been in the dark for so many years.

My Prediction: Around 8-10 wins, a second place finish and a home playoff berth in the East.

Outstanding Player of the Year: Kenton Keith

Defensive Player of the Year: Markeith Knowlton

Canadian of the Year: Chris Bauman

Lineman of the Year: Alexandre Gauthier

Special Teams Player of the Year: Nick Setta

Rookie of the Year: Simeon Rottier

Do you have a magic crystal ball that you can use to look ahead and see what will happen in the upcoming CFL Season? If not, stay tuned for my CFL Team Previews, coming out twice a week, to see how each team will fair in the upcoming season

CFL 2009 Season Preview: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

“Following the release of Kevin Glenn, Ryan Dinwiddie and Stefan Lefors appear to be the front runners for the starting quarterback job in Winnipeg. But will either of them be able to orchestrate the Bombers offense?”

It was crazy times in Winnipeg this off-season.

Crazy times.

There has been a front office shuffling, a new head coach added to the team who has already generated controversy, and tantalizing discussion about a new stadium.

The Blue and Gold were also involved in a number of trades and said goodbye to some veteran playmakers on their team.

When all is said and done, a shakeup may have been need in Winnipeg.

For a team that was a supposed injury away from winning the Grey Cup in 2007, the Bombers looked anything but Grey Cup bound in 2008. The team started off the season with an atrocious 4 game losing streak, and never seemed to rebound from there. Winnipeg did manage to finish second place in a weak Eastern Division, but went on to lose to the Edmonton Eskimos, who had crossed over from the West.

So what does the future hold for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers?

What can a team that has recently experienced both highs (Grey Cup appearance) and lows (multiple losing streaks) expect this season.

The Eastern Division looks to be weak again this season, and Winnipeg has a lot of talent on their roster.

Let’s take a closer look at the Winnipeg Blue Bombers:

What’s New?

The Blue Bombers started the off-season by reshuffling their coaches and management. The team released fiery head coach Doug Berry, and general manager Brendan Taman resigned. To fill their vacant head coaching position, the Bombers turned to former offensive coordinator, Mike Kelly.

Kelly, who had success with the Bombers in the past, immediately stated his promise to turn the Bombers struggles around. It seems however, that he spent more time creating controversy through some of his comments. Kelly openly blasted the past Bombers management and also took a shot at the province of Saskatchewan. Needless to say, Kelly made things very interesting during the off-season.

By the time the free agency period had been concluded, the Bombers had made some good moves, but also lost some key players from their team.

The Bombers lost two solid offensive lineman, Alexandre Gauthier, and Dominic Picard to free agency. What perhaps made the moves harder to take was the fact that both players went to Eastern teams. Gauthier landed in Hamilton and Picard landed in Toronto. The Blue and Gold also traded away another solid lineman, Dan Goodspeed later in the off-season as part of a three way trade with both Hamilton and Saskatchewan.

To sure up their offensive line that took a bit of a beating, the Bombers acquired lineman Glen Janurary and Steve Morely from the Saskatchewan Roughriders and also picked up tackle Luke Fritz from the Alouettes and Kelly Bates from the Lions.

Through trades, Winnipeg also managed to pick up defensive ends Kai Ellis, Fred Perry and Riall Johnson, defensive back James Johnson, slot back Brock Ralph, and receiver Adarius Bowman

Soon after free agency, the Bombers also retired Milt Stegall. The illustrious receiver has had a record breaking in Winnipeg and his leadership will be missed.

In the CFL Draft, the Bombers didn’t have any significant picks to work with and didn’t have any notable picks.

Perhaps the biggest news of the off-season was the announcement that the Bombers will likely get a new stadium in 2011, which would help them in a future bid to host the Grey Cup.


The biggest issue heading into the season for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is who will be the starting quarterback?

Ok, I’m sure you’ve heard it already, but when the battle for the starting job is between a third string quarterback and an unproven backup, it is a point that will be continually hammered in until it is settled.

Stefan Lefors, a third string quarterback in Edmonton, was traded to the Bombers this season. Sitting behind Ricky Ray and Jason Maas in Edmonton, Lefors had a few chances to play, but did shine on occasion. We don’t really know a lot about Stefan Lefors, and the fact that he has thrown more interceptions then touchdowns in his career has to make one wonder if he will be able to be a consistent threat.

What is a Dinwiddie? A question many fans asked when Ryan Dinwiddie started the Grey Cup game in 2007 over the injured Kevin Glenn. While Dinwiddie didn’t play terrible in the game, he did throw three interceptions as the Bombers lost the game. In 2008, Diniwddie saw limited playing time. While he did show some flashes of excellence during the season, his inexperience is a huge question mark.

With two inexperienced quarterback’s fighting it out for the job, will it even matter which one wins it? The Bombers offense is talented on paper, with up and coming star Fred Reid running the ball and a talented receiving core, but if the Bombers don’t get solid play from their quarterback, it may not matter.

There are also huge question marks on the offensive line. The Bombers line was led last season by players like Alexander Gauthier and Dan Goodspeed. With both of these players gone plus Dominic Picard, the Bombers may in fact experience a drop off in 08. Are players like Glen January, Steve Morley, Kelly Bates and Luke Fritz, who were brought in via free agency, ample replacements?

I don’t think so. While Luke Fritz and Kelly Bates are fairly solid lineman, Glen January was inconsistent last season for the Riders and Steve Morley didn’t even play.

On the defensive side of things, the Bombers look to have a fairly solid front seven, but their defensive backfield may continue to be a weakness for them this season.


With player like Derrick Armstrong, Romby Bryant and Fred Reid on the offense, the Bombers have plenty of star power, but the question marks in both the quarterback position and the offensive line are too strong to ignore.

How much faith can the Bombers put in Stefan Lefors and Ryan Dinwiddie?

One has to wonder what the mood is going to be in the Bombers locker room with Mike Kelly running the show.

Kelly has talked like he has big plans for the team, but he been spending more time apologizing for his comments then improving the team this off-season.

Winnipeg took strides backwards last season, and since they really didn’t improve during the off-season, one has to think they will continue to slide this season.

Of course, in a weak Eastern Division, anything is possible.

But the outlook doesn’t look good for a team that was “one injury away” from winning the Grey Cup game.

My Prediction: Around five to eight wins, and a third place finish in the Eastern Division.

Outstanding Player of the Year: Fred Reid

Defensive Player of the Year: Barron Simpson

Canadian of the Year: Doug Brown

Lineman of the Year: Luke Fritz

Special Teams Player of the Year: Alexis Serna

Rookie of the Year: Mike Morris

Do you have a magic crystal ball that you can use to look ahead and see what will happen in the upcoming CFL Season? If not, stay tuned for my CFL Team Previews, coming out twice week, to see how each team will fair in the upcoming season

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Training Camp Eve Cuts

With training camp starting today, the teams started trimming their rosters following the rookie minicamp, cuts came from five of the eight teams and here they are:

HAMILTON-DB Virgil Gray, WR Aaron Fairooz, DE Garrett McIntyre, WR Brandon Myles, DB Jacob Patek, DL Elton Patterson

WINNIPEG-DB Derrick Strait, QB Ryan Dinwiddie, WR Ivan Birungi, LB Bryan Wilson

SASKATCHEWAN-LB Carlos Armour, DE AJ Raebel, WR Toby Zeigler

EDMONTON-DB Brandent Englemon, S Tyler Everett, CB Darnell Terrell, LB Rory Johnson

MONTREAL-WR Kevin Marion, WR Javid James, SB Erik Galas, QB Brad Roach, QB Shane Boyd, G Ryan Karhut, CB Tim Sims, CB Kwasi Nkansah

In other news, the Montreal Alouettes have announced that starting defensive back Randee Drew will miss all of training camp still recovering from a August ACL surgery. The Alouettes have also announced the suspensions of WR Andrew Hawkins and DL Tim McGill.

Friday, June 5, 2009

My Exclusive Interview with Jerel Myers

Hey guys. I am now back with another interview. My last interview was about three months ago with Cal Poly cornerback, Scottie Cordier. I was so blessed to have that interview with him and now I am more blessed.

I was just looking up some players from the BC Lions roster. One of my favorite CFL players, Jerel Myers, was one of the names I looked up on Google. I was just scrolling through and found out he had a Facebook account.

Then I though for a second. What if it's just some fake account that a person with no life would make just so he could get some attention? Well, guess what? It wasn't. Not at all. If you look at it, you'll believe me.

I then contacted Jerel as I sent him a message on Facebook. I asked him if I could do an interview with him and I couldn't believe it...he said yes. I was so glad a player from a professional football league would like to be interviewed my some young and aspiring journalist.

Jerel Myers was one of my favorite players. I always checked out his highlights so it can help me be a good tight end in football, and it works! Myers gladly answered the questions with me.

I only gave him seven questions to answer because I didn't want to be a bother with him.

But first, when I show you that, let me give you a little background on this kid.

Myers was a standout from LSU. In 2003, he came out of college. He was labeled as undrafted for the NFL and was signed with the Bills. He played with them from 2003-2004. He then moved on with the Washington Redskins in 2005 but couldn't find success there either.

Finally, there came hope for this kid that had talent for a team. In 2005, he went on to play for the BC Lions of the CFL. He played there and in his first season, he had 36 catches for 473 yards and posted also posted two touchdowns.

He later left the Lions to play for the New Orleans VooDoo of the AFL after the 2005 season. But when Hurricane Katrina struck, he had to play for the new expansion team, the Kansas City Brigade. Myers proved he was a star their, ending his career in the AFL in 2008.

In 2009, Myers returned to the BC Lions, hoping to make a future with the team. I expect Myers to have a great season this year and hopefully getting some great passes from quarterback, Buck Pierce.

You know Jerel Myers now?

Here is the ultimate interview with BC Lions wide receiver, Jerel Myers:

Josh Dhani: What's it like returning to the BC Lions?

Jerel Myers: Its going to be exciting going back to BC. I see I have another opportunity to take care of my business so I'm going to take advantage of it.

JD: Did you ever dream of playing in the NFL?

JL:Everyone has dreams of the NFL. But things don't always go as you would plan for them to. Ive had a few opportunities but I just couldn't capitalize on them.

JD: What's it like playing with star, Geroy Simon?

JL: Geroy Simon is a great player. He taught me a lot about the CFL game just that one year when I was there. I love to see him play. I still kept up with his play even after I left.

JD: Are you going to miss playing in the Arena Football League?

JL: I'm going to miss the AFL a lot. Playing in that league for the past four years makes you used to a certain type of game and style. It was fun and I hope it comes back.

JD: I heard you actually played in the NFL. You played with the Bills from 2003-2004 and the Redskins in 2005. What was it like there?

JL: It was a good experience. Met a lot of good athletes and good people in general. I hope I get the opportunity again.

JD: What do you when it is the off-season?

JL: In the off season I coach football and substitute at my old high school. That's what I want to do once I finish playing football. I enjoy it as much as they enjoy me being out there with them.

JD: What are your goals for this season with the BC Lions?

JL: I only have one goal this season and that is to help the BC Lions win THE GREY CUP! I don't want nothing more or nothing less.

Good luck this year Jerel. Is wish you all the best. GO LIONS!

CFL 2009 Season Preview: Toronto Argonauts

“Toronto spent a lot of money during the off-season, picking up some big name free agents in the process. But will it be enough to right the sinking ship that was the Argonauts franchise last season?”

To spend, or not to spend? That was the question for the Toronto Argonauts as they headed into the offseason.

Following a dismal four win season, one that saw the Argos miss the playoffs, it was evident that change was finally necessary in Toronto.

Immediate change, that was somewhat surprising, as Toronto had boasted one of the better defenses in the league over the last couple of years and their offense had been fairly consistent. Of course, everything fell apart last season.

The Boatmen’s defense, which once struck fear in the hearts of even the most worthy adversaries, suddenly turned into one of the weakest. Toronto’s ‘bend but don’t break’ defense turned into a ‘bend and break’ defense.

On offense, the team was plagued by inconsistency. Newly acquired pivot and former Most Outstanding Player Kerry Joseph never really had a chance to adjust to Toronto’s offense, as he was constantly scrambling for his life behind a weak offense line.

Throw in a weak running game and inconsistent play from the receivers, and it wasn’t a surprise that Toronto’s offense was a recipe for disaster.

Will things change this year? Will a team that has apparently taken such a huge step back words be able to reverse their footing?

Let’s take a closer look at the Toronto Argonauts:

What’s New?

Heading into an offseason without a head coach, the Argonauts quickly went to work and interviewed potential candidates. Eventually, the Argonauts ended the speculation and picked former University of Montana Quarterback Bart Andrus.

With 25 years of coaching experience, most notably with Tennessee Titans as an assistant, Andrus has an impressive resume. He will look to have success coming into his first CFL season, much like Montreal head coach Marc Trestman had last season.

By the time free agency rolled around, two things were certain, there were plenty of big name players available, and Toronto had some money to spend. But, for a consistently cautious team when it came to signing players, no one was sure what to expect for the Argos.

All thoughts of a cautious approach were quickly silenced when Toronto signed a pair of coveted free agent lineman. One was Dominic Picard, a versatile lineman from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and the big one, former lineman of the year Rob Murphy. The Murphy signing really stood out for the Argos, as it was almost completely unexpected.

Fans believed that the potential suitors for Murphy were the Hamilton Tiger Cats and his current team the BC Lions. It was in fact believed that Murphy had a deal signed with the Tiger Cats, but Toronto stepped in with a larger contract offer, and Murphy joined the boatmen.

With Picard, and perennial force Rob Murphy anchoring the offensive line, Kerry Joseph should enjoy a bit more protection this year, and the running game may also benefit.

But Toronto was not only busy on the offensive side of the ball, as they were part of one of the biggest moves on the defensive side of things. Toronto traded defensive end Riall Johnson to Winnipeg for star middle linebacker Zeke Moreno.

“Seek and Destroy” has been one of the best middle linebackers over the last couple of seasons, and the move, coupled with the trade for linebacker Jason Pottinger and two solid linebackers in Kevin Eiben and Willie Pile leads one to believe that Toronto will have a solid line backing core this season.

In the CFL draft, Toronto’s managed to pick up defensive tackle Étienne Légaré. Légaré will likely play along side Adriano Bellie and should help the defensive line.

On the other side of things, Toronto suffered some player losses. Return specialists Dominque Dorsey fled for the NFL and the team said goodbye to a number of veterans on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Most notably was the release of veteran Mike O’shea, whose age was beginning to show last season.


Where to begin?

Though the acquisitions of Murphy and Picard on the offensive side of the ball will help stabilize and ailing Argos offensive line, it doesn’t solve the problem entirely. There aren’t a lot of reliable options on the offensive line, and with two new players, it will take time for the line to gel.

This will lead to mistakes on the offensive line, which could in turn lead to a lot of pressure and sacks on pivot Kerry Joseph.

Speaking of Kerry Joseph, the Argos will need a huge effort from him this season if they hope to improve. A quarterback is always a crucial position, and Joseph needs to effectively run the offense.

But even if Joseph gets good blocking from his offensive line, he won’t necessarily be successful. Joseph was inconsistent last season and besides Arland Bruce, didn’t really develop chemistry with his receivers. Joseph will need to improve his accuracy and continue to use his legs to terrorise opposing defenses.

Another huge question is, who will carry the rock?

Jamal Robertson was effective at times in the backfield last season, but his play was hardly consistent. The only other options seem to be Jeff Johnson, or Tyler Ebel, who was injured all last season. Since Kerry Joseph does struggle throwing the ball at times, Toronto will be in trouble without a solid running game.

Unfortunately, a defense that was once a sure bet to be solid for the Argonauts no longer is. Now, questions will be raised about the Argos defense as we lead up to the start of the season.

The aforementioned linebacking core looks solid, and the defensive line has potential. But you have to remember that Toronto’s front seven got run over last season, especially by Jesse Lumsden, and a couple of new players may not change that.

The once star studded secondary can also be viewed as a question mark.


With the East being bad for so many years, Toronto has managed to make the playoffs most years by securing a home playoff spot in the east. Last year, the Argo’s learned that if you don’t make improvements to you own team, you are eventually going to move backwards. Toronto’s management went out and snatched up a lot of free agents to help.

The east is once again weak this year, which makes a playoff appearance not completely unrealistic for Toronto. Winnipeg faces questions surrounding their quarterback situation and Hamilton has been bad for so long.

While Toronto could fight for a possible second place finish, they would need a lot of things to go right. If Toronto develops a solid running back, their offensive line provides protection for Kerry Joseph, and the defense improves, Toronto may make the playoffs this season.

But, I highly doubt it.

My Prediction: Around four to seven wins, and a last place finish in the Eastern Division.

Outstanding Player of the Year: Kerry Joseph

Defensive Player of the Year: Zeke Moreno

Canadian of the Year: Kevin Eiben

Lineman of the Year: Rob Murphy

Special Teams Player of the Year: Whoever emerges as the starting kicker in Toronto

Rookie of the Year: Étienne Légaré

Do you have a magic crystal ball that you can use to look ahead and see what will happen in the upcoming CFL Season? If not, stay tuned for my CFL Team Previews, coming out twice week, to see how each team will fair in the upcoming season

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

BC Lions: Sign Their Five Draft Picks

The Lions have signed their five draft picks from 2009. They agreed to the terms of the deals, but they were not released.

“Each of these players will be given every opportunity to make our roster and I believe they are equally excited about the chance to do so,” Wally Buono told

The five draft picks they signed were Tang Bacheyie (defensive back, above), James Yurichuk (linebacker, photo), Matt Carter (wide receiver, photo), Matt Morencie (offensive lineman, photo), and Jonathan Pierre-Etienne (defensive lineman, photo).

Let's hope these guys perform well this year. Good luck this year, guys, and welcome to the BC Lions!

Monday, June 1, 2009

BC Lions: Sign Two Running Backs and One Defensive Back

The Lions have signed three players, two running backs and one defensive back. The two backs are Charles Pierre (above) and Martell Mallett (photo). The defensive back is Darren Tony (photo).

Mallett played at Arkansas-Pine Bluff from 2005-2008 and played 42 games. He had 582 carries for 2,888 yards, including 27 touchdowns. He was also the team's Offensive Player of the Year in 2008.

I expect Mallett to make the team and do excellent. If you look at his photo, he looks like a big, strong, and physical back that can literally punish defenses. He could be a beneficial asset to the squad of the BC Lions.

Now to Pierre.

Pierre played for Florida-Atlantic and also played the same time Mallett did (2005-2008). He was always the team's leading rusher, having over 1,000 yards and eight hard-earned touchdowns in his senior year.

What a way to end the year. In his four seasons at FAU, he piled on 3,058 yards and 23 well-played touchdowns.

I expect Pierre to make the roster as well because he is good at earning yards. He can be a special back to the squad of British Columbia.

Now to Toney.

Toney played with Arkansas State from 2004-2007. He had six picks for 111 yards and one touchdown in his "picking-off" career. He was also a decent kick-returner, having 1,513 yards and two touchdowns.

Toney also played with the Panthers but couldn't manage to make the squad. I expect Toney to make the team as well as he had some NFL experience, and had time guarding the fabulous Steve Smith.

If Toney can guard Smith pretty well, I expect him to be a valuable corner to the BC Lions defensive squad.

So those are the signings. The BC Lions made some pretty solid picks and look to stride this season, looking for another Grey Cup after winning in 2006. They are deeply hungry for one, and these signings will make them the contenders for the Cup.