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By Ted Michaels, CFL Editor - Archive - Email
Just sayin'
Hamilton, ON (Sports Network) - We're rapidly approaching the halfway mark of the CFL season, also known as my favorite long weekend of the year, and next to the Grey Cup, my favorite weekend Labor Day.

So, without any further delay, a review of the season, with some predictions.

Just sayin'.

To wit:

Winnipeg Blue Bomber fans are gaga over the performance of third-string quarterback Joey Elliott last week in a 32-25 win over Hamilton.

Elliott completed 33-of-44 passes for 406 yards and one touchdown in the win.

But, if Blue Bombers fans think their team has turned the corner on what's been a woeful season, they should keep these facts in mind: the Tiger-Cats gave the ball up six times; four on fumbles (three by quarterback Henry Burris) and twice on downs.

And Elliott completed a lot of those passes against a Tiger-Cats defense that had, for the most part, zero pass rush, which led to suspect coverage in the secondary.

The Tiger-Cats defense allowed Elliott to rack up numbers that compared to Doug Flutie or Warren Moon during their days in the CFL.

The Blue Bombers host the BC Lions Friday. If Elliott gets the start and puts up those numbers, then, perhaps, the fans in Winnipeg can get excited.

They should keep this in mind: The Bombers didn't win the game, the Tiger-Cats lost it.

Just sayin'.

Speaking of the Tiger-Cats, looks like the preseason predictions are coming true. Most pundits said the defense would be the main area of concern, specifically the pass rush.

The numbers bear that out. The Tiger-Cats are dead last in the CFL in sacks with just eight. By comparison, the BC Lions lead with 19, followed by Edmonton with 16.

Hamilton also is last in several other defensive categories, including average yards allowed per game (a whopping 427), last in yards rushing allowed per game (138), fewest first downs (163), fewest plays from scrimmage (576) and in interceptions (three).

Those numbers mean two things: The Tiger-Cats defense can't stop anybody, and consequently, are on the field way too long.

The 3-4 Tiger-Cats visit the 4-3 Montreal Alouettes Thursday night. If Elliott can pile up over 400 yards in passing against the Hamilton defense, what is Anthony Calvillo, who merely leads the CFL in passing yardage with 2,328, going to do?

A loss to Montreal means the Tiger-Cats head into a crucial home-and-home series with the Toronto Argos with a record of 3-5.

All that talent, and it's all talk. The Tiger-Cats are the most disappointing team in the CFL.

Just sayin'.

Meanwhile, the Alouettes made a statement Friday night, when they went into Edmonton and manhandled the Eskimos, 38-25

What made the victory impressive was the way they won the game. The Als were without two major cogs in their offensive wheel: tailback Brandon Whitaker and receiver Jamel Richardson.

So what happened? Victor Anderson, who replaced Whittaker, carried 18 times for 102 yards, and Brandon London, Richardson's replacement, had four catches for 91 yards.

Edmonton had allowed just nine touchdowns in the first six games, but Montreal scored five majors in the win, which was the first home loss of the year for Edmonton.

With that type of depth, the Alouettes, despite being tied with Toronto for first place in the East, are, from this corner, the team to beat in the east.

Just sayin'.

The Argos went into Calgary and beat the Stampeders, 22-1, on Saturday night. All eyes were on Chad Kackert, who replaced Cory Boyd, who was released, then signed by Edmonton.

Kackert carried 14 times for 94 yards, while Ricky Ray completed 21-of-33 passes for 316 yards and a touchdown. On the other hand, Boyd carried just two times for two yards in the Edmonton loss to Montreal.

The TSN broadcasts have shown, on more than one occasion, that Boyd was a terrible blocking back, which backs up what Argos brass said when it released him. And the whispers to Inside the CFL insist Boyd was anything but a team player.

Despite the fact that Argos fans were upset, looks like management made the right move.

Just sayin'.

As far as the rest of the league, after starting off 0-3, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have fallen with a thud. They've lost four in a row, and the last one was a 24-5 stinker at BC Place.

The offense, to say the least, was offensive, with just 261 yards and four turnovers.

The Rider fans are now starting to call for back-up Drew Willy to take the place of starter Darian Durant.

All the angst that Rider Nation is feeling can be put to rest with a win in the next game, Saturday against visiting Calgary.

A loss and it may time to question the future of head coach Corey Chamblin.

Just sayin'.

The Calgary Stampeders reverted to their old habits in the loss to Toronto. Stupid retaliation penalties from Jon Cornish and Nik Lewis and a key pass interference penalty by defensive back Keon Raymond aided the Argos in the win, while quarterback Kevin Glenn threw a key interception late in the game.

The Stamps, despite saying they wanted to dominate at home, are 2-2 at McMahon Stadium.

They appear to be the CFL's most overrated team.

Just sayin'.

The Edmonton Eskimos, were exposed by the Alouettes in their loss to Montreal. Their defense had its worst game of the year.

Was it an aberration?


But, a defense can't consistently keep bailing out the offense. At some point, the offense has to reciprocate.

Do they have enough offense, led by quarterback Steven Jyles, to get to the Grey Cup? No.

Just sayin'.

And, finally, it may have been ugly, but the BC Lions won their fifth game of the year, when they beat the Riders. They're the class of the league, and will be in the Grey Cup game again.

Just sayin'.

Ted Michaels is the host of the Fifth Quarter on AM900 CHML.

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