Alex's CFL Tuesday Takes - July 10th, 2018
Published: Monday, Jul 9th 2018, 10:07pm
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
It's Not How, It's How Many
It's easier in this world to critique than to give praise and that's what's going on in Riderville right now. Sure, the Riders beat Hamilton 18-13 on Thursday Night Football, but they did so in such a way that the hope is not completely installed back into the team. I could write a thesis on why Chris Jones has bungled the QB rotation, the offensive Offensive Line, putting your best offensive weapon on defense, etc. But I'm not going to do that here.
A win is a win and they all count the same in the standings. How many games has Calgary won like that, with a dominating defense and did just enough on offense to get by? At the end of the day, no one will remember that when the final standings are done. All we will see is the win-loss record. Ugly win? Nope. No such thing... winning is NEVER ugly. This was about as unpretty as a win can get, but it's 2 points in the standings for a team that desperately needed it. If the Riders can get even a remotely pedestrian offense going, they are going to be TOUGH to beat. Luckily for them, they hit the bye week on a high and go into a really tough stretch of the schedule and 2-2 is MUCH better than 1-3 going into those games.
I do have to wonder about Hamilton though. They were looking VERY good the previous few weeks and totally dominated the stat sheet in this game, but came away with only field goals. Not sure why they stopped running the ball after the first quarter, but that was a huge reason why they lost. My only issue with this game was that it wasn't a blowout either way so that I could have seen Johnny Football play, but I digress.
One Win Wonder
Montreal went back to their poor ways after a stunning win in Saskatchewan last week. Ottawa brought them back to reality really quickly and it just goes to show how BAD the Riders played a few weeks ago to lose to the Als. Montreal has a few very good players, but the rest are just not pro caliber yet... at least not collectively. General Manager Kavis Reed won't last much longer as the losses pile up, especially at home where they had their lowest attendance in 2 decades. The fans are starting to give up and that's just not good.
As for Ottawa, well we all expected them to win and they did. I guess the disappointing part was that it was only by 10 points.
More Air Horns Please
That's right, I said it. I LOVED the air horn guys in Toronto! Isn't being loud part of the home field advantage? Doesn't everyone make fun of Toronto for having the smallest group of fans and not showing up to games? So when people actually show up and make noise, you hate them? C'mon... No, it wasn't the most pleasant noise to hear for a good part of 3 hours, but the fans in Toronto were having a blasty blast on Saturday and that's all that mattered! PLUS THE ESKIMOS LOST! Give them all horns next time! Make it a huge party atmosphere and make players HATE going there. My only suggestion is to have the audio guy in the truck work that fader a bit for the TV audience.
But in all seriousness, BMO Field, fix your endzones. Watching Derel Walker slip on that abomination of an endzone (while resulting in an Argos interception, which I liked) was a joke. This is a professional league and this is about player safety. Make the whole field artificial turf or make it all grass. Doesn't matter. But having both? That's almost as bad as Oakland Coliseum when they have their baseball infield still in there for an NFL game. Not quite that level, but it needs to be addressed for 2019. It's a pro league for pro players, let's give them pro stadiums to work their craft on.
They Got Their Nichols Back
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers got their QB Matt Nichols back and served notice to the rest of the CFL that they are a force to be reckoned with. Yeah, they beat a BC Lions team that looked uninterested for the entire game, but damn did the Bombers look good doing it. Matt Nichols, while still not considered an elite QB, played a very solid game... a game in which he said he didn't take one hit from the Lions defense! I'm not sure I've ever seen a QB not take a single hit in a game, but my goodness, that is CRAZY!
Darvin Adams was good, Andrew Harris was good and Adam Bighill was his normal beastly self, including a pick six against his former team. The wild west is in full swing and the Bombers will be in the thick of it all season.
Will the Real Jonathan Jennings Please Stand Up?
2016 was a flash in the pan. 2017 and 2018 (so far) is the real Jonathan Jennings. He has all the physical tools to be a very good CFL QB, but he just can't put it together with the mental side of the game. He was GREAT in 2016, average at his absolute best in 2017 and is fading again in 2018. Is the pressure of Travis Lulay coming back from injury affecting Jennings' game? The leash on Jennings can't be that long, especially if the Lions start losing ground on the others in the west. It's not time to panic on the west coast just yet, but it's time to at least keep the button within arms reach. In Wally Buono's final year, I doubt he wants to go out with a QB that regressed in back to back years and is making Rider fans completely forget that the team passed on him a few years ago at their mini-camp.