The Great (CFL) Debate – Part 2

Guest Blogger | Updated Aug 11, 2011

Written By Guest Blogger: Jenn Cox

Wanna get the goods on last week’s CFL games? Or maybe you’re not really a total CFL fan (yet)? Then look no further – four of football’s biggest fans get together to discuss who played well (and who didn’t), what they love about the CFL (and what they hate), and everything in between.

The Old-Timer With arguably the best CFL QB of all time, the Als are a throwing team first, evidenced by the record that Anthony Calvillo broke this week for all-time completions. But using both an air and ground attack with Brandon Whittaker (Avon who?) they are a formidable force.

That may have been their Achilles heel last week vs. Hamilton when they abandoned their run attack to post their second consecutive loss. This week was different vs. the Argos, with a near perfect effort on both counts. Calvillo completed 80% of his passes, and Whittaker picked up a total of 162 yards while fullback Dahrran Diedrick tallied three TDs.

Marc Trestman’s Als were back with a disciplined attack (only four penalties – two for no yards) and everyone doing their jobs. The offensive line provided good pass protection for Calvillo and opened holes for Whittaker. The offense kept racking up yards and points through all four quarters. The Argos, staving off their fifth consecutive loss kept pace for the first half, headed to the dressing room trailing the Als 20-13. But the tone for the Argos dismal second-half was set during the waning seconds to halftime when running back Chad Kackert, in an effort to improve field position for a late field goal, mis-timed stepping out of bounds and the clock ran out, negating any chance of narrowing the Al’s lead.

The Als’ defense stiffened, putting pressure on QB Lemon and his sputtering offence, and the rest of the game was all Alouettes. The only negative… Tim Maypray and his kick returns are anything but spectacular.

So, this old guy is wondering… what’s Johnny Rodgers doing these days?

The Weekend Warrior It seems that Argo Defensive Coordinator Chip Garber has paid the price for what could be considered the league’s worst defense if you’re to judge solely by their Points Against, which stands at a league-leading 178. Not that all of the Argo woes rest on Garber’s shoulders, but you have to start somewhere, right? A team might be able to get away with those numbers if they weren’t coupled with an anemic offence, whose points production surpasses only sad-sack Saskatchewan.

The Argos “D” certainly had little effect on the machine-like Anthony Calvillo, who can now add the “Most Completions Ever” feather to his cap, in addition to leading the pack in completions, yards and TD’s this year. Everyone else is a wannabe. You could cut the irony with a knife when TSN scheduled episode 2 of “The Extra Yard” following the lacklustre Argo performance against Montreal. The Extra Yard is a behind-the-scenes look at the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Boatmen of Spring Training, full of hope and promise. It was surrealistic to hear the gravelly-voiced announcer intone how the one and five Argonauts “…will certainly be a force to be reckoned with…” and “…will likely challenge for the Grey Cup as long as they remain healthy…”

Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda…

The Sports Encyclopaedia The salaries of CFL athletes are another reason I hate, despise, don’t like, whatever, the CFL. We like to envy professional athletes because they are physical specimens who can do things that we can only dream of. Not only that but they also make money we can’t fathom…

Or at least they should.

The average NFL player makes $1.9m per season, salary we would undoubtedly look up to. However the average CFL athlete makes a pathetic $45,000 a year, which is only around $4,000 more than average middle-class Canadian salary. Four thousand –

I’m sorry but that number doesn’t inspire me.

In fact, let’s just say that I’d much rather watch a postman deliver mail or an exterminator kill bugs than have to watch a CFL game (actually, I think the crossing guard on my street used to be a running back for the Stamps…)

The Football Wife So ladies, did you watch this week’s CFL games? Kinda fun eh? It is when you can understand more of what’s going on and why your husband is pounding the couch cushion into oblivion. It was a great week to watch – records were broken, new players took to the field, hits were hard, and families came together in stadiums and living rooms to watch another great week of Canadian football (ok, maybe not the Sports Encyclopaedia’s family, but everyone else in the country).

In preparation for this week’s games, we’ll go over a few quarterbacks whose names you should know…

Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo – He may be 38 but he’s breaking records left and right. He’s won three Grey Cups, including the last two, and next to Doug Flutie (another name to etch onto your cheat sheet) he’s probably one of the best CFL quarterbacks of all time.

Ricky Ray of the Edmonton Eskimos – Playing arena, NFL as well as CFL football, Ray has the all-time record for his team for career passing yards.

Saskatchewan Roughrider Darian Durant – After playing American college football, Durant became a CFL West Division All-Star in 2009 with the Roughriders.

Drop any one of these three names during this week’s games and you’ll knock your partner’s socks off when you flaunt your new found CFL knowledge.