To The Point: CFL Week 5 Recap; Has The League Compromised Its New Rules?

Another week has come and gone in the CFL and once again the week ends with a disappointing Rider loss.

Here are my running thoughts from this week’s action including an argument that the CFL is listening to its fans and changing rules mid-stream.

Here We go:

Hamilton 31 – Saskatchewan 21:

The contest starts with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats moving the Ball into Rider territory. The drive stalls at the Rider 51 and instead of trying to pin the Riders deep Kent Austin elects to go for a 58-yard-field goal. Obviously, Kent feels the Riders are a fragile bunch and he knows an early lead will help his offence enormously.

A nice return by Weston Dressler can turn the tide in the Riders favor if they can capitalize which they do with a Paul McCallum Field goal.

McCallum’s consistency is a hug plus for the Riders.

Scanning the Riders sideline and Taj Smith is on the bench. I thought the Riders really didn’t want much to do with him for the rest of the year. Interesting that he is back around the team.

Commentators on TV are continuing to talk about how little things are adding up into big things for the Riders. Right on cue Chris Getzlaf seems to lose his place on the field and cuts his route off short of the yard sticks. The completion is made but the Riders have to kick. Down and distance awareness has to be more of a priority for the Green and White.

Opposite end of the spectrum, what a great decision by Weston Dressler. After a botched lateral pass he throws an incomplete pass instead of taking a 13-yard loss. That’s a great heads up play!

The Rider injury carousel has taken another spin as National Full-Back Spence Moore heads to the Rider locker room. Done for the day.

Have the Riders outcoached themselves this game by not giving the football to Jerome Messam? I personally would have made Hamilton stop him before moving away from him. The Rider ‘O’ hasn’t afforded that opportunity to the league leader in yards from scrimmage.

Into the third quarter and the first Illegal contact on a receiver penalty is called despite a number of obvious ones on both sides of the ball. The game ends with a total of two such penalties.

Speaking of penalties Brandon Banks has taken a bone head one with his team knocking on the door. I said it last year after he was too emotional to continue in the Grey Cup after a kick return was called back because of an illegal block that I wouldn’t want a selfish player like that on my team. The kid has talent. He needs to figure out a way to keep himself mentally in games.

Kevin Glenn is taking a beating in this game. Unfortunately, that beating will not allow him to complete the game. Is it a protection thing? Is It lack of blitz recognition or is there a confidence issue as the Ti-Cats seems to have a decided edge mentally.

Is this the point Rider Nation will talk about all week? After stopping Hamilton’s offence on first down, one of few first down plays that isn’t successful, a penalty is called on the Tabbies and instead of 2nd and 10 the Riders take the penalty to make it 1st and 15. Hamilton goes on to score on the drive. Ooops?

Young Brett Smith is now in the game for the Riders and you can see the wind come out of the sails of the Riders.

There is no one stepping up and leading this club! I do give credit to coordinator Jacques Chapdelaine who is moving the pocket trying to help Smith be successful. He just needs more time in the pocket.

The defence is back on the field and once again there is absolutely no pressure coming from the D-Line. The only way the Riders are getting pressure is by sending 7 or 8 but Kent Austin and Zac Collaros are doing a masterful job of picking it up.

Big concern this lack of pressure. As the commentators are asking why the Riders have so few take-aways this year there is your answer. The Rider defence is not making any offence uncomfortable.

The final gun sounds after the Riders turn the ball over on downs after a questionable third and short throw allows Hamilton to run out the clock.

Make the final Hamilton 31 – Saskatchewan 21. The Riders are 0-5 and have blown a fourth, fourth quarter lead this year. Yikes.

Ottawa 29 – Calgary 26

The game begins with Rod Black welcoming future hall of famer Henry Burris to the field. Am I the only one that isn’t so sure? Hank has some great stats in part because of his longevity and the fact that he doesn’t get hurt. That being said with only one Grey Cup ring I am not sure that he has lifted his team to greatness, which I think is a big part of being called to the hall.

I love coach’s decision making processes in deciding for a one or two point convert. Hard to argue that there may be a better shot at getting 2 than one given the inconsistent kicking game.

That being said it’s incredible that the Ottawa REDBLACKS are denied a two point convert because they fumbled the ball into the end zone and then didn’t immediately recover the ball. Instant replay determines that the ball was fumbled and the correct ruling is made according to the rule book (putting the ball back on the 1 yard line but because it was a convert you don’t get a second chance to score). BUT there has to be some common sense here not to mention that the official on the field erred in calling the convert good. Good grief. What if Ottawa loses by 2 points.

An obvious incompletion late in the game is not being challenged by Ottawa. Would be nice to know If the REDBLACKS are out of challenges OR if they are saving their final challenge for a possible Hail Mary pass at the end of the game. Yes the coaches will do this.

Into the second half and the first illegal contact on a receiver penalty has been flagged. Again there have been at least five other possible calls that could have been made thus far in this game but haven’t. Hmmmm?

Delbert Avarado has missed a convert and a field goal that could be the difference between winning this one for Ottawa. I wonder if Chris Milo is sitting by his phone in Regina?

Jon Cornish has been hurt. Turns out it is a broken thumb and he could be out a while again.

There is no doubt that Cornish is in a class all of his own but are the injuries he is sustaining starting to become a concern? He missed almost half of last season. Then again he did come back to lead his team to a Grey Cup.

Off to overtime we go! Look what a pass rush can do. Bo Levi Mitchell has fumbled Ottawa recovers. Two safe plays later Avardo redeems himself and the REDBLACKS breathe a sigh of relief. Milo’s phone doesn’t ring. Make the final 29-26.

Toronto 30 – B.C. 27:

The BC Lions are storming out of the game with a 21-0 lead thanks to a stellar defence and confident offence.

Trevor Harris is struggling with the Lions coverages and blitz package.

The call of the week this week seems to be illegal downfield coverage on punts. Every game has had at least one of these calls made.

Look out Toronto is coming back as the Boatmen seem to have made some really good adjustments on the fly.

Shift to the second half and with momentum on the Toronto side BC has been stopped on a 3rd and 4 gamble. I say we have a TSN turning point.

End of the third quarter and there is mass confusion as to if the quarter has actually expired. Come on CFL it makes the league look bush especially determining when the 3-minute warning should be given. Why not make them hard times? Just like in the NFL. Will cause less confusion.

Here comes the illegal contact on a receiver penalty. Not one but two in rapid succession in the fourth quarter. I guess the league is showing that it still cares about the new rules, despite ample opportunities to make the calls earlier.

If you are not sure if the Argos make a catch all you need to do is watch the ball as every receiver seems to give it a spin no matter the significance or difficulty. Why doesn’t the league call taunting on these?

Lions kicker Richie Leone is amazing. No wonder BC let Paul McCallum go. Leone has a leg!

Unfortunately the Lions can’t convert late in the game and its victory formation for Toronto. The Argos marathon road trip is almost over!

The final score Toronto 30 – B.C. 27.

Edmonton 32 – Winnipeg 3:

Yikes this game is a snooze-fest. Seven total points in the opening half (albeit in bad weather) wow!

Of note another horse collar penalty has been called. They seem to be up this year!

Here’s another first half kick and another interior lineman downfield early call. Hmmm, perhaps the call of the week.

As much as the Riders may not use Jerome Messam I can’t believe the Eskimos unwillingness to use Calvin McCarty. He seems to make things happen every time he touches the ball.

Matt Nichols seems to be struggling mightily despite having the lead. He looks uncomfortable but definitely isn’t getting any help from his receivers. Too many drops.

Speaking of drops Drew Willy is twisted as he is dropped and is done for the day. Bring in Brian Brohm.

That’s not the only quarterbacking change as the Eskimos bring in James Franklin as the rain stops. Franklin looks good but his receivers are making plays for him. Shot of Nichols on the sidelines and he doesn’t look too happy. This could be something.

Brian Brohm continues to struggle mightily. Where is Robert Marve? Everyone is asking and finally TSN tells us that despite him being dressed he is too hurt to play. What does that mean? When was the last time he was on the field?

Adarius Bowman I’m not sure how he has turned the switch on in Edmonton. He looks so average with bad drops for a half now looks all world. Consistency was there last year. How long will Edmonton allow him to be hit and miss?

The Eskimos defence has to be the best in the league. Winnipeg as no answer for what the Eskies are showing them.
Part of that is the fact that Bombers receivers are being man handled down field. Head Coach Mike O’Shea sees it and can’t do a thing about it.

Illegal Contact on a receiver penalties for this game 0!!!!! Hard to believe especially given that the first half was played in brutal conditions.

Now the game is getting out of hand as the Eskimos have amassed a 29 point lead. BUT is this the ultimate show of disrespect? Edmonton is continuing to rush 8 against the hapless Bombers. Winnipeg looks like they just want to get to the airport while the Eskimos are padding stats and perhaps the ego of Head Coach Chris Jones. I just don’t get it.

Are they trying to hurt Brohm? Send a statement to the league? Embarrass O’Shea? Wow!

Make the final 32-3 Edmonton.

In conclusion another tough week for the Riders. Can they turn the ship around? All of a sudden I am not so sure.

Edmonton is flexing its’ muscles in the west and with James Franklin coming on last week they are getting some depth at the QB potision.

Is Ottawa that good or are they getting teams at vulnerable times?

Hamilton will be the class of the east by the end of the season.

How about Toronto this season had disaster all over it, starting the season with no home games until August and Ricky Ray on the shelf. The team has survived and could be a force to be reckoned with.

The stand-out for me this week is the number of Illegal Contact on Receiver penalties. Way down with only 4 being called in four games. Through my eyes I spotted just as many instances of contact in the secondary but surprising the flags are gone. So has the CFL caved to pressure from fans and analysts to put the flags away? OR have the players figured it out? I’m going with the earlier.