December 13th, 2017

Inside the CFL: Oh Canada


By Mo Cranker on October 10, 2017.

At the end of the post-game interview, Ottawa quarterback Trevor Harris, fresh off leading his team from down 19 points to a 30-25 victory at B.C. asked, “Did Sask. win?” Indeed they did, meaning the defending Grey Cup champions were just one point from first place in the East. Even the Regina pundits picked the hometown Argos over the Green Machine. Oh, ye of little faith. Down 13-3, sophomore quarterback Brandon Bridge led his team back from a 16-3 deficit for a thrilling 27-24 win. The Riders are tied with Edmonton for third with sixteen points. If the injury to Blue Bomber pivot Matt Nichols is more than a reported torn fingernail,Saskatchewan has an excellent chance of finishing second and hosting the West Division semi-final.

Before the game, most attention was focused on former Alabama All-American running back Trent Richardson, third pick over-all in the2012 NFL draft by Cleveland. Over three seasons he played for the Browns, Indianapolis, Oakland and Baltimore. He is 27,5’9″, 225 lbs. He is No. 8 on David Noto’s Sports CheatSheet list of the biggest NFL draft busts of all time. (Washington States’ QB Ryan Leaf, drafted second overall by San Diego in 1993 was his top choice). Richardson last played late in 2014. In February he was arrested on domestic violence charges in Hoover, Alabama.

This has been a good year for running backs. Alex Green made C.J. Gable, traded to Edmonton, expendable in Hamilton. James Wilder, Jr. has been a big reason why Toronto sits in first place. He was doing well against Saskatchewan Saturday before being injured in the second quarter. It is no coincidence the Argos faltered thereafter.

Redblack William Powell set a single game team rushing record Sept. 29 in a loss to the Green and White while Stampeder Terrence Williams ran for 156 yards and 3 TDs in relief of Jerome Messam, the league’s leading rusher. Winnipeg Canadian Andrew Harris is on pace to be the first to pick up over 1000 yards rushing and 1000 receiving in a single season.

June Jones took over a 0-8 Ti-Cat team in August. Under his direction, Hamilton has won four of six games. Since assuming control, the Cats have been picking up over twice as much rushing yardage than when Kent Austin was coach. Against Winnipeg last Friday, Green picked up 87 yards. In his CFL debut against B.C. last month, he ran for 140 yards. Andrew Harris had 26 yards against Hamilton, a 30-13 loss.

Trent Richardson was a non-factor against the Argos with 20 yards on five carries. Coach Chris Jones stubbornly refuses to recognize he has an excellent running back right under his nose, Canadian Kienan LaFrance. Another homebrew, quarterback Brandon Bridge has been the key to victory down the stretch. He’s big, mobile, with a cannon for an arm, all qualities Kevin Glenn lacks. Maybe I’m too hard on everybody’s favourite backup but I made it clear from the pre-season that Saskatchewan can’t win the Grey Cup with Glenn at the helm. I know he sustained a hit to his hand but he hasn’t played well for several games. As the season wears on, his effectiveness wears off. In Toronto, Glenn was 3 for 8 for 29 yards before being replaced after five possessions. Bridge completed 20 of 28 for 292 yards, two TDs and a victory.

What’s the difference between the two? Obviously Glenn has more experience but he doesn’t seem to learn much from it. Bridge is faster, quicker.Defences can’t set up and wait for him like they do with Glenn. I didn’t think Bridge would develop so soon but he has.Glenn should now return to his back-up job as a journeyman quarterback. Don’t hold your breath.

According to Roughrider writer Ian Hamilton, after sinking the good ship Argonaut, Chris Jones said, “Glenn wasn’t feeling it tonight, wasn’t seeing it and they were getting to him…If they’re getting to him early in the game, that’s not his cup of tea. But he’s a great leader and he will still be our starting quarterback. Y’all can debate about that all you want, but that’s what it’s going to be.”

Pity.

Graham Kelly has covered the CFL for the Medicine Hat News for 45 years. Feedback for this column can be emailed to sports@medicinehatnews.com.

Share this story:

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.