Tuesday Morning QB (CFL Week 19)

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The CFL season is finished and the road to the Grey Cup has begun as once again the last week of the CFL season has come and gone. It was not an extremely interesting last week of the season with every team clinching their spots. For some teams it was time to get that last adjustment in without risk of losing any ground. Other teams it was a chance to see what they have going into the offseason as the last game of the year would act almost as a last second tryout. Other teams wouldn’t even bother learning anything about their team in the game as they would prefer to start their back up players to their starters. It is a common practice in football as the top teams in the league look to rest their best players as the season winds down. The teams have taken a side in the debate that rages on every single year that the season ends with teams firmly in playoff spots. On one side is the thought that there is no reason to risk an injury to their best players right before the games become more important. There is a sense to this side of the argument as taking a risk with your best players before the biggest games could bite you in a big way. The Calgary Stampeders would figure this out first hand in the final week of the season when they decided to play their starters. The Stamps were in first place and were getting ready for a bye in the first week of the playoffs. So the coaching staff would decide that their best option was to start their star players rather than giving them two weeks off before another game. The choice would prove to be a bad one as the final game of the season would see Micah Johnson, Demonte Bolden, and Marquay McDaniel all go down with injuries. All would be serious injuries too as all three players will be out for the remainder of the season. For the Stamps it means the loss of two starting defensive lineman and a very good receiving threat. It was fuel to the argument that starting the top players in a game that means nothing is not the way to go. Instead the option would be to sit these players and keep them on the sidelines where they cannot risk injury. That would also mean sitting the top players on the team for a week when they should be getting going. For the Stampeders it would mean sitting their top players for two weeks before they played a meaningful game again. The Stamps would decide against that as they would prefer to have their starters ready to play a big game in two weeks. It is the other side of the argument as others believe that sitting players a week or longer before their next game will not help anything. The thought is that players who sit too long only to practice and simulate games will be shocked by the pace of a real game. They run the risk of becoming rusty before a game that could end the season and when the star players are rusty it is not a good thing for the team. The Toronto Argonauts would be a team that would go against this thought this week when they sat their best players. It is not known yet whether or not the Argos will get an advantage from this decision or not. They will rest next week and will see Ricky Ray, Chad Owens, and Chad Kackert all take two weeks off before facing real competition. For Kackert it was more of an injury decision with Kackert still not fully recovered from injuries suffered this year. For Ray, who has only played 2 games since returning from a stint on the 9-game injury list, and Owens it was a decision to reduce the risk of injury. If these players come back in the Eastern Finals and are slow to catch up to the opponents it will be too late and their season will be over. That has yet to be seen but if it happens there will be more fuel to the argument of starting top players. Either way you look at it the decision to start or sit players has risks and rewards for both sides of the coin. Decisions were made in the last week and only in the division finals will everyone find out just how important this last week was for the 101st Grey Cup.

 

Fourth Down:
(Everything else about Week 19)

Record on the Last Day
The Montreal Alouettes have not had the best season this year but that wouldn’t stop Chip Cox from putting up career numbers when he earned his 111th tackle of the year breaking the Montreal record for most tackles in a season

Nominees are in
The award winner nominees for each team have been announced and one of the most interesting battles could be for the MOP as Jon Cornish and Ricky Ray could be up for the league award pitting Cornish against another Argo after losing out to Chad Owens in 2012

Among the Best All-Time
It may go down as a record that may deserve an asterisk as Ricky Ray would break the record for the best completion percentage in a season, 77.2%, but would do so after missing 11 games in the season

Too Much Losing
The Edmonton Eskimos would finally take a step towards changing the attitude in the locker room after another bad season firing Kavis Reed and beginning the search for a new head coach and a new direction

 

CFL Standings:

Eastern Division:
1. y-Toronto Argonauts (22)
2. x-Hamilton Tiger-Cats (20)
3. x-Montreal Alouettes (16)
4. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (6)

Western Division:
1. y-Calgary Stampeders (28)
2. x-Saskatchewan Roughriders (22)
3. x-B.C. Lions (22)
4. Edmonton Eskimos (8)

 
y-Clinched First Place
x-Clinched Playoff spot

 

Scores:
Montreal Alouettes 23 – 20 Toronto Argonauts
– The Alouettes would start all of their starters for the game looking to get some momentum going into the Eastern Semi-Finals and they would get it beating the rival Argonauts who would go into the game without the majority of their starters

B.C. Lions 26 – 7 Calgary Stampeders
– The Lions would see the return of Travis Lulay in perfect time for the playoffs as he would join Thomas DeMarco and Buck Pierce in leading the Lions to the win over the Stampeders who would lose three of their starters after choosing not to rest their top players

Hamilton Tiger-Cats 37 – 7 Winnipeg Blue Bombers
– The Ti-Cats are getting ready to host the opening playoff game and they looked for some momentum in doing so when they would easily get by the Blue bombers who seemed just happy to be finished their bad season

Edmonton Eskimos 30 – 26 Saskatchewan Roughriders
– The Riders were hoping to go into the playoffs with a win that would help them to a home Grey Cup but the Eskimos would not allow it as they would end on a bright spot after a season that would eventually cost Kavis Reed his job

 

Next Week:

Eastern Division Semi-Finals:
Montreal Alouettes vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Sunday November 10th; 1:00 pm ET)
– The Alouettes have never really been able to get into a groove this year but they are hoping that the playoffs are when they will come alive as Troy Smith leads the Als into Guelph to take on a very good Ti-Cats team

Western Division Semi-Finals:
B.C. Lions vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders (Sunday November 10th; 4:30 pm ET)
– The Riders are hoping for a home Grey Cup but they will need to get by the Lions who will love to have Travis Lulay back to help them get back on track after they stumbled into the playoffs but are hoping to get back to the Grey Cup

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