Tuesday Morning QB (CFL Semi-Finals)

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The Grey Cup playoffs are underway and two teams have had their hopes crushed in the semi-finals.

It was a pretty predictable the way things ended in the semi-finals as the two worst playoff teams took their losses.

In the east it was the Toronto Argonauts who lost the tight battle with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

It was expected as the Argos had yet to win in Hamilton since Tim Hortons Field was opened and this year they had lost badly in every game against Hamilton.

The scores were so much that it seemed sure that even without Zach Collaros in the lineup the Argos were going to lose.

They put up a great fight with Ricky Ray getting better as the game went on but a last second field goal by Justin Medlock put the game away and sent Hamilton to another eastern final.

In the west it was BC who had snuck into the playoffs and were set to take on last year’s Grey Cup champions.

Unlike the eastern semi-final this game wasn’t even close as the Lions were not ready to compete with the likes of Calgary.

An easy 35-9 win proved that Calgary was ready for another run at the Grey Cup while the Lions were not even close.

Both wins set up great finals though as the Battle of Alberta will take focus in the west with Edmonton hosting Calgary and finally attempting to get past them in a major game.

In the east it will be Hamilton and Ottawa in a rematch of the last two games of the season for both teams.

It doesn’t have the history that the Argos-Ticats rivalry but it is a budding rivalry that was shown in the last two weeks.

Both games should be interesting and will ensure that the best team in either division earns a trip to Winnipeg in two weeks.

The question over who will make it in is sure to dominate the rest of the week but in two cities the CFL talk is about four players that have a big decision to make before the next season.

In BC, Andrew Harris and Travis Lulay finished their final seasons under contract with the Lions after losing the semi-finals.

Both have been key part to the Lions in recent years with Harris continuing to rush to the top of the league and Lulay winning a Grey Cup with the Lions in 2011.

Lulay has been injured in recent years though including this year where he played very limited games for the Lions.football-sidebar

At the end of the year he lost the starting job to Jonathan Jennings and heading into a new season the Lions could be going with the younger Jennings to lead the team.

That leaves Lulay out of the equation as he will likely want a starting role and there are a few teams that will be looking for a proven starter.

Meanwhile Harris has been one of the best backs in the league in recent years and finished second in rushing this year.

Yet as a member of the Lions he has often been ignored with the team turning to the passing game more often than handing it to Harris.

In an interview after the semi-final Harris alluded to the fact that he might want to leave and find a place that where he can be “happy” to end his career.

Both Lulay and Harris could be on their way out of BC as the cornerstones of the BC offence could be on their way out of the west coast.

The same might be said for Toronto where Ricky Ray and Chad Owens are in similar situations this off-season as both do not currently have a contract for the 2016 season.

For Ray and the Argos it is a difficult situation as Ray is getting older and could only have one or two contracts left.

The Argos have a promising QB in Trevor Harris, another player with no contract for 2016, who carried them for most of the season while Ray was out due to shoulder surgery in the off-season.

In a post-game interview Ray stated that he wants to be back in Toronto because he likes the city and the system but if the Argos want to go with a younger pivot they will sign Harris to a new deal and let Ray play the free agent market.

For Owens, the highest paid non-quarterback in the league, the debate is more about his role in Toronto going forward.

He is a smaller player and at higher risk of injury, he has missed significant time in the last two years, and the Argos may want to reduce his role on the team which likely means a decrease in pay.

If he doesn’t agree with that reduced role or a reduction in pay he will happily go to any other team that would love to have one of the most explosive players in the league.

For four teams the season continues for at least another week while the Lions and Argos approach the off-season with major questions ahead as an interesting few weeks lie ahead in the CFL.

Fourth Down:
(Thoughts on this week in the CFL)

Returning to the sidelines
It was a week of playoffs and coaching news as the Montreal Alouettes answered one of the biggest off-season questions announcing that GM Jim Popp will remain the head coach in 2016 after taking over those duties midway through this season

COY Finalists
The CFL announced their finalists for the Coach of the Year award as Edmonton’s Chris Jones and Ottawa’s Rick Campbell will look to take home the title this year after both guiding their teams to the top of their divisions

Changes in Winnipeg
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are looking for something to figure out their issues and this week they announced that offensive coordinator Marcel Bellefeuille will not return to the team as the search for a coordinator to kick-start the offence next year

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