Tuesday Morning QB (CFL Week 6)

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With over a quarter of the season over teams are beginning to figure out where they stand and looking to do what they need to do in order to compete.

It is widely known that the CFL season becomes that much more important when Labour Day weekend hits.

It is an unofficial marker for the CFL season as it marks about the halfway mark of the season and for every team, it is the point where they need to make some important decisions.

After Labour Day teams that continue to struggle will leave themselves no chance of making the playoffs while teams that can make a change can make a run.

The 2017 Toronto Argonauts who went into Labour Day with a record of 4-6 and got five wins after their Labour Day Classic to help them to the top of the eastern division.

That top spot allowed them to make a run to the Grey Cup and take the win for the 105th Grey Cup that year.

The Argonauts played like a different team after Labour Day and it was largely due to the changes they made on their roster and their coaching staff.

There are still a few weeks until Labour Day is here and for teams that means that they still have time to figure things out.

The Argonauts are in a similar situation as in the past and right there with them are the BC Lions.

Both teams are sitting at the bottom of the league with the Argos beginning the season 0-5 and the Lions only win coming against Toronto.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this for either team as they started the season with a lot of promise thanks to good offseasons.

For Toronto, the talk was all about the introduction of the best deep threat in the game when they signed Derel Walker.

He was going to provide the offence with yet another weapon alongside S.J. Green and James Wilder.

All they needed was for James Franklin to come through on the promise that he was the best backup in the league.

Along with a new head coach in Corey Chamblin who brought a defensive mindset to the team they were set up for success.

Franklin couldn’t get things going and the passing offence was so poor that the offence was often playing catch-up from the kickoff.

It has been a challenge for the Argos and with Franklin sidelined with injury for the last few weeks they have looked better but in Week 6 turnovers, including three interceptions by McLeod Bethel-Thompson sunk their chances of their first win.

The quarterback position has been a major issue for them and in Week 5 they showed signs of what they might be able to do with a quarterback.

Whether Bethel-Thompson gets another shot or they go with Dakota Prukop or potentially starting Canadian Michael O’Connor the pivot needs to be done for them to figure things out.

In BC the promise was even bigger though as they had landed the best free agent in the league and one of the biggest coaching targets.football-sidebar

Signing Mike Reilly and DeVone Claybrooks made them an instant contender as they had one of the best quarterbacks and a promising young coach to lead them.

It was never going to be easy with the new faces creating one team but they had a good shot of doing something special this year.

The season began and the struggles started as Reilly looked like his old self when he had time to get the ball off.

Unfortunately, that has been their biggest struggle this year as Reilly has been hit more than most quarterbacks this season.

With 21 sacks allowed this year, they are the worst team at protecting the quarterback and yet Reilly has the second-most yards this year.

If he had more time he would likely be leading the league and carving up defences but instead, he spends most of his time on his back after getting hit.

That has hurt their chances of being successful and that is evident by their 1-5 record with the win coming thanks to a last-second rouge in Toronto.

Both teams came into the season with plenty of promise and have fallen far short of expectations so far.

They still have time though as Labour Day is still more than a month away and either team could try to make moves or scheme changes to make a difference.

There aren’t many truly dominant teams emerging this year with Winnipeg the only team looking like a good bet to make it to the playoffs at 5-0.

Beyond them, the Stampeders look human while Saskatchewan and Edmonton are not entirely consistent yet.

In the east, the division remains much the same as years before with unpredictability reigning.

The way the league is shaping up after a quarter of the season makes anything possible as long as some teams figure out how to solve their issues.

 

Fourth Down

Held Up

Simoni Lawrence was the main story at the start of the season after he was suspended after a questionable hit in Week 1. After he was handed out a two-game suspension for taking out Zach Collaros he decided to appeal the suspension. It was in his rights but was a bit controversial as it meant he would get to play for the entire first month of the season. After playing for four weeks the appeal was finally heard and the arbitrator decided with the CFL. Lawrence began his suspension in Week 6 expressing the strange world of CFL suspensions and appeals.

Setting Himself Apart

Matt Nichols has always been a quarterback who many thought was good but who could never seem to step out of the shadow of the other greats in the west. Although he still remains a bit of an afterthought when talking about the best quarterbacks in the game he is making headway. This week he set a franchise record to solidify his spot in the history of the Blue Bombers. He completed 19 straight passes in his Week 6 win for the most ever in Winnipeg history. More importantly, though he is the leader of the best team in the league with a 5-0 record and looking like the early favourites for the Grey Cup.

No Help in Sight

The Ottawa REDBLACKS were excited when they signed Jonathan Jennings this offseason as the young QB had a chance at a new chance and the REDBLACKS replaced the departed Trevor Harris. The issues that Jennings had in BC followed him though and he lost the training camp battle to Dominique Davis. Then Davis was hurt and Jennings got his chance to take control in Week 6 and potentially take the starting role. The REDBLACKS haven’t been particularly great this year and so this was a chance to potentially show that he belongs under centre. That opportunity was wasted though as the REDBLACKS scored 1 point all game but with Davis still on the sideline, Jennings will get another shot in Week 7.

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