CFL Power Rankings: Week Seven

August 19, 2009

By Jonathan Hamelin…

Week seven in the Canadian Football League was very entertaining.

Fans were able to witness one of the games of the year so far as Edmonton defeated the Stampeders 38-35. Henry Burris and Ricky Ray were both exceptional, leading their teams to a lot of points in a game that lacked much defence. In other action, Jarious ‘Air Jackson’ came in against Toronto and once again engineered some magic. He threw a couple of long bombs to Paris Jackson as the Lions defeated the Argonauts. The Rider managed to hold on to beat the Hamilton Tiger Cats despite yet another blown lead, and it was same old same old for Montreal who easily handled Winnipeg.

Now it’s time for the Week Seven Power Rankings. The power rankings will take a look at where each team stands in the CFL. Disagree with the rankings? Comment down below.

1) Montreal Alouettes: Defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 39-12
At 6-1, it is apparent that the Montreal Alouettes continue to be one of the top teams in the CFL. In week seven, the Alouettes crushed the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and they have now beaten every team in the East. With Anthony Calvillo, Avon Cobourne and Kerry Watkins leading the way on offence, and Anwar Stewart leading a revamped defence, there is really no question that the Alouettes will have a deep playoff run. The only question the really remains is whether or not they can succeed when the pressure is on. The Alouettes welcome the Saskatchewan Roughriders into town this week.

2) Edmonton Eskimos: Defeated the Calgary Stampeders 38-35
The Eskimos moved into a tie for first place in the West with their victory over the Calgary Stampeders. It appears that Edmonton’s offence has found their groove, which has to be expected with elite pivot Ricky Ray running the show. Running back Arkee Whitlock looks to be stepping into the starting running back spot nicely. Still, Edmonton’s defence does need some work.

3) Hamilton Tiger Cats: Lost to the Saskatchewan Roughriders 23-33
Though they did fall to the Roughriders on the road, there were a lot of positives for the Tiger Cats. Kevin Glenn stepped in for an ineffective Quinton Porter and almost led Hamilton back from a 23-0 deficit. The Tabbies will need to improve their defence a little if they hope to compete with the Montreal Alouettes however.

4) Saskatchewan Roughriders: Defeated the Hamilton Tiger Cats 33-23
It may have been raining in Regina, but for the fans that made the trek to Mosaic Stadium it was certainly entertaining. The Riders built up a 23 point lead, allowed Hamilton to tie it, then score ten points late to win the game. Wes Cates and Jason Clermont led the way for the Riders offence and Stevie Baggs and John Chick were a force on the defensive line. The Riders still need to be more consistent and hang on to their leads.

5) Calgary Stamepders: Lost to the Edmonton Eskimos 35-38
The Stampeders offence was firing on all syllables against the Eskimos there week, but their defence was horrendous. Calgary failed to stop the run or the pass against Edmonton. Defence has been a weak point for Calgary so far, and they will need to improve on it if they hope to compete in the West. With a talented offence led by Henry Burris, the Stampeders need solid play from their defence.

6) BC Lions: Defeated the Toronto Argonauts 36-28
Just when it looked like the Lions would loss on the road, Jarious Jackson re entered the ball game. Jackson, who had replaced Pierce earlier and had been replaced by Travis Lulay, came back into the game when Lulay was injured. Jackson threw a couple of touchdown passes and set up the game winning field goal in the Lions comeback victory over the Argos.

7) Toronto Argonauts: Lost to the BC Lions 28-36
With Cody Pickett replacing quarterback Kerry Joseph, fans weren’t sure what to expect out of the Toronto Argonauts. Pickett end up playing pretty well, but Toronto’s defence let the team down. BC was able to torch them with the long ball. The Argos will need to play better in all positions if they want to improve.

8) Winnipeg Blue Bombers: Lost to the Montreal Alouettes 12-39
The Blue Bombers are mess! Besides running back Fred Reid, the Bombers are lacking greatly on offence. Michael Bishop has looked inconsistent at best taking over from Stefan Lefors. The Bomber defence has also played rather inconsistently this season. Mike Kelly will have his work cut out turning the Bombers season around.

Kerry Joseph: Money over Glory

August 12, 2009

by Jonathan Hamelin…

From being a former Most Outstanding Player in 2007, to losing his job temporarily to an inexperienced quarterback, times have sure changed for Argos’ pivot Kerry Joseph. It appears that Kerry Joseph’s ship may have sunk, no pun intended.

Being benched in favour of back-up pivot Cody Pickett, though not surprising given the circumstances, just goes to show that any thing can happen in the Canadian Football League.

Of course only a short while ago, the sky appeared to be the limit for quarterback Kerry Joseph. He had become a fan favourite for the Saskatchewan Roughriders during the 2007 season. Some fans of the team would go as far as to say he was the face of the franchise.

Under the tutelage of head coach Kent Austin in the 2007 season, Kerry Joseph was dazzling. He threw for 4002 yards and 24 touchdowns, boasting nearly a 60% completion rate as the Roughriders gained a home playoff game for the first time in a long time. In the playoffs, Joseph was equally impressive as the Roughriders made it to the Grey Cup game, and defeated the rival Winnipeg Blue Bombers to claim the cup.

Once the celebrations of the Grey Cup victory had ended, Kerry Joseph had a decision to make. He could stay with the Saskatchewan Roughriders for a lower salary then he would have hoped for, or he could say goodbye and go to where the money was.

Kerry Joseph made his decision; he was going to take the money. Joseph was traded away to the Toronto Argonauts, where he signed a contract right up there with the top pivots in the league.

Joseph was expected to bring success to the Toronto Argonauts, even though the team had its share of problems. In his first season with the team, things did not go the way Kerry Joseph hoped. Though Kerry Joseph threw for more yardage than in 2007, he only threw 17 touchdowns with 14 interceptions. The Argos finished 4-14.

This season, Kerry Joseph and the Argonauts struggles have been well documented. The team sits 2-4, tied for last place in the East Division. Joseph has already thrown for 10 interceptions on the season. 10 interceptions! In 2007, Joseph only threw 8 interceptions, and only 6 games have past so far.

Now it’s time for a question Kerry Joseph, along with many fans have likely pondered. Should Kerry Joseph ever have left the Saskatchewan Roughriders?

I’m a firm believer that some players are meant to play on certain teams.
Look at Kamau Peterson, Stevie Baggs, and Marcel Bellefuille for a few examples. Peterson had experienced struggles his whole career before becoming an all-star receiver in Edmonton.

Stevie Baggs has bounced from team to team in his career, but has now become a leader on the Riders defense.

Even Marcel Bellefuille, who was the subject of much criticism in his time with the Roughriders, has found new life coaching the Hamilton Tiger Cats.

Kerry Joseph may have been meant to stay with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. It wasn’t necessarily Joseph that led the Riders to a Grey Cup victory that season, but playing within the system, he flourished and became a dominant pivot.

If Joseph would have stayed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who knows what kind of success the team and himself would have had. Last year, the Riders were fairly solid, but problems in the quarterback position led them to bow out in the Western Semi-Final to the BC Lions. With Joseph on the roster, these problems may have never emerged and the Riders could have had a chance to repeat.

But Joseph chose the money. No matter how you look at it, Kerry Joseph decided it was more important to cash a large check than to win a championship. Kerry Joseph likely did not have many years left in the CFL when he left the Riders, so signing with a rebuilding team like the Argonauts was basically like giving up all chances at another title.

With no disrespect to the Argos, it appeared that they were a few years away from competing for the Grey Cup, with or without Joseph.

In Toronto, Kerry Joseph is undoubtedly playing in front of a less passionate fan base than in Saskatchewan. He hasn’t looked like the same quarterback who brought Rider fans to their feet in 2007. The quarterback who made countless big plays, like his game winning quarterback scramble in the Labour Day classic.

Now, though I do believe that Joseph chose to leave the Roughriders because of the money, it is not groundbreaking that a player would do this, especially in this day and age. I still have all the respect in the world for Kerry Joseph and still hope he will succeed in the Canadian Football League.

However I can’t help but wonder what Joseph’s career would have looked like if he stayed with the Riders. Instead of now being benched for an inexperienced back-up, Joseph could be a starting quarterback for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, finishing up his last few seasons before retiring into glory.

Photo by J.P. Moczulski