Montréal Alouettes (4-0) — Four games in, the Shea Emry Experiment can be pronounced a success. The Alouettes are off to a great start with their sophomore Canadian middle linebacker. Being a SOAC (Son of a Coach) has presumably played some factor in Emry's quick rise, at least.
Edmonton Eskimos (2-2) — The Eskies' contingent of CIS alumni made a lot of little plays in their 38-33 comeback win at Saskatchewan. Fullback Mathieu Bertrand (Laval) did some good work blocking as their tailbacks, combined, rushed 23 times for 139 yards and three touchdowns (Bertrand had at least two key blocks on the go-ahead TD). They had two long TD runs behind Derrick Armstrong (St. FX) at right tackle.
Safety Elliott Richardson (Acadia) was involved in two key stops in the final minutes. Saskatchewan was driving, inside the 30-yard line, with less than four minutes left when Richardson came up from his safety spot to make a sure tackle on Wes Cates on a short pass. That proved critical, since a second-down completion came up short and Saskatchewan was stopped on the ensuing third-and-inches gamble. On that play, Richardson appeared to get his helmet on the ball, stopping 'Riders designated sneaker Steven Jyles from getting the necessary inchage. Apparently, he's not bothered by headhunting accusations.
Tim St. Pierre (Saint Mary's) also threw a big block on Tristan Jackson's 74-yard punt-return touchdown which arguably swung the momentum to Edmonton.
Saskatchewan Roughriders (2-2) — Hands up if you thought Rob Bagg would get more yards on Saturday than Jason Clermont has all season. The 'Riders collapse Saturday vs. Edmonton, blowing a 22-point lead in a 38-33 loss, and the struggle to get Clermont (the U of Regina grad had only one catch, for 33 yards) going will likely be main topics in Regina for the next week. To add injury to the insult of losing to Edmonton, they lost linebacker Carlos Armour to a broken leg.
It's likely the glue-guy work Bagg (Queen's) did on Saturday will get lost in the shuffle. Bagg had a game-high 83 yards on six catches, all for first downs. In baseball terms, Bagg was a table-setter, since most of his work came when the 'Riders were trying to move out of their own territory. Andy Fantuz (Western) had 52 yards on four catches, not counting a grab for a two-point conversion. Bottom line, the 'Riders Canadians showed some nice hands, but they need someone to provide a deep threat. Bagg, for the record, told rodpederson.com that it wasn't about him:
"We're all pretty disappointed but it’s a long year ... We can play a lot better than that. We had some good drives but you have to play a full sixty minutes. We learned that today.First- and second-guessers will have a field day with 'Riders coach Ken Miller and the officiating. Up by three with 11 minutes to play, Miller conceded a safety rather than punt. Edmonton promptly scored to go ahead for good. Down by five with four minutes to go (the Eskimos missed a 2-point convert on that TD), Miller elected to go for a first down on third-and-1 rather than have Luca Congi try a short field goal to get within two. They came away empty-handed. Both moves might have right, but when it doesn't work, well, you know.
"I wouldn’t say it was my coming-out party. I've done some good things in the past but that wide-side (wide receiver) spot is tough to get the ball to, and I'm just happy to have made some."
There were some close calls down the stretch, too. It did look like 'Riders slotback Weston Dressler dropped the pass that ended the game's final drive.
Guard Gene Makowsky (U of Saskatchewan) is due to return to the lineup next week.
Calgary Stampeders (2-2) — Hey, LS Randy Chevrier (McGill) is playing on a bad knee (there is no "might" about it), but he still managed to recover a fumble in that laugher out in Vancouver (Calgary won 48-10). Burke Dales (Concordia) averaged 49.2 yards on six punts.
Toronto Argonauts (2-2) — The situation with Arland Bruce III and a season-ending injury to Canadian rookie Mike Lambros has created an opening for Mike Bradwell (McMaster) and Brad Smith (Queen's). Smith (three catches, 16 yards) and Bradwell (one for nine) each got their names in the official summary in Toronto's win over Winnipeg on Friday which sent offensive football back about 20 years.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2-2) — Wideout Dave Stala (Saint Mary's) had a team-high 86 receiving yards vs. the Als on Thursday, when Hamilton failed to stick it in the end zone despite their quarterbacks averaging 8.8 yards per attempt (seriously, how did that happen)?
B.C. Lions (1-3) — MLB Javy Glatt (UBC) might have ended up on the hot seat even if he wasn't being accused of a horse-collar tackle (not saying it was a horse-collar, but some people are). Glatt seems to be at the heart of some schematic issues the Lions, who got pounded 48-10 at home by Calgary, are having. Their defensive front got manhandled Friday when Calgary's Joffrey Reynolds ran 17 times for 130 yards, which is going to lead to questions about whether he's big enough to play the middle, or whether the Lions can get away with playing a 4-2-6 defence instead of the more standard 4-3-5.
Rush end Ricky Foley (York) has three sacks in four games, tied for fifth in the league.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1-3) — WR Aaron Hargreaves (Simon Fraser) made two catches for 15 yards, which with the way the Bombers are going, practically qualifies as productive.
Mike Renaud (Concordia) had to punt a lot, but averaged only 35.9 yards.