Sunday, September 11, 2005

No Money back today

It was like money in the bank for the Argonauts. At least that must have been the thought in the front office earlier this week when Argo management made an offer to the Tiger Cat faithful that they could not resist. "Back to Back and you get your money back!" That was the sales job to boost attendance at the rematch of the Labour Day classic between Toronto and Hamilton.

On Monday the Cats surprised the Argos by picking up only their second win of the season at the expense of Pinball Clemons and his double blue roster. So confident were the bean counters at the Rogers Centre that they were ready to send money back down the 401 should Greg Marshall's lads pick up win number three on Saturday afternoon.

As it turned out, the money trucks will remain parked as Damon Allen helped decimate the Tiger Cat secondary making Arlan Bruce III his favourite target as the Argos strolled to a 48-0 victory over a terribly over matched Tiger Cat team.

Saturday's game reminded many of the early season travails of the Cats who seemed to be on different pages of the playbooks and ready to point the finger at each other after every play. Monday Danny Mac did everything right, no interceptions, lots of yardage and a tough defensive squad to keep the Argos at bay. Either the Argos were quick studies and managed to fix all those holes or the Cats were just plain lucky to take a win.

The Argo win solidifies their hold on first place in the East giving them a bit of breathing room over the rejuvenated Montreal Alouettes. For Hamilton it was a sudden stop to some impressive progress of the last couple of weeks, a period of time that saw them start to claw their way out the deep early season hole and ponder the possibility of catching Ottawa for the third and final playoff spot in the East. With Hamilton returning to it's ugly ways and Ottawa starting to implode on itself as well, the Western crossover contenders must be feeling a bit more confident as the season heads towards the drive for November and the playoffs.

With Ottawa giving up 61 points on Friday night and the Cats shedding 48 on Saturday, post season action may be slipping further and further away for both. One thing is certain the next seven days will be very busy for Joe Paopao and Greg Marshall, things are definitely broken in both cities and changes need to be made quickly before an entire season becomes lost.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Perhaps the Unis should go back into storage

The Edmonton Eskimos unveiled there new third jersey on Friday night, and as Chris Cuthbert and Glen Suitor pointed out, perhaps they might have wanted to change back into the green ones at half time. An Eskimo team in yellow just couldn't put the points on the board, nor could they control the Stampeder attack in the featured game for TSN's Friday Night football.

The Calgary Stampeders still smarting from the Labour Day hit at McMahon came up to Edmonton and decided to show the Esks and their fans that Calgary still knew how to hit, how to catch and how to score.

Ricky Ray struggled for the Esks as he uncharacteristically tossed interceptions to willing Stampeder defenders. The Stamp front line managed to keep pressure on Ray for most of the game and the Stampeder special teams played inspiring football as well, shutting down the Eskimo return game. The Stamps did a remarkable job of holding off the Esks on the way to a 16-11 victory at Commonwealth.

Calgary's major did not come off of the hand of QB Henry Burris however, as Burris was on the sidelines having his hand taped, Jason Gesser the rookie QB for the Stamps took the controls for a brief Burris intermission and promptly manufactured the only Stampeder TD of the game a nice little hitch pass to KenYo Rambo, who rambled for the thirty yard touchdown play.

After that it was a Stampeder defensive effort that controlled the play. The Stamps kept the sluggish Esks out of the endzone until the last thirty seconds when Ricky Ray finally found an Eskimo receiver that would pull in the difficult pass for a touchdown. Without that last minute TD, the Esks were destined to go down to a 16-3 defeat, so the extra eight points while helpful for the stat sheets still weren't enough to secure an Eskie win.

The Stamps take the victory and keep pace with the Esks for second place overall in the West Division and add some breathing room between themselves and the Saskatchewan Roughriders who still have designs on a second place finish in the West. The victory provided coach Tom Higgins with a nice present as he returned back to Commonwealth for the first time since being dismissed by the Green and Gold last year. The win on Friday night was one of those pivotal results that will certainly spur the Stamps on down to the final weeks of the season.

With another win under their belt the Stamps are still in the race in the West and in a worst case scenario sit in pretty good shape for any possible crossover possibilities in the suddenly back down to earth Eastern Division.

For Edmonton it's a week of fixing some problems and resting some weary and beat up bones. The back to back games between these two Alberta rivals take their toll over the years and this one is no different than many others. With the BC Lions putting more and more distance between themselves and the pretenders for the West this year, Edmonton had best start thinking of holding on to second place, Calgary served notice that they plan on fighting the good fight through until November!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Renovations needed for Rens?

There's nothing like a shellacking to start the chatter about major changes needed and need fast. The Ottawa Renegades who have seen the wheels fall off of their previously successful cart, suffered a rather severe spanking at the hands of the undefeated BC Lions on Thursday night.

The Lions started early on the foot of Duncan O'Mahony and didn't stop until the final gun as they cleaned the Rens clock by a 61-27 margin. The Lions looked every bit the best in the league as Dave Dickenson picked apart the Ottawa secondary at will in the third quarter, picking up fourteen points in a matter of minutes. Dickenson was given a rest after the points explosion, leaving the rest of the game to the clean up tandem of Buck Pierce and Jarious Jackson.

For Ottawa the loss capped off a rather tumultuous week in Rensland as Forrest Gregg lowered the hammer on Joe Paopao's hand picked talent assessor Chris McRobbie, a sure sign that some of his authority is being whittled away from under him.

As if that wasn't enough controversy for the Rens, the Gliebermans decided to think aloud this week about how they could trade with Montreal for the rights of recently released Giants QB Jesse Palmer, a hometown boy, who has spent three years on the Giants taxi squad while seeing little to no action on the field. Imagine how current QB Kerry Joseph must have been thinking with that bit of news buzzing around Frank Clair Stadium.

However, after Thursday nights massacre Joseph probably had best get used to the soon to be loud rumblings of a Palmer landing, with an anemic offensive display, the Rens did no favours for their QB or their coaching staff. If the Rens are looking for someone to point a finger at, there may be no better target than Freddie Moore, the Rens tackle who offered up some pretty good bulletin board quotes for the Lions to read! 61 points later Wally probably has soothed his fragile feelings sufficiently.

The Glieberman's seem to attract controversy and while things started off somewhat smoothly it seems that the entire season in Ottawa is about to implode, not a good thing for the long suffering football fan in the capital.

Over on the West Coast the Leos continue to convert the doubtful, the attendance numbers have been steadily rising the last year and with a 10-0 record this year the planning of the Grey Cup parade route is probably underway. Though don't mention that kind of stuff to Wally Buono, even with a convincing 61-27 victory Buono says there's lots of work still to be done for the Lions to be a true champion.

After Thursday you can probably expect the Renegades to be thankful that they won't be available for any more tune up sessions this year.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Als hold aces from NFL cut list

The final cuts from the NFL could stock the Alouettes for years to come. With the NFL rosters about to be set for the start of the season teams made their final cuts of training camp. On the short end of the list were four Canadians, three of whom find themselves on the Montreal negotiating list.

The Alouettes may find that Jesse Palmer's name jumps out at them, the Als who have never really been able to find a suitable insurance policy for Anthony Calvillo, now find Palmer available as the New York Giants let the fourth year Canadian go on Saturday. If ever there is a city that the "bachelor" might find appealing it would be Montreal, perhaps the Als should send him an invitation for a night on the town.

Pass catching could also be a strong suit for the Als as Jerome Paython was issued his release by the Seattle Seahawks, making him the second Canadian released by the Hawks who earlier in camp terminated Jesse Lumsdens NFL experience early.

The purge of Canadians continued in Seattle as Ken Carter a running back from Toronto was informed that the end had come. Carter was mostly used on special teams in Seattle and did not see much action in the backfield. He now can contemplate his football future and should his thoughts turn to Canada he will have to think Montreal, the Als hold his rights as well.

The exodus of Canadians from the NFL camps this week makes Als GM Jim Popp probably the most prescient GM in the CFL today!

One other Canadian got his pink on Saturday Brett Romberg a centre with Jacksonville cleaned out his locker and is looking for further football projects, somehow Montreal missed his name as his CFL rights belong to the BC Lions.

Perhaps Wally could give Jim a call and work something out.

The final snaps of September

Tracking our final snaps for September.

Sep 9 "It was probably as ugly as it could get"
Sep 8 "Wally is an a-hole"
Sep 3 "I don't think that there's anybody in Alberta who knows these two teams better than myself"

Opening Kickoffs of September

The items from the opening kickoff

Sep 10 Late Night Horror shows for Paopao
Sep 10 Ned Flanders' revenge
Sep 10 A defensive stand just in time
Sep 9 Admiring Greatness
Sep 9 Joseph shoulders the blame
Sep 9 Allen wants to play better
Sep 8 Lumsden to growl for the Cats
Sep 8 Taking snaps in Leoland
Sep 8 Rens look to acquire a Jesse
Sep 3 Stegall nears record
Sep 3 Singing a Tough song
Sep 3 Rens dog days prove costly