Friday, August 02, 2013

CFL Regular Season: Week 6

The August long weekend bye games arrive, with but two CFL matches to book end the High summer long weekend.  The Stamps, Riders, Als and Argos all get first crack at the extended break, an opportunity for Montreal to re-work their playbook in the wake of the departure of the now fired head coach, Dan Hawkins.

For Edmonton, Hamilton, Winnipeg and British Columbia however, it's a work week and the first of two games for week six kicks off on Friday night.

Hamilton at Edmonton (Friday, August 2)
(7 PM MT, 9 PM ET, 6 PT)

We're not sure which of these two teams has the most to lose with a poor performance, though just by a glimpse of the standings would suggest that a win is perhaps more of importance to the Eskimos than the Tiger Cats, if only to stay in the CFL West playoff race, a strange declaration for the first week of August.

Yet that's the fate for Edmonton, which has struggled so far in the 2013 season, as inconsistent  play and far too many untimely penalties have made life quite difficult for head coach Kavis Reed.

With the remainder of the Western teams already pulling away, the Eskimos may already have to start working on their record to try and claim a cross over spot in the clearly weaker Eastern division, the back door that they may need into post-season play.

Towards righting their ship, the Esks will once again call on Mike Reilly to try and put enough points on the board to withstand any defensive shortcomings or penalty calls that may cause trouble. That and playing a full four quarters will be reward enough for coach Reed, who has seen his team come close a few times this year, only to let the comeback slip away in the late stages.

Hamilton, as well has its own troubles, an eastern mirror to their hosts on Friday night, it's been a tale of inconsistent play, penalty trouble and lapses on both offence and defence that have so far resulted in the Cats having but one win on the season.

Hosts to a league worst Points For at 99 (tied with Edmonton there) and a league worst Points Against at 158.

Kent Austin's return to coaching with his added duties as GM has made for a frustrating year thus far, the Cats, a team that look impressive on paper, haven't quite measured up to the press clippings and so far have not been able to appear to be on the same page regardless of where you look.

It's safe to say that someone is going to win tonight, the victor leaving the loser to dwell at the CFL bottom. Friday night may provide a good measuring stick for both as to the work still to be done to get back on track, before it's too late.

A quick look at the Friday night match up can be found below.

Hamilton Spectator-- In Edmonton, a fight for momentum
Edmonton Journal-- When Stamps gets the ball, good things happen to the Edmonton Eskimos Eskimos/Tiger Cats preview

Twelve Men Eskimo page
Twelve Men Tiger Cats page

Winnipeg at British Columbia (Monday, August 5)
(4 PM PT, 7 ET, 6 CT)

One thing about a BC Lions game, it seems it's always a homecoming game for someone, tonight, it's a chance for Buck Pierce to reconnect with old friends and fans as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers arrive in Vancouver to take on the Lions.

And if the rumblings in Winnipeg are correct, there may be a fair amount of time for the former Lion QB to reconnect, there appears to be a changing of the QB guard in Winnipeg as we head towards the end of week six, Pierce giving way to Justin Goltz, who seems to be the one to get the ball, the Bombers perhaps mindful that the rather fragile nature of Pierce means that his starting days are all but over. In fact heading into the BC Day matchup, Pierce is listed at number three on the Bombers depth chart.

It's not sitting well with the competitive Pierce, but with injury stalking him almost every game, consistency is now more important for the Bombers than name recognition. Thus Goltz is the new starter, the hope that he can put in a full game at the office and with it, find a way to build up some momentum for the Blue and Gold.

Winnipeg has struggled through the opening third of the CFL season, with one win and a current three game losing streak about all they have to show for their efforts thus far.  With a bye week beckoning at the end of their work against the Lions, the Bombers will be hoping to head into it on a positive note.

The task may be a tough one however, the Lions coming off a rather lacklustre loss to the Argos last Tuesday, will be looking to nip some of the bad habits that seemed to pop up on the radar in that game.

The offence could find no traction against the Argos, the defensive unit was uncharacteristically picked apart by Zach Collaros, filling in for the injured Ricky Ray, something that we're pretty sure no one anticipated heading into kickoff last week. The only one on his game it seemed was Paul McCallum who accounted for all of the Lions scoring.

Penalties proved costly for the Lions, as they took a string of discipline orientated punishments, providing the Argos with valuable field position and more importantly control of the clock, which they made good use of.

It's a focus that head coach Mike Benevides will have had to address in a short practice week, the Lions back in action six days after the Argos game.

His one advantage is that the Lions for the most part are a veteran club, they will be seeking to address their errors in all departments of last Tuesday, that more than anything else is probably not a good thing for the visitors from River City.

A preview of the week six finale can be found below.

Winnipeg Sun-- Blue Bomber keeping positive outlook
Vancouver Sun-- Lions' Lulay 'blocks out the noise' in wake of stinging defeat Bombers/Lions preview

Twelve Men Bombers page
Twelve Men Lions page

The week six schedule, with Reviews from can be found below

August 5-- Winnipeg 20 at British Columbia 27 (26,856)
August 2-- Hamilton 30 at Edmonton 29 (31,006)

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