Thursday, August 08, 2013

CFL Regular Season: Week 7

The CFL's reduced work load hits its second half, as the bye week breaks continue for four of the league's eight teams.

For the four CFL teams back at work this weekend, the work week will be over and done with by Friday night, as the week 7 schedule features a game on Thursday and the wrap to the week on Friday.

While the Lions, Eskimos, Bombers and Cats enjoy their extended break in the first week of August, the Argos, Als, Riders and Stamps get back to work.

Toronto at Montreal (Thursday, August 8)
(7:30 PM, 4:30 PT)

The latest instalment of the Jim Popp Chronicles kicks off in Montreal on Thursday, as the Als GM takes over from recently dismissed head coach Dan Hawkins. In a strange twist to the usual dismissal of a head coach, Popp takes over after an Als win, a victory that wasn't enough to buy a little more time for the beleaguered import from the US college game.

The promise to Als fans has been that a return to "Alouettes football" is at hand, winning Alouettes football we imagine is the goal.

To head towards that prospect, the Als will require that Anthony Calvillo return to his All-CFL form, while we've seen glimpses of the old Anthony, he did struggle under the offence in place under Mr. Hawkins, a frustration that occasionally seeped out beyond the locker room doors.

The Als however, will face a bit more adversity as they seek to regain some momentum in the CFL east, star receiver Jamel Richardson is gone for the season, Running Back Brandon Whitaker also is on the injured listings, pushing Jerome Messam back into a CFL spotlight, another opportunity to put his troubles from past CFL teams behind him.

While the Als reconfigure their offence, their defensive unit which has played fairly well all things considered this year thus far, will have some challenges of their own on Thursday.

Ricky Ray is back at the helm of the Argos offence, the week long bye of last week for Toronto helpful to his rehabilitation process, his damaged knee of a few weeks back, deemed ready to go for Thursday.

The Argos currently hold the advantage in the CFL East with a 3 and 2 record, though even the most devout of Double Blue fans most likely realize that the accomplishment is more due to the nature of the rest of the east than in any sense of the Argos being a juggernaut.

In fact, the Argos have struggled just as much as their lodge brothers in the east, the only difference being they have managed to turn a few near disasters into positive moments, still by not having put a bit more space between themselves and the rest of the pack, the division is still a tight race, all be it one of  the march of the turtles it seems.

They can add a bit of breathing space with a win in Montreal Thursday night, or they can surrender some ground and offer some hope to the Als who will be eager to show the hometown fans that the season is but a bit of race.

A quick look at the debut of week seven can be found below.

Toronto Star-- Ricky Ray's return bad news for Alouettes coach
Montreal Gazette--  Popp putting his stamp on the Als Argos/Als preview

Twelve Men on the Field Argos page
Twelve Men on the Field Alouettes page

Saskatchewan at Calgary (Friday, August 9)
(7 PM MT, 8 PM ST, 9 PM ET, 6 PM PT)

The Calgary Stampeders get back to the CFL Seek 7 work schedule with a tough task ahead of them on Friday night, playing host to the undefeated Saskatchewan Roughriders, a team that it seems is already playing in championship form, the only thing slowing them down, the mandatory bye week that the first of August brought to them.

The Riders have been the team to beat since July 1st, with outstanding performances in all facets of the game, offensively they have been piling up the points and setting the stage for record breaking performances from the very first kick off.

Defensively, the Riders are playing some punishing football, making points to come by hard and leaving opponents with a full appreciation for physical football, which has made opposing training staff a most overworked group after Rider encounters.

Looking to pick up where they left off prior to the bye week, the task will be simple, put more points on the board and yet further distance between themselves and their CFL West competitors.

To stop them the Stamps will have to not only beat them on the field, but perhaps in their own stands, as is the case wherever the Riders travel, a huge contingent of Green clad fans will be cheering them on, a phenomenon that seems to bring out larger numbers whenever the Rider caravan rolls into McMahon Stadium.

Those fans there to see the Stamps will be looking to see  this is the weekend that the chase of the Riders pays off, Calgary has kept pace with their cousins to the east a 4 and 1 record keeping them but two points behind the Riders, a victory on home field Friday night will move them into a tie for first in the very competitive West.

A fairly impressive thing considering the injury woes that have dogged the Stamps in the first five games, though with adversity comes strength it seems, as the Stamps can now seemingly count on three strong players at the QB position, Bo Levi Mitchell having passed his audition with more than flying colours two weeks ago.

For Friday it will be back to clipboard for the Stamps youngster, though head coach/GM John Hunfnagel can now rest a little easier knowing that which ever QB he has to turn to, can get the job done.

Though we imagine, that going up against the Riders in this Friday Night Showdown, he might be hoping that the requirement to wander down the depth chart will be required.

Some thoughts on Friday night's match up can be found below.

Regina Leader Post-- Riders looking for a repeat of July 5
Calgary Herald-- Are you ready for the CFL game of the year, to date?

CFL. ca Riders/Stamps preview

Twelve Men on the Field Riders page
Twelve Men on the Field Stamps page

This weeks schedule, with Reviews from can be found below

August 9-- Saskatchewan 27 at Calgary 42 (35,637)
August 8-- Toronto 38 at Montreal 13 (22,068)

All games on TSN

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