CFL Files: 5 Stars, From the Familiar to the Fresh

It’s no secret that the easiest shot for haters to take at the CFL is that it’s missing the star power; and to that I play them the Week 2 tapes. Sure the week had its share of bloopers (yes I’m looking at you David Côté and your 21 yard miss to lose the game for Montreal) but the best of the best of the CFL shone brightly across the latest quartet of games. Keep reading for the Files’ Five Stars of the Week. 

5. Defence, Montreal Alouettes

Is this cheating? Maybe but let’s just roll with it. The Alouettes clearly have some offensive woes that need addressing sooner rather than later (for the sake of a certain head coach’s job) but what’s keeping them out of the league’s power ranking basement is the defensive prowess displayed through two games. Just like last season, Montreal’s pass defence is one of the league’s stingiest, allowing just 7.5 yards per attempt which is good for the league’s lowest. Combine a shutdown secondary with a monstrous defensive front that has already amassed six sacks, you’ve got a unit that can almost compensate for its counterpart’s inconsistent performance. A small caveat to this one is that they do have one of the most porous run defences, allowing an average of five yards per carry. 

4. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Blue Bombers’ entire defensive unit put up a monster game for the second consecutive week against a pesky Redblacks offence but it was Jeffcoat who rose above the rest. The 6’3, 243 pound Texas native landed two crunching tackles through the intermittent rainfall that aided Jeffcoat and his team to put the fire out of any Redblacks’ hope at a home and home split. The defensive end also forced a key fumble that allowed Winnipeg to build momentum to put the go ahead score on the board. Sure, Jeffcoat may not be the highlight reel type of star but for anyone that’s a fan of sound and technical defence on the gridiron, this was a textbook all-star display. 

3. Kenny Lawler, WR, Edmonton Elks

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but that doesn’t matter when the old dog’s tricks are as sharp as ever. Lawler looked as young as ever in a game the Elks needed to have a better showing in, racking in 12 receptions for 149 yards and an acrobatic AF touchdown. The near doubling in production from his previous week’s performance is a hopeful sign for Elks fans as the schedule doesn’t exactly get any easier with a showdown in Calgary next on the docket. It’s become clear that Lawler, though he may be surrounded by guys working on their new tricks, he’ll be leaned on to anchor the receivers’ room to stability. 

2. Bo Levi Mitchell, QB, Calgary Stampeders

Mitchell came into the season with nothing left to prove in this league except maybe that he still had it; and well after leading his team to overcoming a 21 point half-time deficit I would say that latter has been accomplished. A better part of sports writers could have felt confident submitting their post game pieces at the break and spending the second half of the game scrolling through Netflix, but Bo and Co made sure that those who stayed through until the end of the game got a show. It’s odd to call a Week 2 game a statement, but judging by Mitchell’s reaction to the OT win that’s what this seemed to be for the Stamps; telling the league that yes they’ve been there and done that, and they can very well do it again. 

1. Jamal Morrow, RB, Saskatchewan Roughriders

There’s nothing quite like some good ol’ Prairies football and that’s exactly what Morrow was serving up against Edmonton. From swaying and swerving to lowered pads ploughing through, the Roughriders back was beating the Elks’ defence every which way, none of which seemed to cause the young gun to break a sweat. Morrow’s 126 yards and touchdown bode well for Saskatchewan as they move on to a Montreal opponent who ranks last in the league on stopping the rush. CFL Fantasy players may want to take a look at the 5’8 205 pound California native to give them a jumpstart out of the back field. 

Come back to the files next week after Saskatchewan pays a visit to Montreal for what promises to be a battle of coaching schemes on Thursday night. Friday Night Football will feature Hamilton staying home to welcome the Blue Bombers in what needs to be a gut check for the Tabbies. The rollover bad blood from the Battle of Alberta is sure to spill over to Saturday evening when the Stamps play host to the Elks and the weekend ends with the Boatmen rowing out to B.C. to clash with the Lions. Week 3 promises to answer some big questions and could vault new faces into the stars.

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