CFL Files: Takeaways and Tribulations

A week featuring a battle of undefeated teams, two winless squads, and the return of Touchdown Atlantic had way too many highlights for this week’s files to be anything other than a good old fashioned takeaways. From the highs to the lows, there was a big lesson for all teams to take into Week 7. 

Edmonton Elks: No Starter, No Problem

The Elks lined up in front of their third starting pivot of the season, and after watching them pull off the fourth quarter push it doesn’t seem to matter that they have yet to find consistency. The season got off to a rocky start with Nick Arbuckle who was promptly shipped off to Ottawa in favour of Tre Ford who sustained a shoulder injury in the midst of the Battle of Alberta. Enter Taylor Cornellius for the team’s tilt in Montreal and my oh my did he impress. Edmonton fell into a deep hole before the half which given the sheer experience difference between the two team’s quarterbacks should have meant the game was a lock for the home team. Cornellius led the Elks to a roaring comeback, shutting out the Alouettes in the fourth quarter. At this point it’s hard to predict who Edmonton will field on a week to week basis but it’s a pretty safe bet that the team will rally around them. 

Montreal Alouettes: No Time Like Halftime?

Fresh off of a bye week, the Alouettes were taking the field under Danny Maciocia for the first time and the results were, well…predictable. I won’t say there weren’t a myriad of reasons as to why Kahari Jones was let go but it’s hard to imagine that the team’s inability to adjust at halftime wasn’t chief among them. It’s a story we’ve seen time and time again this year where the Als will build themselves a comfortable cushion only to let the other team stage the next comeback of the season in the second half. If Maciocia and his staff can’t figure out how to use halftime to adjust to their opponents as opposed to whatever else has been going on in that locker room then the changes will need to extend far past just the coaching staff. 

Winnipeg Blue Bombers: If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It

At this point, Winnipeg just needs to keep doing what they’re doing. They’re coming off of back to back Grey Cups and are currently 6-0 on the season so I have no notes. 

Calgary Stampeders: Don’t Panic

Yes, the Stamps lost a close one to the Bombers but there is absolutely no need to press any form of panic, or even discomfort buttons. Bo Levi Mitchell has shown time and time again this season that he still very much has it and the team assembled around him has every ability to win whatever rematch lines up against Winnipeg or whatever other powerhouse might emerge. With Reggie Begelton continuing to establish himself as a bonafide WR1 and a defensive group that settles into their stride more and more every week, this team has all the pieces in place to make a deep run which is why this one loss shouldn’t inspire ANY changes. 

Toronto Argonauts: Run on Star Power

The Argos have been one of the more frustrating teams this season, both managing to look like a threat and a nuisance all at once. One thing that is for sure is that when their stars are rolling the team is truly deserving of top spot in the East. During their trip to the Maritimes, Andrew Harris passed Milt Stegal for fourth all-time in scrimmage yards. Add to that the fact that the connection between Brandon Banks and everyone’s favourite three last name wonder, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, is heating up right on schedule and you have a recipe for success, or at least a consistent level of performance. Where Toronto gets into trouble is when they become too generous with their playcalling, which can be necessary if a defence is all over you but with the talent their stars have, I’d still take them against a double team any day. 

Saskatchewan Roughriders: Get Healthy

Regardless of what happened in the Maritimes, the Roughriders need to focus on getting healthy, both from an IR level and a COVID level. As of publishing this, 13 players and five staff have tested positive for coronavirus. The team, with one anomaly against Montreal, has been as consistent as a beating drum, and it’s not like it was a losing beat so the priority needs to be on getting healthy and continuing what they’ve started to build. 

Hamilton Tiger Cats: You Chose the Wrong Guy…We Think…

The fact of the matter was someone had to win this game between the league’s two winless teams and there was a 100% chance the winning quarterback would be named Evans. Dane and rookie Caleb squared off in what should have been a matchup between Dane Evans and the one he was kept over; Jeremiah Masoli. But with Masoli sidelined it was Evans vs Evans and for the first time this season Dane looked dynamite. His 342 yards and two touchdowns were a lovely stat line and were certainly indicative of most of his game, it was the things that don’t make the stat line, like ruining a full-field drive with a string of incompletions, that still have fans questioning Hamilton management for the QB they chose to keep. At this rate only time will tell if Dane Evans really is the future face of the Tiger Cats but last week was a step in the right direction. 

Ottawa Redblacks: Try Again Later

Need I say more?

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