Canadian Football League 2017: Week 3 talking points

Andrew Kitchener Roar Guru

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    Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Henry Burris throws a pass against the Montreal Alouettes during the first half of a Canadian Football League game in Montreal, Thursday, June 25, 2015.

    Three weekends into the 2017 Canadian Football League season, and the league is starting to take shape. Here are my week three talking points.

    Kamar Jorden is going to be a star
    The Stampeders receiver has five touchdowns in three games to start the season, and seems to have become Bo Levi Mitchell’s favourite target in the injury-enforced absence of Marquay McDaniel.

    Calgary overcame a sketchy first half to romp home, scoring twenty unanswered to overcome Winnipeg 29-10 on the road. A lot of that was thanks to Jorden’s big game. They say it’s a good idea to make hay while the sun shines, and Jorden is definitely doing that. He snatched six catches for 97 yards and two scores on Friday night, and will only get better with more experience. For CFL defences everywhere, that’s a scary thought.

    The new Commissioner gets it
    Every single press appearance the new Canadian Football League commissioner Randy Ambrosie has done since the official confirmation of his hiring happened mid-week has been ultra-impressive.

    The former lineman and savvy Canadian businessman truly gets the CFL and seems to have a bunch of well-reasoned thoughts on all manner of issues – you know, prickly things like attendance issues and even CTE and it’s relation to football – which can only bode well for the future after a somewhat uncertain era under former commissioner Jeffrey Orridge.

    The game is in good hands with Ambrosie, and Canadian Football League fans everywhere can rest easy because, after a questionable hire of Orridge, the Board of Governors got it right this time around.

    Calgary’s defence improved in a big way
    After giving up 31 and 39 points in the first two weeks of the year, the Stamps defence (which is missing some key parts, including superstar defensive end Charleston Hughes and linebacker Deron May) had a bounce-back week, allowing just ten Winnipeg points – and none in the second half – on the road.

    Time and time again, the Stamps brought pressure on Winnipeg quarterback Matt Nichols, intercepting him twice: once for a game-sealing pick six touchdown. Look at the stat line and you see that Nichols threw for a decent 267 yards but 69 of those yards went to running back Andrew Harris, so the other 198 yards were spread among receivers who were underwhelming this week. Weston Dressler, he of two touchdowns in twenty-five seconds last week, leading that charge.

    Ricky Ray joins a very exclusive CFL club
    The evergreen Toronto quarterback threw his 300th touchdown pass Saturday night as the Argos rebounded from a shocking first half to storm home and beat Ottawa 26-25 on the road. Ray’s 10-yard strike to DeVier Posey in the fourth quarter sees him join CFL luminaries like Anthony Calvillo and Henry Burris in the 300 club.

    Henry Burris CFL Canada football Canadian Football League American football college football NFL

    Jeremiah Johnson starred for BC on Thursday night
    The running back totalled 102 yards on the ground and through the air and notched two touchdowns as the Lions got an important win on the road against Montreal. BC’s quarterback Jonathan Jennings called Johnson an “insane player,” and that’s a pretty good description.

    Don’t look now, but the Lions are starting to get themselves on track for a big season in a wildly competitive western division, and the combination of Jennings and Johnson might soon be frequently mentioned when we talk about the most effective quarterback/running back duos in the Canadian Football League.

    SJ Green had a monster game
    After a big game in week one, S.J. Green was fairly quiet in week two – something you could say for the entire Toronto offence, really – and he absolutely exploded into action this week in Toronto win on the road in Ottawa, catching ten passes for a whopping 210 yards and a touchdown. When Green’s on, stopping him is going to be difficult.

    Will Hill lost his mind
    Contact with an official is never, ever okay. Hamilton defensive back was ejected in the third quarter for grabbing a referee by the shirt and you can bet the incident will be looked at closely by the CFL front office this week.

    Hamilton look terrible
    There was a school of thought in the pre-season that Hamilton were among the upper echelon of the East division and that their quarterback, Zach Collaros, was a decent chance at winning the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player award.

    Fast forward three weeks, the TiCats, who had the bye last week, are in a 0-2 hole and unlike the Riders who opened the same record, these losses really haven’t been close. Simply put, Kent Austin’s men just haven’t been competitive. Their 37-20 loss to Saskatchewan Saturday night wasn’t quite as bad as their mauling at the hands of Toronto in week one, but it was close.

    Collaros hasn’t looked good – in fact, he’s a shadow of his former self, and I have a feeling there are at least a few alarm bells ringing around the Tiger-Cat franchise. 189 passing yards and one touchdown at 55.9 per cent accuracy isn’t going to get it done, not in the pass-happy offence they’re running in Hamilton. Incredibly, it took Hamilton nearly seven quarters to score their first offensive touchdown of the year.

    Next week, Hamilton welcome the BC Lions into Tim Hortons Field and if they don’t win or at the very least show dramatic improvement, the season might be over before it’s really begun.

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