2017 Canadian Football League: Week 12 talking points

Andrew Kitchener Roar Guru

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    After Labour Day weekend comes revenge Weekend, return servings of two of the league’s biggest and most bitter rivalries.

    It was another busy week across Canada. Here are my talking points from week twelve of the 2017 season.

    B.C.’s quarterback situation
    As a friend in Vancouver emailed to me earlier this week, if Travis Lulay didn’t have bad luck, he wouldn’t have any luck at all. The B.C. Lions quarterback just regained the starting job after some indifferent to woeful performances by Jonathan Jennings, only to be cruelly felled once again by injury on the first series of the Lions game against Montreal on Friday night.

    The news is about as bad as it gets for the veteran pivot: a torn ACL and a long time rehabbing. The shocking run of injuries Lulay – a good football player and, by all accounts, a better person – has had of late is incredibly unfortunate, and we can only hope that Friday night in Vancouver wasn’t the last time we saw Travis Lulay on a football field.

    For the record, the Lions went on to score a decisive 41-18 victory over the reeling Alouettes. It was an encouraging performance by Jennings, but that was against a not-that-great Montreal squad. A better litmus test will be this week in Calgary.

    Ottawa’s quarterback situation
    Less than 24 hours after Lulay’s injury, as Canadians digested the news, Trevor Harris, who is statistically the best quarterback in the CFL at the moment, went down with an injury and has since been added to the six-game injured list with a sprained right shoulder.

    On Saturday afternoon Drew Tate was in charge of the Redblack offence, and it was Tate who attempted to dig the defending Grey Cup champions out of a hole against a suddenly revitalised Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The attempt was ultimately unsuccessful, Ottawa falling 26-22.

    Despite some fan-driven excitement about bringing back just-retired quarterback Henry Burris, Tate will get the start against Montreal this weekend, his first start in three years.

    Saskatchewan’s quarterback situation
    Not a good weekend for quarterbacks in the Canadian Football League. In fact there were three straight games – one on Friday night and two on Saturday afternoon and evening – where starting quarterbacks went down.

    Kevin Glenn, the veteran Rough Rider signal caller, came out of the game against the Blue Bombers in Winnipeg with what appeared to be an injury to his right throwing hand that put Canadian Brandon Bridge into the maelstrom at Investors Group Field, where the Winnipeg fans and players were getting revenge for their loss in Regina on Labour Day.

    The Riders lost 48-28 to derail their recent run of wins and big points hauls, and they have a tricky game this week against a resurgent Hamilton team in Hamilton.

    Glenn didn’t practice Monday, and that raises question marks for Chris Jones going forward. Bridge might turn out to be a very good quarterback, but the Riders are where they are in the standings thanks to Glenn, and they take a huge hit if he can’t play. With no Glenn, on the road against Hamilton screams ‘trap game’ to me.

    Winnipeg’s Mo Leggett had a day out
    Investors Group Field in Winnipeg was the personal playground for Mo Leggett in the Banjo Bowl Saturday against Saskatchewan. He had two touchdowns on a big day: an interception return and a punt return. Everything he touched turned to gold, and he was a major reason why the Bombers had a comfortable win over their arch rivals.

    Hamilton have two wins in a row
    Don’t look now, but another win or two in the coming weeks in the woeful East division of the Canadian Football League and the new iteration of the TiCats – June Jones coaching and Jeremiah Masoli at quarterback rather than Kent Austin coaching and Zach Collaros at the controls – are suddenly back on the fringes of playoff contention.

    Hamilton jumped out to a decent first-half lead on Saturday and withstood a furious Ottawa comeback to preserve the 26-22 win. Masoli wasn’t spectacular, but he played smart, mistake-free football – but the real story was running back CJ Gable, who looked like the CJ Gable of old on Saturday, recording 74 yards and two touchdowns on the ground and 28 yards of receiving to really spearhead the TiCats win.

    If Gable continues to get this sort of production, Masoli doesn’t have to be all-world, and Hamilton looms as dangerous.

    Calgary win ugly
    The mark of a good team is that they find a way to win no matter what – yes, I realise I’ve written this about the 2017 Stampeders, but it bears writing about again after a narrow 25-22 road win in Edmonton after what definitely wasn’t Bo Levi Mitchell’s best game.

    The reigning most outstanding player was a paltry 21-36 for 272 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Defence got it done for the Stamps, carrying the offence who had a night off, and that’s got to be incredibly encouraging for head coach Dave Dickenson.

    Jason Maas
    The Edmonton head coach lost his mind Saturday night in Edmonton when making his challenge of pass interference in the waning moments of the first half. It wasn’t a good look for the league, for the Eskimos franchise or for Maas.

    I get that he was upset, but there are ways to handle that state of mind, and going nuts on the sideline with every TSN camera in the joint focused on you probably isn’t the best one. Be better, Jason.

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