Rattle or Hum
Despite only completing 57 percent of his passes and putting up a pedestrian passer rating of 75, Chad Kelly showed poise in leading the Argonauts to a dominating win in Edmonton. After throwing two bad interceptions, instead of becoming rattled, he regained his composure and the Argos rode an outstanding performance by their offensive line to 193 yards on the ground. The o-line opened some huge running lanes allowing Ouellete to average 4.7 yards per carry, Harris 5.3 yards per carry and Adeboboye 6.9 yards per carry! The Argonauts' line owned the LOS and allowed no QB sacks. The Argos out-sacked Edmonton 6-0. They dominated both sides. This is an ideal scenario for the development of Kelly. Support him with a strong run game while he learns on the fly and they continue to win as they go. He doesn't need to carry the Argos on his back, he just needs not lose it for them. Royce Metchie picked up where he left off last season and continues to make an insane number of tackles for a safety. He added a pick-six to his stats. He is the All-Canadian safety in the broadest sense. Pickett, McManis and Metchie stand out on a team of veritable defensive all-stars.
Meanwhile, Edmonton's QBs completed a sizzling 79 percent of their passes for a combined QB rating of 141. Edmonton is a bad football team but their young QBs are taking a disproportionate amount of the blame. These stats are exceptional given the relentless pressure that the Argos front seven applied all game long. That's not to say that Edmonton's quarterbacking situation isn't a mess. It's a mess of their own making. Chris Jones' capricious decision to pull Locksley after one play is a case in point. He clearly lost his patience and Locksley's body language on the sideline, caught on camera, revealed a seething young man who clearly felt he was unjustly treated. He had a good case for it. One can only imagine what was said behind closed doors before his release Tuesday. It's not as classless as Tiger-Cats' Chris Edward's petulant faux handshake, but Jones is the head coach and is supposed to be the adult in the room. Both of these episodes reflected poorly on their respective teams. They were bush.
The Edmonton QBs ran up against a ferocious Argonaut defence that limited the Edmonton running game to 51 yards and only 3.6 yards per carry. This differential was the determining factor in the game. It allowed Kelly and the Argos to overcome his mistakes and consistently put the Elks in second and long situations. Edmonton's biggest problems are not with quarterbacking. They are along the line of scrimmage and with their play-calling. Chris Jones has acquired a reputation for being a defensive guru and someone who is a winner. If you look at his history you will see that he has coached championship teams. Take a closer look and you will see that each of them had a hall of fame quarterback at the helm : Anthony Calvillo, Ricky Ray and Michael Reilly. Great players make great coaches.
Two seasons ago the Argos were on the precipice of advancing to the Grey Cup when Dane Evans took over from Jeremiah Masoli at half time and completed 12 consecutive passes to steal the Eastern final. Jones was the Argos defensive coordinator but did not adjust and was unable to scheme a single incompletion in the second half. The Argo defence looked like a deer in the headlights as they let a Grey Cup berth slip through their fingers. Is Chris Jones overhyped? You be the judge.
The BC Lions are also terrific on the line of scrimmage. This tilt looks to be an outstanding matchup. The Argos must win the turnover battle to beat them. They will also need to cover and return kicks much better than they did in Edmonton.
Around the League
Cody Fajardo continues to prove his haters wrong. In spite of getting sacked four times (10 in two games!) he put another stellar performance together completing 76 percent of his passes and a QB rating of 144. The Als are 2-0 now albeit against two of the league's worst three teams. They will need to pass protect better for Fajardo or their winning streak will come to a screeching halt against superior competition. Fajardo is the toughest QB in the League but that won't be enough against Winnipeg, Toronto or BC. He is currently the top QB in the East. Fajardo has Montreal overachieving and is not turning the ball over. How long can it last with porous pass protection? TSN analyst Paul LaPolice referred to Montreal's defence as the best in the league. Nope. Not in the top three and second in the East to the Argos. The Ti-Cats appear to be toothless at the moment.
Jake Maier is really struggling in Calgary, this could be the year the Stamps crossover or perhaps even miss the playoffs. Nevertheless, its hard to count out Dickenson and Hufnagel.
The Ti-Cats and Ottawa look to be heading into stormy weather ahead. Their quarterbacking situations are unstable and neither team is playing with any confidence,
Mathieu Betts and the Lions made the Bombers o-line look old. If Vernon Adams can maintain his consistency and protect the ball the Lions are going to be a very tough team to beat. They also have a capable back up in Dane Evans. I see them as the top team in the country at the moment.