Report Card vs Elks
QUARTERBACK - B
The first half was trending to an F as it was painful to watch. Overthrows and missed deep shots and only 30 odd yards to show for it. BUT my faith in MacLeod never wavered as I knew he would be better in the second half, which is a terrific quality to have in a quarterback. And true to form, he came out and made the throws, including a couple of beautiful sideline tosses and a dagger td to Daniels. Let me address this to TSN: he is not the best “worst” quarterback in the CFL. He is the star of the East leading Toronto Argonauts who is pace to throw for 5000 yards this season. The lowest possible evaluation of him is the third best quarterback in the league. And maybe next report card, I’ll rank the TSN pregame desk and see who is third and the best “worst”.
WIDE RECEIVERS - B
Again, these grades slide a little lower because they just represent a half of good football, and some notice of that dismal first half must be made. DaVaris Daniels is still him. Out of nowhere, he puts up 80 yards and a touchdown, his invisibility and deadliness are ninjalike and I’m glad he is on the Argos side. KGJ is Sunday morning coffee, absolutely necessary and dependably helpful. He does not draw accolades, but he is a cornerstone of this team’s success this year. Ambles still drops big plays but if he can get rid of that tendency, he can be a star.
RUNNING BACKS - A
Yes, it is against the Edmonton Ls but AJ Ouellette had himself a GAME and that has to be celebrated. 91 yards rushing, 10.1 per carry average, the winning touchdown, elite pass protection, a catch with 5 yac, Juggernaut was dependable all night and helped keep the field goal game going until things got straightened out in the 4th. IF Harris were to come back this season, what a dual back opportunity for the Argos, just think of the cross-misdirection plays…delightful.
OFFENSIVE LINE - B
A frustration first: how in the name of all that is holy have leagues not invented stats to help quantify offensive line play for the public. Without film study, I’m left with sacks against, runs for and holistic impression and it isn’t fair to the guys in the trenches who should be celebrated with everyone else instead of a small group of people who whisper about line play on the dark net. Having said that, here is my wholly inadequate take on the offensive line: pretty good. Not the clean night I hoped for, but just the one sack and that was largely on Leake. Newcomer Hunter looks good and if you can sneak a win and let Dejon rest his beat-up frame with his new baby, then job well done. Is that Peter Nicastro’s music??
DEFENSIVE LINE - B-
Lots of different looks from the unit today, and some success with an Oakman sack and they kept Cornelius in his pocket for most of the game. Some offside penalties to clean up though, Mr. Smith. Hopefully Oakman is ok, as he has been such an amazing addition to the Argos the past two years. I remember his signing and my raised eyebrow and all he has done is be a leader on the field, a menace to quarterbacks and a joy to cheer for. (*This reflection is in lieu of more technical analysis, Ed.)
LINEBACKERS - B-
Could this unit and Dline get Cs on a night that the Ls ran for over 170 yards…sure…if they lost but they didn’t, also write your own report card if you feel that way. Henoc Muamba is the last man of the three headed danger at linebacker, but he still is holding down the middle of the field. He keeps the screen and checkdown game in check and he punished the quarterback trying to cut back into the field for a score, with a veteran running the hypotenuse to beat a runner to the corner. The goalline stand in the second half was oddly ineffective, I’m not sure what happened but they just crumbled.
DEFENSIVE BACKS - A
Terrific game from the unit. Cornelius only threw for 185 yards and most of that was taking underneath routes that were given to him by the coverage. Peters stood out with a touchdown pass breakup, a Mutombo (also prayers to Dikembe Mutombo in his health fight) pass block and he was flying around the field like a man rejuvenated. Great to see. Shaq Richardson has been great in his return as well, and that continued tonight with a pass tip and a near sack that resulted in an interception. And of course, Metchie had the play of the game with his interception. The final passing plays of the game was a little fraught and I’d much prefer coming at the pass to Walker from depth and a bracketed double coverage in the end zone, but they got the job done.
SPECIAL TEAMS - A / F
Oh god, where does one begin with this mixed basket. Half of the basket is delicious fresh fruit and half is half empty beer cans picked up from the bushes behind the beer store in Mimico. Bede was an all star tonight, five for five with the longest being 49 yards! He kept the Argos in the conversation with those converts and that probably inspired the coaches to throw caution, dip into the playbook and try and win the damn thing. Bede’s excellence will never be take for granted by anyone who watched the kickers in the years before we brought him in. On the flip slide, the kick return game went from nothing to negative which is not the right direction. I had come to accept that it was a non-factor, but it definitely can not bury the team. The throw across was the worst thing I have seen in a LONG time and the fumble at the end nearly cost the game. Go back to just being nothing please kick return unit.
COACHING – B
I was so excited to see new aggressive HC going for it on 3rd and 4 early in the game but it was alas a standard pointless attempt to draw Edmonton offside. Too bad. The early challenge was terrible. You have to look at what calls are usually made, and that call is just not made against offenses AND the play didn’t matter AND it was the FIRST QUARTER. The challenge game has been a weakness all season and needs to be dealt with or put on a shelf. TIME OUTS are more important than random first downs. Coach Mace once again had a fantastic defensive scheme, different front looks, db rotations and heat when needed. I loved the heat on the final pass plays. The Montreal game is essentially a playoff game, so that will be the test, no more mistakes from the staff.