Report Card vs Hamilton
QUARTERBACK - A
McLeod has had better statistical nights, but tonight’s performance was the Acadia game McLeod. The Grey Cup potential McLeod. He had a tough first half as Hamilton was able to lock down receivers and get some rush to him but starting with the touchdown drive just before the half, he willed the team back into contention. A failure to score on that drive might have meant a quarterback change and it certainly would have turned the stadium darker. His ability to keep the play going and make the touchdown throw changed the game and he came out and dominated the second half. He made a throw on a deep out to the sideline in the third quarter that was perfection.
WIDE RECEIVERS - A
One of the biggest differences this season for the team has been the contested catches and the dropped passes. When this unit catches difficult passes and eliminates the terrible drops, this team is unstoppable. Daniels had a missed pass at the end of the first half, but then he more than made up for it with a brilliant, contested catch in the endzone to put the Argos up for good in the third. To hold on to the ball after that hit tells you his level of commitment to the team. I liked Banks running the reverse and he was used perfectly and if Damonte Coxie can continue to make catches like the one down the sideline tonight, that is a new gear for the offense.
RUNNING BACKS - C
I hate this grade but there just is no run game. Ouellette is highly effective in pass protection but his work in the passing game last week was neutralized this week with attention to him. Leake showed some potential, but he looked banged up from the first kick return. I enjoy him as a kick returner, but the backfield seems less comfortable. Another back needs to be added, just for health reasons and if they can find someone who can give them a real speed look, all the better.
OFFENSIVE LINE - B-
The pass protection was an improvement on last week and that made a huge difference in beating the man coverage. There are still no running lanes being opened and the goal line snafu was frustrating because the line doesn’t seem to be able to go on two down there. Adding a depth guard from NFL cuts would help this unit as well.
DEFENSIVE LINE - A
The Dline kept whichever Ticat QB happened to be in, and there were a lot of them, running for their life. Hamilton was unable to run the ball against a light box as the line just simply shut the running game down; Hamilton ended up with 60 odd yards of running. The line helped force the interceptions with their play and Ray had a massive sack when Hamilton was buried in the shadow of their own uprights. Hendrix continues to develop and shine, and Sam Acheampong had a great takeaway, despite his teammates lack of belief in his personal style.
LINEBACKERS - A
Quiet night for the unit in a lot of ways but it just shows how effective they can be without drawing attention or how easy it is to take their play for granted. McManis led the team with 11 tackles, and he absolutely took away the hope of any running game. Chris Edwards as always was a cruise missile searching for a target and Muamba took away any plans they had for quick slant passes into his territory. This unit is why the redzone defense has been so formidable.
DEFENSIVE BACKS - A+
Jamal Peters. From rising star to prime time start. Even without Shaq, this unit has been terrific, and they picked up from last week with a great performance. Yes, there were catches made on them as they do bend and the deep post, seam is an area that will need to be tightened up but with Peters they handed the Argos two turnovers, 6 points a sack and excellent run support. Carnell has really shown he deserves a spot on the field as well.
SPECIAL TEAMS - A
Let’s start with another unit that is taken for granted for its excellence, the Field Goal unit. Bede was 3 for 3 with two over fifty yards. He kept them in the game early and kept the crowd in the game as well by matching Hamilton’s kicking. The return game is still not much but the cover game is really becoming dependable and the dual weapon of Hagerty and Cassar on coverage is becoming what I felt it would be. Dominant.
COACHING - B+
I was not a fan of the first half offensive plan, but credit to the staff adjustments were made and the last drive of the first half and the second half were excellent. No professional team is easy to coach, and Dinwiddie has shown that he can keep the team together even when they have a few off games in a row. Coach Bell should be shouted out too for his work creating the best secondary in the CFL. Can they win the Labour Day Classic? That would put to rest the voices out there and I would love to see it.