An almost perfect first half for Chad Kelly. He came out poised, prepared, and ready to dissect Hamilton. Two breathtaking field side throws and his "sudden change" dagger to Coxie were highlights of the half. To top it off, he ran in three touchdowns. The only concern is that there is no short yardage QB on the roster right now beyond Kelly. The grade is not just for stats but for handling the pressure of a home opener and looking every bit QB1.
RUNNING BACK: B+
Ouellette looks in mid-season Juggernaut mode, with his physical punishing runs. He still needs the right play calls though, misdirection and cutbacks but not stretch runs. Ouellette dominated the 4th quarter and bringing in Harris as a closer is a workable plan. It is like thunder and louder thunder.
WIDE RECEIVER: B+
Coxie has always teased with his potential, and he looked like a star tonight: 138 yards on six catches. Kelly spread the ball amongst the squad tonight which was great to see. I'd love to see KGJ with fewer reverses. He had targets but wasn’t on tonight. And Daniels still needs to be more dominant. Shout out to KGJ for his onside kick recovery.
OFFENSIVE LINE: A-
The line gave Kelly the time to throw and just missed a late blitz by Edwards that we all knew was due. The unit started creating huge holes in the second half and absolutely wore down Hamilton. Penalties were kept in check but still popped up at unfortunate times.
DEFENSIVE LINE: B+
The defensive line was stout against the run, controlling the offensive line, giving the backers clean lanes to clean up. I still need to see what happened on that first half touchdown, since it was so out of character tonight. They absolutely chased Mitchell for the entire second half, with him eventually going down. Orimolade's first steps are elite, and his crew absolutely controlled the line.
Debate rages on, but for now Pickett is a linebacker, though my vote for new role is "passbacker". Pickett was flying all over the field, a nonstop blitz threat, he almost had a pick-six to start the second half. McManus was a quiet killer all night and we are only starting to see what an incredible deal it was add Jordan Williams.
DEFENSIVE BACK: B+
Stiggers keeps showing what the coaches see in him with a pick in the endzone that turned the whole first half. The unit was a little maligned by some after a preseason with busts and deep passes, but the real games started today, and the unit was ready. The tackling was rock solid, with McFadden nearly killed a Ti-Cat on a quick screen. Hamilton made some yardage, but most were on highlight reel catches over the middle.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
Still some soft yards being given up on kick return defense and the punt return unit is still not a weapon or even a stone tool, gunners are just unblocked. Punt team was the strongest unit tonight. Haggerty had two perfect coffin corner punts and his leg was huge all game including a 66 yarder. Bede was clinical in his conversions and solo field goal.
The team came out confident and prepared, which is always the goal after a bye, but it can be a little sleepy and soft and that was never the case tonight. The game plans were excellent although it was a dozy start to the second half. I salute the effort to let Shiltz look effective in the 4th. I can feel the warm glow of a Hammer quarterback controversy from here.