Report Card vs Montreal
QUARTERBACK – B+
The next one? A very solid CFL starter debut for Chad Kelly. He ended up with 264 yards, two touchdowns and a pick which are good numbers even in a slightly less than regular season game. What impressed me most, was unlike his few times under center, he was not looking to run right away, and he made some very precise throws into very tight coverage. He is definitely a gunslinger with all the fun and danger that suggests. He has a great arm and definitely shows the potential to be a good CFL quarterback, his ability to move the pocket and throw deep is definitely an asset. If he can combine this talent with opponent prep and playbook knowledge…sky is the limit.
WIDE RECEIVERS – B+
This grade comes from two fantastic, in traffic touchdown catches by Dejon Brissett and Juwan Brescacin. Both were able to get separation and come down with the ball, helping Kelly’s first start be a good one. Cam Phillips was a disappointment especially as he is part of the starting crew, but he couldn’t get going and ended up 4 for 8 targets. Tommy Nield also missed an opportunity to shine with some drops.
RUNNING BACKS – B-
Another good grade??? Yes, it was an entertaining game. The expectations were low, and they were easily met by a spirited effort. Daniel Adeboboye was an absolute hammer in his runs, smashing for yards that definitely were not easy. Montreal did not give up on run defense in this game and so it was tough sledding, but Adeboboye showed that he can be useful to the team in short yardage plays and more if needed. I am also intrigued by the use of Leake out of the backfield, much like Montreal punishes with screen and short passes.
OFFENSIVE LINE – B+
This was a new unit from the normal starting five, going with Cage, McKellar, Hunter, Giffen, and Churchill. A mix of audition, health check and position flexibility tests for them and they came out successful in my books. While opening lanes for the run game was not a strong point, they did not allow a sack against a Montreal team that had many starters going, even if they were in new positions. Upon a rewatch of the game, there was a lot more pressure than I had felt in the game and the line never gave in despite the onslaught of cover zero pressures Montreal threw at them. The Argos have an abundance of treasures at offensive line. Yes, there were some quarterback hits allowed, so it wasn’t a clean night but for a unit that would not have had much time together as starters, it was damn good.
DEFENSIVE LINE – C+
Just an ok night for this unit against Montreal. The Als were able to get 128 yards on the ground and Toronto had no sacks registered, despite a few close calls. New faces were here as well, with Ali Fayad earning the most attention as a possible contributor to the starting line up this season. He has a tremendous first step and a tight loop to the quarterback, rather than getting too far downfield. It will be interesting to see how he holds up against the run if he has to set an edge, but even if just used in obvious passing downs, he can have an impact in the playoffs. Great late season signing. Sam Achaempong was good in the middle and Deionte Knight showed quick feet and hands as well had a harder task in the middle of the field.
LINEBACKERS – B
Stepping in for Henoc Muamba is not an easy task and so this grade skews a little higher as Jack Cassar showed that he has potential past his current special teams ace level. Cassar looked comfortable in the middle of the field. He did not get lost in pass coverage or bullied by offensive lineman on slow reads and he tackled with authority. It was a mature within himself performance at the toughest spot on the defense. Jonathan Jones matched Cassar with 6 tackles and again looked terrific, adding in an interception on a beautiful pass drop. And of course, we are going to shout out Shaq Richardson who had a great interception as well. Is Cassar ready to start next year if Muamba hangs them up? Maybe and it is impressive that maybe is the answer.
DEFENSIVE BACKS – C+
Not a banner day for the unit, as Dominquite Davis ended up with a 92.9 percent passing completion with two touchdowns. They may have made DD some money today. Caleb Holden (not the best name for a db) was picked on a lot and the traditional deep zone bust on the sideline for a touchdown was tough to watch and I am still not sure why the underneath guy is not taking his receiver vertical in a trail technique. It was great to see Priester healthy and I thought Metchie had a hell of a game, leading the team with 9 tackles and just generally flying around on the field. Also, a shout out to single g Hagerty. Josh Hagerty has been a delight to watch develop into a CFL player and he may be the hardest hitter in the secondary when Edwards is not on the field. He was in on both Montreal turnovers, causing them with textbook legal violence.
SPECIAL TEAMS – C+
I may just change this heading to Mixed Bag. I was disappointed to not see Sato get his shot in this final zero stake game, what must my man do to get a shot at a FG??? Bede in for extra reps didn’t really pay off as he missed an extra point and didn’t get a shot at a long field goal. I am not worried about him, he'll be fine and he laid a LICK on Worthy. What is that noise? Is that the special team’s touchdown siren???? Jeremiah Haydel did the damn thing with a terrific balancing act run along the sideline for a score. If he can bring that in the playoffs, I will never mention his pass attempt again. Unfortunately, a terrible blocked punt cost the game, so special teams, you’ve mixed the bag again!
COACHING – B
Sato erasure aside, it was a fine final game of the regular season for the staff. I liked who they auditioned, and I liked that they gave most of them the entire game to get on film what works and what needs to be worked on. Vanilla plays on both sides of the ball was to be expected but is smart and now their biggest test awaits. I feel confident in this staff to get the Eastern Final prep done.