Right now, its a battle between the worst team in the West (our Leos) and the worst team in the East (Hamilton)
I don't think there was hardly a CFL prognosticator or football fan that would have anticipated, with 6 games left in the 2017 schedule, our Leos would find themselves in last place in the West.
Some thought that Calgary might slip a bit, after such a successful 2016 season and a heart breaking Grey Cup loss. But they haven't. Few anticipated that the Eskimos would come out of the gate so strongly.
Many fans thought the Bombers, who relied so much on turnovers last season would have a difficult time duplicating their success. But led by Matt Nichols and Andrew Harris on offence, the Bombers are second in the CFL in scoring.
And then there were the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Chris Jones was laughed at. The Riders signed journeyman Kevin Glenn, who was viewed as too small, too old, and too mediocre and their was no one considered good enough to take over the quarterback reins and lead them to success.
But right now the Riders have scored more offensive points than our B.C. Lions this season. They have the most passing touchdowns in the CFL. They've given up less sacks than our Leos. Jones defense is also ranked 2nd in the CFL, only behind Calgary's defense. The joke Is not Jones but our B.C. Lions. Jones, in only his second season, after blowing up the Riders, is getting the job done better right now than we are here in Wally World.
All seven CFL analysts have our Leos beating Hamilton on Friday night. The return of Alex Bazzie is being viewed as a key addition to change our Leos defense. Last season we tied for the CFL lead in quarterback sacks. This season we rank 8th in that category in the CFL. The only players missing from last season's defensive line were Westerman and Bazzie and now Bazzie is back.
If our Leos lose this game our playoff chances fade. The reality is that our Leos are a more talented team than Hamilton. But when you are giving up the most sacks in the CFL, have turned the football over the most of any CFL team, and you are near the bottom of the barrel in getting pressures and sacks on opposing quarterbacks, its more than difficult to be an elite team, no matter how good you are at the skilled positions.
The real puzzler has been why we've been so bad on the offensive line this season. We only lost one starter from 2016 and that was Olifioye, who we traded. Calgary lost Derrick Dennis, the Most Outstanding Lineman last season and haven't missed a beat. They started 11 different offensive lineman due to injury last season and this season they lost their starting center and still, Bo Levi can stand in the pocket and do needle point before throwing a pass.
Well, perhaps it should not be a puzzler. With Dorazio coaching the offensive line and Khari Jones attempting to coordinate the old Calgary spread offensive playbook that Buono views as his offensive bible, no matter how old it is, we shouldn't expect too much, even if we have Jeremiah Johnson, Chris Rainey, Manny Arseneauz, Bryan Burnham, and Chris Williams in the skill positions.
At the start of the season, many experts wondered how this combination of players could be held down by opposing CFL defenses. Now they wonder how they can score.
Last week, against Calgary, we gave up four sacks in the first half of play. Jennings was also hit 17 times and we had 22 rushed plays according to CFL stats. You can't deliver offensively as a quarterback under that kind of pressure. Those stats also don't include well covered receivers and jumped routes.
The good news is that Hamilton has given up the most points in the CFL and they only have 5 interceptions on the season. Offensively, Hamilton has scored the least points in the CFL. Hamilton has the type of offence that can make a Mark Washington defensive scheme look better than it really is.
Alex Green will start at tailback for Hamilton, due to Gable's injury, and Green has been out of football for almost 2 years.
So here is our chance to get back in the hunt. Anything can happen in the playoffs. But you have to make the playoffs first. There are 6 playoff spots for 8 cfl teams. Right now we are not one of them but with 6 games left in the schedule, we still have a good shot.
So in words close to those of our 'fearless' leader:
There's no chance we're playing cute
We just gotta play hard and execute
If we don't want to give the ball a boot
On offence we gotta really execute
If we want our fans to 'hoot'
We gotta 'make plays' and execute
Hey, I'm not just some old football coot
I'm a legend, so just execute
Don't look for low hanging fruit
The name of the game is to execute
Receivers - you just run your routes
Its then up to our quarterback to execute
The playoff race is becoming more acute
So block and tackle and execute
Our coaching strategies are not in dispute
Its simple guys, just execute
Its all about desire and pursuit
Do II need to say again, 'just execute'
Do I have to find a new recruit?
Not if you play hard and execute
I am savvy and very astute
Heck, all you need to do is execute
But I will quickly substitute
If you are unable to execute
Right now this team is in disrepute
All because you won't execute
But I remain resolute
All football is about is the ability to 'execute'
Our scheme guys? The point is moot
Just go out there and execute
How often do I need to inpute
Its execute, execute, execute!!!
Lets hope we can 'execute' a win against the Tabbies.
Go Leos go!
HAM @ BC
While they’re 2-9, the Ticats are very much alive in the East Division playoff race. However, there’s a very slim margin for error. Three wins in four games would give Hamilton fans reason for optimism.
The Lions are hoping for more consistency from Jonathon Jennings, who threw three interceptions in a loss to the Stampeders. On defence, Alex Bazzie’s return could boost an already-potent defence. In short, the second game of Friday’s double-header features two last-place teams that need to start winning or their post-season hopes will fade. cfl.ca