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Each CFL West Division Team’s Biggest Obstacle

We are oh-so-close to the kick-off of the 2019 regular season. Prediction articles are well underway, overreactions to pre-season games have Twitter flooded with hot takes from every fanbase but the general mood is that of excitement. The entire league received a facelift (not just the New Era uniforms) as many players found new homes during free agency in February.

The West Division appears to be an even more difficult gauntlet than it was in years past if that was even possible. With the addition of Trevor Harris to the Edmonton Eskimos, one could make the argument that the three best quarterbacks reside in the West (depending on how you feel about Jeremiah Masoli). Below are each West Division team’s biggest obstacle from finishing first in the CFL West Division
BC Lions
Expectations
Call it an obscure answer if you must but this Lions team is entering the season with likely the highest of expectations. More than the defending Grey Cup Champion Calgary Stampeders, that’s saying something. Hiring the most sought after head coach in DeVone Claybrooks and signing the most sought after quarterback in Mike Reilly would’ve been enough to raise expectations on the west coast. However, it didn’t stop there.

Duron Carter, John White, Chris Edwards, Aaron Grymes, Lemar Durant, Sukh Chungh all made their way to British Columbia. At the same time, the Lions were able to retain Bryan Burnham, TJ Lee and Hunter Steward. What does this all mean? The Lions have a long way to fall if this doesn’t translate to immediate success. Could one make reference to the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles “dream team”? They could, but I’m not sure if someone would want to take it that far.

Nevertheless, hosting a home playoff game should be the lowest the bar goes, with a new coach, culture and quarterback time will tell how quickly this team is able to pull it together and make a run for their first Grey Cup since 2011.
Saskatchewan Roughriders
Quarterback/Offence
For the sake of not rehashing the same storyline that has dominated Saskatchewan over the past season, we’ll put it out there that the offence needs to be better. That starts with the quarterback, Zach Collaros. After striking out on Bo Levi Mitchell, Trevor Harris and Mike Reilly, the Riders brought back the veteran pivot and invested the remaining cap they had into the interior defence with Micah Johnson and Solomon Elimimian.

Make no mistake, despite the loss of Chris Jones, the defence on paper could be just as dominant as last season. But what will it mean if the offence struggles to put up points again? And that is precisely why you’re seeing a majority of predictions having the Riders finish last in the West. Saskatchewan did invest into its offence as well, bringing in star running back, William Powell. As well as offensive lineman Dakoda Shepley and going heavy on receivers early in the 2019 Draft.

For the Riders to prove their detractors wrong, it will start with Zach Collaros staying healthy, then producing. Nine touchdowns and a negative TD:INT ratio won’t get them 12 wins this year, not with Trevor Harris, Bo Levi Mitchell and Mike Reilly in the division.
Calgary Stampeders
Chemistry
While it’s often in professional sports that the championship team is raided of its talent. The Stampeders endured loses at the coaching and player level this past off-season. Calgary’s first and likely greatest loss was their defensive coordinator of the past three seasons, DeVone Claybrooks. However, the hits didn’t stop there with the defensive losses. Linebackers Alex Singleton and Jameer Thurman moved on to the NFL and Ja’Gared Davis signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Ciante Evans made a run at the AAF but quickly signed back in the CFL with the Montreal Alouettes,

Of course, the biggest loss may have been to the division rival Saskatchewan Roughriders. Micah Johnson, arguably the best defensive player in the CFL moved one province over to team up with another former Stampeder Charleston Hughes. On the offensive side of the ball, losses at receiver were the biggest talking point with Marken Michel, Chris Matthews, DaVaris Daniels and Lemar Durant all no longer with the squad.

The saving grace in all of this is that the Stampeders were able to retain prized quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell on a four-year deal. That and the Stampeders ability to produce homegrown talent may be enough to stay competitive in the CFL’s West Division.

🔊 “Talent is definitely one of the first words,”
Bo Levi Mitchell on what comes to mind when he thinks of the 🇨🇦 receiving group! pic.twitter.com/gWW4tYpj3W

— Calgary Stampeders (@calstampeders) June 9, 2019

Edmonton Eskimos
Coaching
No matter how high you are on Trevor Harris, the Edmonton Eskimos got worse at quarterback in 2019. As hard as that is to say, with their last quarterback being Mike Reilly, that’s just the fact of the matter. However, that’s not the biggest roadblock for a successful 2019 season in the CFL West Division for Edmonton. It’s coaching. As some may remember Jason Maas found himself on the hot seat towards the end of 2018 after a disappointing 9-9 campaign ended without a playoff appearance.

Fellow Last Word on Canadian Football writer, Jeff Burns broke down the Eskimos discipline issues mid-season last year. The results were quite telling. From 2016 up-to-the halfway mark of the season in 2018, Edmonton has led the league in average penalties per game. If the Eskimos are going to overcome their downgrade at quarterback and injury at left tackle, they’ll have to play much more disciplined football to stay in the race.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Quarterback Play
This isn’t so much a shot at Matt Nichols as it is an observation. Nichols is a fine quarterback who has proven he can make big plays when called upon and typically limits his mistakes. However, the Bombers can ill-afford for Nichols to have a stretch of games as bad as last season that saw Winnipeg lose four straight. In those games, Nichols threw for just four touchdowns to eight interceptions and averaged just 220 passing yards per game with a 58.85% completion rate.

While Chris Streveler provides some insurance, one has to assume that Winnipeg would likely want to avoid any quarterback controversy in 2019, especially with the CFL West Division as stacked as it is. If Nichols can stay consistent as he has throughout the majority of his career, the Bombers have a great shot at securing first place in the CFL West Division.
The Last Word
I’m sure this will go over like a lead balloon but the 2019 off-season has set up what could be the most competitive West Division we’ve ever seen. Whether that means the first and second place teams finishing with 13-5 records or a three-way tie for first at 11-7. Either way, it’s almost unpredictable. Every team listed has the potential to finish first but not every team will clear these obstacles and that means there will be West Division teams falling well short of their pre-season expectations.

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Saskatchewan Roughriders Training Camp Battles

After a very long off-season that consisted of everything from a wild free agency period, a tutorial in provincial labour laws thanks to the CBA negotiations and everything in between, football season is almost here. Saskatchewan Roughriders training camp battles will be the consuming the headlines in the weeks to come, below is a primer of who will be competing at what positions before week one. Under the watch of new head coach Craig Dickenson, there will be plenty of positions up for grabs.
Back-up Quarterback
Last season around this time, it was a battle for the starting quarterback position that was dominating headlines. Zach Collaros and Brandon Bridge duked it out for the starting spot. Collaros ended up winning out but Bridge saw plenty of time in Collaros’ absence, including the West Semi-Final.

That brings us to 2019, after striking out on Bo Levi Mitchell, Mike Reilly and Trevor Harris, the Riders brought back veteran pivot, Collaros. But it didn’t stop there, Saskatchewan brought aboard journeyman quarterback Cody Fajardo to compete with David Watford. Many fans will remember Watford getting his reps during Chris Jones’ infamous quarterback carousel in Collaros’ absence.

Fajardo brings with him three years of CFL experience but just 414 yards passing to show for it. His rushing stats are what stand out, however, with 437 yards and 13 touchdowns to show for his work.
Wide Receiver
The receiver position has overgone an overhaul over the last number of seasons. Back in 2017, Duron Carter, Bakari Grant and Naaman Roosevelt led the way. All three eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards that season. The up and coming Caleb Holley also put up 600 yards of his own. Now, two years later, just Roosevelt remains.

In the CFL’s off-season depth chart series, second-year player Shaq Evans appears to have the boundary receiver position held-down. However, opposite of him there’s a battle of Nationals at the field receiver position between Cory Watson and Mitch Picton. Watson was added this past free agency to provide a veteran presence on what is otherwise a young receiving corps.

Watson appeared in 18 games last season for the BC Lions, hauling in 38 catches for 408 yards and three touchdowns. Picton, on the other hand, has been biding his time on the Riders practice roster over the last two seasons. With Collaros firmly supplanted as the team’s starting pivot, both receivers should have equal opportunity to build rapport and prove their worth over camp and pre-season.
Offensive Line
The Riders have an interesting mix of young and old on the offensive line, which may come as a benefit. Left tackle is presumed to be anchored by Takoby Cofield, though Terran Vaughn started the first seven games of the 2018 season. At left guard, Brendon LaBatte will enter as the starter. However, it certainly helps that the Riders signed Dakoda Shepley who can step in if needed. Injuries hit the Riders offensive line in waves last season. Dan Clark will hold down the center position.

The most intriguing battle in the trenches may come at right guard. 33-year-old Philip Blake and former 11th overall pick in 2017 Dariusz Bladek appear to be vying for the starting spot. Both are nationals. At right tackle, Thaddeus Coleman will likely hold his spot as he did in 2018.
Cornerback
Again, citing the CFL’s off-season depth chart, it appears Crezdon Butler will be moving outside after spending a few seasons at defensive halfback. The emergence of Nick Marshall last season at least ensures one of the two cornerback spots are solidified. However, Murray McCormick of the Regina Leader-Post reported May 20th that slotback Kyran Moore was going up against Butler in various drills. Assuming Ed Gainey and Loucheiz Purifoy hold onto their spots, Butler with his experience would be a good fit opposite of Marshall.
Middle Linebacker
Finally, at middle linebacker, an interesting battle is taking place. Let’s pretend for a second that Solomon Elimimian is pencilled in at the weak-side linebacker spot and Derrick Moncrieff is on the strong side. That leaves Cameron Judge and Sam Hurl to compete for the middle linebacker position. Hurl has the experience of having been in the league since 2012 and has also been a major contributor on special teams. Judge, on the other hand, is a former second-overall selection from the 2017 draft. He burst on to the scene last season with 41 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. Both Hurl and Judge are nationals. This may be the most interesting battle at Saskatchewan Roughriders training camp.
The Last Word
Needless to say, there are plenty of more battles that are going to take place at the Saskatchewan Roughriders training camp. Players mentioned above may be surprise cuts or perhaps traded. Others may emerge as dark horses that many did not see coming, such as Marshall last season. No matter how you look at it, competition brings out the best in others and the Riders have plenty to offer in 2019’s training camp. Rider fans will hope it all translates to on-field play come kick-off June 13th against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

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Brooks Koepka on Precipice of History at PGA Championship

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FARMINGDALE, NY– Brooks Koepka may not have had the flashy Saturday round in the 60’s. Or exemplified perfect putting compared to Thursday or Friday.

What Brooks Koepka is showcasing is his unflappability. The mental and physical fortitude to overpower his competition. And to maintain the wide margin of a lead he has built from the start of the PGA Championship.

Koepka entered Moving Day with a seven-shot lead. With his third round of 70, the three-time major winner once again has a seven-shot lead, the largest 54-hole margin at a PGA Championship. And as Koepka explained after his round, he believes that the mental ferocity he possesses at major championships allows him to outplay and outlast his competition.

“I think I’m more focused than any of the golfers out there,” says Koepka. “My focus for majors goes up tenfold.”
Brooks Koepka Continues to Stay Within Himself at PGA Championship
Brooks Koepka is doing everything that golf fans around the world demand of their major champions. He is powerful off the tee, he can craft iron shots from the fairway or the rough to the green, and he can putt superbly. But most of all, Koepka has the tunnel vision that enables him to go about his business, without getting caught up in the energy of the moment.

For the PGA Championship, Koepka is leading the field in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green (3.720), Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (5.77), Greens in Regulation (79.6 percent) and second in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (1.86). It is evident that Koepka is playing a different game compared to the rest of the field, personifying the model of a modern golfer.

But on a day where the lowest round was a 67, shot by Harold Varner III, Koepka had some adversity he had to overcome. After bogeys on 9 and 10, Koepka hit his tee shot on the par-5 13th in the rough. His second shot ended up in the rough as well. But Koepka’s physical will and mental toughness allowed him to get up and down, sinking a stellar putt to get a birdie. The round had been stabilizing and Koepka was off to the races once again, maintaining his wide margin.

“It was a difficult putt,” stated Koepka. “It was just straight downhill, downwind. To see one go in was important, and it gave me momentum to go get a few coming in.”
Rest of the Field Looking Up to Brooks Koepka
With Brooks Koepka having the opportunity to win the PGA Championship wire-to-wire, the other golfers have had the tough task of trying to catch the leader. And it’s proven to be challenging. Bethpage Black golf course does not provide many openings for players to shoot a low round. And Brooks Koepka is performing at an ultimate level.

Harold Varner III, who will be playing with Brooks Koepka in the final group, will attempt to put some pressure on the leader. His third round of 67 consisted of four birdies and zero bogeys. Currently second in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting (2.28), Varner III has raised his play exceptionally. Especially considering this is Harold’s fifth major championship played, second of which he made the cut.

But Varner III knows the steep hill he has to climb to beat Koepka. And recognizes the inspiration that Brooks is providing to golfers like him to continue to work and improve.

“The first thing that comes to mind is I think it’s great for golf,” stated Varner III on Brooks Koepka. “If you don’t go to sleep and think, man, this makes me want to work harder, if I can be that good, then I don’t know why you’re playing.”
Brooks Koepka Eager for Opportunity at PGA Championship History
No golfer on the planet has been as dominant the last two years in the major championships than Brooks Koepka. From his U.S. Open victories at Erin Hills and Shinnecock to his PGA Championship win at Bellerive, Koepka has developed a mindset and familiarity with handling the moment when you are atop the leaderboard.

“Every time you get in this position, you learn a little bit of whatever it might be going into the final day,” says Koepka. “I just have to have the same mentality, focus on myself and not anybody else. And at the same time, staying patient and staying in the moment, and every time I do it, I feel like I’m getting better and better at it.”

With a victory Sunday at the PGA Championship, Brooks Koepka is etched into the annals of golf history. No golfer has ever held two back to back major championships simultaneously. Not only would Brooks Koepka complete this feat, but he would win four majors in less than two years. Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus, two of the pillar golfers in the history of the game, haven’t done that.

But for Brooks, his focus isn’t on the monumental history at hand. It’s to play each shot the best way he can. But is he confident he can pull out this major championship? You bet he is.

“I feel confident going into tomorrow. I’m excited. I’m very excited.”

Watch out PGA Tour. The Brooks Koepka show has just reached new heights.The post Brooks Koepka on Precipice of History at PGA Championship appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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Ranking the First Overall CFL Draft Picks since 2010

Lost in the shuffle amidst the CBA negotiations (or lack thereof) is the fact that the CFL Draft arrives on May 2. Over the years the CFL has been doing more to promote the young Canadian talent that moves in through the U Sports program.

But before we dive into the 2019 draft, this seemed like a good time for reflection on the impact former number one overall players have made on their respective teams since the turn of the decade.
9. Mark Chapman (2018) – Receiver – Central Michigan: Hamilton Tiger-Cats
It goes without saying but Chapman’s placement on this list has little to do with his level of talent. In 2017, Chapman put up 59 receptions for 875 yards and five touchdowns at Central Michigan. Stalled contract negotiations with the Tiger-Cats have prevented Chapman from seeing action in the CFL. It would be great to see an agreement come to fruition but until that happens, Chapman lands at nine here.

Mark Chapman(85) WR #Denver #Broncos hauls in 2 receptions #MinnVsDen #NFL #BroncosCountry #OrangeAndBlue #DenverBroncos pic.twitter.com/stF6n8Ab3w
— Fred Weinrauch (@Proplayersagent) August 12, 2018

8. Faith Ekakitie (2017) – Defensive Tackle – Iowa: Winnipeg Blue Bombers
After a disappointing rookie season, Ekakitie was released from the Bombers just 13 months after being selected first overall in the 2017 draft. He played just 14 games and registered five tackles. After signing with the Montreal Alouettes, Ekakitie suffered a devastating Achilles injury causing him to miss the entire 2018 season. Montreal released him in January and has yet to find a new home.
7. Shomari Williams (2010) – Linebacker – Queens: Saskatchewan Roughriders
Shomari Williams came into the league with much fanfare. Largely in part due to the lengths the Roughriders went to get him. A day prior to the draft, Saskatchewan traded punter Jaimie Boreham and the second and fourth overall picks for the first and eighth overall picks. After largely playing special teams his first two seasons, Williams registered 59 tackles his third season.

That subsequent offseason, Williams would sign with Hamiton for the 2013 season but played in just six games. After being traded back to Saskatchewan in 2014, he resumed his role on special teams before playing in Calgary for the final season of his career. Williams is now an assistant coach for the Queens Gaels.
6. Josiah St. John (2016) – Offensive Lineman – Oaklahoma: Saskatchewan Roughriders
After a dismal 2015 season, the Roughriders were awarded the first overall selection in the 2016 CFL draft. Chris Jones and his new regime opted to select standout Sooners lineman, Josiah St. John. However, a contract impasse held St. John to the sidelines to begin 2016. He started six games his rookie season. Unfortunately, St. John started just one game in 2017 and began 2018 on the six-game injury list. The emergence of last year’s first-round pick Dakoda Shepley may be a reason why St. John is still on the market.
5. Linden Gaydosh (2013) – Defensive Tackle – University of Calgary: Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Gaydosh tried his hand with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers first before signing with the Tiger-Cats in 2014. An Achilles injury in 2015 sidelined him that season but since 2017, Gaydosh has found a home in Toronto that allowed him to capture the 2017 Grey Cup. Gaydosh’s longevity in the league despite his injury setbacks ranks him in the middle of the pack.
4. Pierre Lavertu (2014) – Offensive Lineman – Laval: Calgary Stampeders
Lavertu likely would have been top three, if not number one on this list, if not for unfortunate injuries. Lavertu was instrumental to the 2014 Grey Cup winning Stampeders and earned himself West Division All-Star honours in 2015. However, injuries cut Lavertu’s 2016 season to just eight games and he was sidelined the entire 2017 campaign before deciding to hang up his cleats.
3. Ben Heenan (2012) – Offensive Lineman – University of Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Roughriders
Ben Heenan was an anchor on the right side of the line throughout his first three seasons with Saskatchewan that included a Grey Cup victory in 2013. His stellar play allowed him the opportunity to sign the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. However, it was there where he suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee during Colts training camp.

Despite speculation, his decision to retire wasn’t injury related but rather a curiosity for life outside of football. Despite just three seasons playing in the CFL, Heenan’s dominance at his position allowed him to finish top three on the list.
2. Alex Mateas (2015) – Offensive Lineman – Connecticut: Ottawa Redblacks
These last two selections were quite tough to come to a conclusion to. Mateas has been nothing but spectacular for the Ottawa Redblacks who selected him after coming off a 2-16 inaugural season. Since then, Mateas has not played in less than 17 games in his CFL career, anchoring the centre of the Redblacks line.

His play gave him the nod as a East Divison All-Star the last two seasons. Truly a home run CFL Draft pick for a young franchise that has fielded some potent offences since its inception.
1.Henoc Muamba (2011) – Linebacker – St. Francis Xavier: Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Though his CFL career has been twice interrupted by NFL stints, Muamba has been a contributing factor for every team he’s played on. Starting with the team that drafted him,  the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Muamba put up 61 tackles, three sacks and five forced fumbles in just his second season. In 2013 he would post 93 tackles while holding down the Winnipeg defence.

Muamba then tried out for the Indianapolis Colts, who waived him in September of 2015. Joining the Alouettes mid-season, Muamba registered just 14 tackles. In 2016, the Roughriders signed the star linebacker after the Dallas Cowboys released him in September. As 2017 rolled around Muamba would play his first full season in the CFL since 2013. Again, he displayed his full range of talent racking up 82 tackles, two interceptions and three forced fumbles.

Stopping Henoc Muamba (@HenocMuamba) is NOT easy, and he has his first sack of the day! #CFLGameDay pic.twitter.com/U5mOIJI16j
— CFL on TSN (@CFLonTSN) October 28, 2018
Though the Alouettes weren’t able to put together many wins in 2018, the newly signed Muamba played in all 18 games, registering a career-high 108 tackles and five sacks. The star middle linebacker has contributed everywhere he’s gone in the CFL, earning him the number one spot on this list.
The Last Word
The CFL Draft is being held this Thursday, May 2 at 8:00 pm EST on TSN, TSN.ca & TSN Direct. The Toronto Argonauts hold the first pick in the 2019 CFL Draft as the Montreal Alouettes forfeited their pick to select offensive lineman Tyler Johnstone in the 2018 supplemental draft. As can be seen above, there’s the opportunity for the Argonauts to draft a franchise-altering player. With the NFL to compete with, contract negotiations and scheme fit, there’s always a risk involved — but that’s what makes it so much fun.

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CFL Studs and Duds Weeks 13 through 16

CFL action in the month of September featured a ton of pick-sixes, perfect Canadian kickers, a halftime show announcement, questionable coaching, a logo controversy, and a bad day for CFL games.
CFL Studs
Battle of Alberta
In Week 13 the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos combined to score 90 points from 1,073 yards of offence. The Eskimos prevailed 48-42, escaping a near Juwan Brescacin Hail Mary walk-off touchdown. Romar Morris scored four touchdowns, three receivers went over 100 yards and Bo Levi Mitchell set a new career-high for passing yards with 491.
Bo Levi Mitchell
Speaking about Mitchell, the star quarterback threw for 1,068 yards in his last three games, tossing eight touchdowns. Mitchell set a career-high in passing yards (mentioned above), which was previously set in Week 11 this year (452 vs Winnipeg). Mitchell’s efforts have allowed the Stamps to clinch a playoff spot before October, and keep Calgary atop our power rankings week-in-week-out.
Pick-sixes
There were an abnormal amount of pick-sixes in the past four weeks. Defenders across the CFL recorded 10 interceptions for touchdowns, highlighted by the three pick-sixes in the Banjo Bowl. Saskatchewan’s Willie Jefferson’s absurd 97-yard return was the most memorable of the 10.

Willie Jefferson (@Stmn_Willie_Bmn) takes the scenic route to the end zone while completing a PICK SIX for the @sskroughriders.#CFLGameDay pic.twitter.com/q0k4UfjHOa
— CFL on TSN (@CFLonTSN) September 8, 2018
Cabbing back to a football game
Blue Bombers receiver Kenbrell Thompkins took a nasty hit from Ed Gainey in the first quarter of the Banjo Bowl. Thompkins was stretchered off and taken to the nearest hospital. Typically getting rushed to the hospital indicates a serious injury and the end of the individual’s day. Although Thompkins did not go back on the field, he actually took a cab back to Investors Group Field and was on the sidelines in full uniform for the third quarter.
Canadian kickers
Redblacks’ rookie kicker Lewis Ward and the Roughriders’ Brett Lauther have continued their unbelievable seasons during the past four weeks. During the last four weeks, Ward went 10/10 (he’s made 37 straight) and Lauther went 12/12. Both Canadian kickers are converting over 90% of the field goals and are the likely nominees for Most Outstanding Special Teams Player. Lauther’s 56-yard kick gave Saskatchewan a much-needed win over Toronto in Week 15.

Brett Lauther nails a 56-yard field goal to put the @sskroughriders up 30-28 with 1:14 remaining in the game.#LiveMic #CFLGameDay pic.twitter.com/4YEfIlIoI8
— CFL on TSN (@CFLonTSN) September 23, 2018
Alessia Cara
On Saturday the CFL announced that Alessia Cara will be headlining the halftime show at the 106th Grey Cup in Edmonton. Cara, 22, was born in Brampton, Ontario and is a growing star in the pop music genre. She’s known for songs such as Here, Wild Things, Scars To Your Beautiful, Stay, and 1-800-273-8255. Cara is a great get for the CFL.
John Rush
The second-year Bombers fullback chopped off his luscious hair two weeks ago and transitioned to a Walter White-esque look. Multiple people in Rush’s family carry a gene that puts them at an increased risk of getting breast cancer. As a result, Rush grew his hair out for three years and is donating his now-cut hair to someone going through chemotherapy treatments. Rush’s story can be viewed here.

Shoutout to @Wpg_BlueBombers @cancersociety and everyone who supported me and made this happen! Hopefully we were able to make it a little easier for someone battling cancer! 💙💛 pic.twitter.com/LeXyxBu9nS
— John Rush 🏈🇨🇦 (@JohnRushAthlete) September 20, 2018
CFL Duds
Toronto Argonauts
The Argos were 3-7 going into Week 13 and still had a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. After losing three straight in the past four weeks, the defending Grey Cup champions will likely miss the post-season. In a nine-team league that has 66% of the teams make the playoffs, the Argos’ 2018 season is even more depressing. McLeod Bethel-Thompson has been decent at quarterback, but Toronto’s issues exist throughout their whole roster.
Respecting the logo
Last week, controversy arose when the B.C. Lions Twitter account posted a video of several Lions dancing on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats logo on the field at Tim Hortons Field. Respecting/honouring your logo is important. That being said, stepping on a team’s logo in the locker room isn’t cool. Stepping on a team’s logo on their football field is not a big deal. The Ti-Cats didn’t win by 30 because of the Lions dancing on their logo. They won by 30 because they’re a better team than B.C., and were likely looking to avenge their loss at B.C. This story was way overblown. The Ti-Cats Twitter handled the situation well, though.

Thanks for stopping by, @BCLions. Safe trip home!
🕺💃🕺💃🕺💃🕺💃🕺💃🕺💃🕺 pic.twitter.com/oMeMCD36t9

— Hamilton Tiger-Cats (@Ticats) September 29, 2018
Fall Sunday games
Sunday CFL games before September are fine. But once the CFL schedules games (aside from the playoffs) head-to-head with the NFL, they lose mass amounts of viewers. The Alouettes hosted Saskatchewan last Sunday, and host the Argonauts in Week 20 on a Sunday. Even I will watch NFL over a meaningless Alouettes game. Regular season fall Sunday games should not be a thing; I’d even suggest the CFL move the playoff games and the Grey Cup to Saturdays.
Darian Durant
Darian Durant’s decision to retire before the 2018 season, and after collecting a $70,000 signing bonus, is in the past. The near-weekly news regarding Durant’s possible comeback is just silly. Durant’s playing ability spiraled downwards after he left Saskatchewan – I was even skeptical of the Bombers signing him at the time. At this point in the season, no teams could realistically use Durant.
June Jones punting
Jones infamous decision to punt from B.C.’s 37-yard line while up seven points with 59 seconds left cost his team a win. Lirim Hjarullhau likely makes that kick, and if not Chris Rainey unlikely turns a missed kick into points the other way. Instead, Jones seemed to punt for a rouge on purpose, the Lions came back to tie the game on the last play of regulation and then win in double overtime.
B.J. Cunningham
In the month of September, the Alouettes number one receiver caught five passes for 53 yards. You could debate that Cunningham is talented enough to be an elite CFL receiver, but 53 yards over three games says otherwise. Cunningham is Montreal’s go-to guy; he needs to put up better numbers.
Edmonton Eskimos non-offensive scoring
Week 17 is approaching, and so far every single Eskimos touchdown in 2018 has come from their offence. That being said, I don’t doubt that Mike Reilly can do it all, but a little help for the reigning Most Outstanding Player would likely be appreciated by him. Despite ranking second in interceptions and third in sacks, no Eskimos defender has found the end zone. Edmonton’s return game has been dreadful though, ranking last in both kick and punt return average.

Main image credit: Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’dtNa_N3RQIJIrtgaWU5jIg’,sig:’0oMe9-2IZzWJ7Qdg75bVGjkuWYs3-hbJ816fzcedF2Q=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’1019605808′,caption: true ,tld:’ca’,is360: false })});The post CFL Studs and Duds Weeks 13 through 16 appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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