Saturday, July 2, 2011

Montreal/BC Review Week One CFL

I admit to being a football nerd. I eat it, breathe it, love it. I have been following the CFL as an American growing up in Los Angeles since the 1980's, as I had learned of it from a purchase of the annual Street & Smith Pro Football magazine that has since been swallowed alive by the Sporting News. One thing that Street & Smith did was that they covered levels of football thought obscure in the State. I latched onto it, as I did the USFL and Arena Football.

With the NFL in full blown lockout mode, I am thrilled to see that the NFL network is broadcasting games here in the USA. We were not shown any pre-season action, but once opening day hit on Thursday, it was full speed ahead, and we were treated to Montreal defending their back-to-back titles with a home opener against the BC Lions. Here are my observations of that contest.

Montreal 30, Brtish Columbia 26

#1: Travis Lulay is the BC Offense
Lulay passed for 366 yards and 1 score, while not tossing a pick. He is a good young QB, and he took everything that the Als tossed at him, and Montreal tossed blitz after blitz at him from every angle. Lulay resisted making the bad throw, and his young group of receivers kept up with him as best as they could.

#2: Geroy Simon can still play
Simon is the guy that is probably saving Lulay's bacon most of the time. Another great outing, as he was active early and totalled up 115 yards receiving, with a long of 36 yards. He can still show the kids a thing or two.

#3: Keeping Paul McCallum was a wise choice.
The vet came in and knocked in 4 of 5 FG attempts on the game and averaged a booming 44.2 yards per punt. He's another player with time on the short side who keeps showing the young guys that the old guys can crank it.

#4 The Lions youth shows...often
Three 15 yard penalties in the first half of the game helped bury the Lions 27-10 at the half, and their comeback in the second was short ended.

#5 Anthony Calvillo is still the king of the QBs
Calvillo made it look easy in the first half of the 30-26 win over BC. He tossed three beautifully placed TD passes in the first half, two to Jamel Richardson, who is making himself into a premier receiver in the CFL. Richardson finished with a monster game, grabbing nine receptions for 162 yards and 2 scores. SJ Green was on his game as well, as he posted 6 grabs for 88 yards and the game's first TD from 51 yards out.

#6 Brandon Whitaker could be a premier back in 2011
Avon who? Whitaker may not be the best back in the league, but he surely had a premier performace, rushing for 119 yards on 17 carries. More importantly, the fear about his pass block skills proved to be unfounded, as he blocked very nicely.

#7 Welcome to the chance of a lifetime, Jeff Hecht edition.
When Jerald Brown fractured his ankle on a freak play early in the game, Jeff Hecht came on to take his place, and he made an impact immediately, especially on a missed FG return when young Mr. Hecht plowed under a BC lineman on a beautiful block not seen by many guys his size. Brown may be out for a while, but Hecht certainly impressed in his first game.

#8 Sacks still come easy for John Bowman
Bowman,who collected 24 sacks in the previous two seasons, got off to another great start, collecting a sack of BC QB Travis Lulay. Maybe teams should double up their blocking schemes, or roll the QB away from Bowman...just a thought.

Coming tomorrow, the Toronto-Calgary edition...

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