The @20YardEndZone Podcast – #GreyCup Edition

The 20-Yard End Zone Podcast – Grey Cup Edition!

The guys discuss the CFL’s East and West Finals – two very different contests – and preview the 104th Grey Cup match-up between the Ottawa Redblacks and the Calgary Stampeders. Footloose shares some Grey Cup memories, looking back at the CFL’s first Grey Cup festival in 1948. This week’s guest interview is News Talk 770 and Calgary Stampeders radio host Dave Rowe. Dave and Footloose have a fun chat about what we can look forward to on Grey Cup Sunday.

Thanks for listening!

@DefendTheR

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The 20-Yard End Zone Podcast – Episode 2

The 20-Yard End Zone Podcast – Episode 2

The guys discuss the headlines from the Canadian Football League in Week 8, plus an interview with News Talk 770 and Calgary Stampeders broadcaster Dave Rowe on the Calgary-Saskatchewan rivalry.

Thanks for listening!

@DefendTheR

Delays, Controversy and a Winner

Courtesy of Sportsology.com and The 20-Yard End Zone

By Footloose

It was an interesting week in the CFL.

Things started Thursday night in Winnipeg on Milt Stegall Night. 

After a lightning delay of more than two hours, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers stormed out of the gate and took a 34-0 halftime lead on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and would win 37-11.

Stegall, the second all-time leading receiver in CFL history behind Geroy Simon, was honored with his family at halftime. Stegall, a Cincinnati native, played at Miami (OH) and then was a Cincinnati Bengal for three seasons before going to Green Bay and then to Winnipeg. During his career, he was a favorite of ESPN personality Chris Berman.

CJ Roberts scored on a pick six early in the game, and then Matt Nichols fired TD passes to Thomas Mayo and Clarence Denmark. Andrew Harris scored a touchdown on the ground.

Hamilton scored a TD in the third quarter when Jeremiah Masoli connected with Terrence Toliver for a 44-yard gain to set up a one-yard TD run by Jeff Mathews.

BC wins in Montreal

Friday night, the BC Lions went into Montreal and outscored the Alouettes 15-0 in the fourth quarter to win 38-18.

Jonathan Jennings completed 27 of 32 passes and tossed a TD to Manny Arceneuax. Jeremiah Johnson scored a touchdown on the ground, and Loucheiz Purifoy made the play of the game by scooping up a loose ball and scoring on a fumble recovery. Richie Leone added four field goals.

BC sacked Montreal QB Kevin Glenn six times. Glenn threw a TD pass to BJ Cunningham and ran for one score.

Bo knows winning

Bo Levi Mitchell of the Calgary Stampeders is the all-time leader CFL in winning percentage among quarterbacks, and he played like it Friday.

Mitchell threw for 312 yards and fired a TD to Anthony Parker in the 35-15 win over Saskatchewan. Jerome Messam and Andrew Buckley ran for TDs. Rene Paredes kicked four field goals.

Rob Bagg scored on a 48-yard pass from Darian Durant for the Riders.

Controversy in Ottawa

All eyes were on Henry Burris as he bounced back with a 23-20 win over the defending Grey Cup champion Edmonton Eskimos in a penalty-filled contest in Ottawa Saturday night.

Burris threw TD passes to Ernest Jackson and former New Orleans Saint Chris Williams. After a Jermaine Robinson interception and long return in the dying minutes of the game, Chris Milo kicked a 17-yard field goal to give Ottawa a 23-20 lead. The Redblacks’ defence then came up big by forcing three Mike Reilly incompletions for the win.

Edmonton scored the most unusual TD of the year when a Burris pass appeared to hit the ground but it actually bounced off Williams’ foot and went high into the air. JC Sherritt interception the ball on the run and raced down the sideline to dive into the end zone. Reilly hit Chris Getzlaf, the brother of NHL star Ryan Getzlaf, for the two-point convert.

At halftime, Burris was interviewed by TSN’s Matthew Scianitti, and he unleashed a rant about the criticism and doubts he has faced from fans and, in particular, the TSN panel.

“Henry and I are friends and we have talked about it and shared a laugh,” said Milt Stegall, one of the panelists, in an interview that can be heard on our podcast.

This week’s games

Thursday – Montreal at Edmonton

Neither team has consistently been able to put a full 60 minutes of football together this year, but both teams have explosive passing games. Look for a high-scoring barnburner.

Friday – Winnipeg at Toronto

Toronto is quietly one of the best teams in the league, and back-up Logan Kilgore shone in his first CFL start after replacing an injured Ricky Ray. Winnipeg is also trending upward, and this is a new team after Matt Nichols replaced Drew Willy as the starting QB.

Saturday – Calgary at Saskatchewan

The Riders are a much better team playing in front of the best fans in the CFL at home. They beat Ottawa at home, but can they beat Bo Levi Mitchell and the Stampeders?

Saturday – Hamilton at BC

Zach Collaro smakes his return to the Tiger-Cats’ line up as they face the red hot BC Lions in Vancouver. Hamilton needs a win to keep pace with Toronto and Ottawa in the standings, but BC has been a juggernaut behind coach Wally Buono and quarterback Jonathan Jennings.

Thanks for reading!

@DefendTheR

Ranking the CFL’s Signature Looks

By: Santino Filoso

Sig·na·ture (ˈsignəCHər,-ˌCHo͝or/)

noun

  1. a person’s name written in a distinctive way as a form of identification

The CFL in conjunction with Reebok recently released a brand new line of 3rd jerseys. This new “Signature Look” line has been mainly met with scorn and criticism even though they’re not all bad. In fact, we here at Defend the R took it upon ourselves to conduct a thorough analysis of each team’s new getups and rank them for you! Factors that went into our decision included visual appeal, style, fan interaction, use of team colours, how the uniforms looked in person vs being photoshopped/enhanced and ties to team history. Without further ado, here are the rankings:

9) The Saskatchewan GREENWHITES

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Though we are a fan run, independent blog, we here at Defend the R were privileged to sit in on Saskatchewan’s meeting with Reebok’s creative team. Here’s the *actual* transcript of how it went down.

Reebok: Thanks for coming today everyone, before we begin I’d just like to-

Saskatchewan: Green

Reebok: Uh, yes, okay, as I was saying-

Saskatchewan: Green

Reebok: Okay, maybe I’ll just give you the floor

Saskatchewan: Green, green, green

Reebok: Hmmm, alright, we can work with that, how about 50 shades of green?

Saskatchewan: GREEN!

Reebok: Why don’t we break for lunch?

Saskatchewan: Did you say watermelon!?

Reebok: I’m sensing a theme here….

All kidding aside, these uniforms are a complete mess. If every shade of green was meant to be sewn together on a piece of fabric, Martha Stewart would’ve done it already. The helmets a look like watermelons which is an ode to the fans who wear them in the stands and the “Rider Nation” tag inside the collar is a nice touch. The GREENWHITES also deserve praise for breaking new ground as the first and only team in pro sports history to feature a tramp stamp on their jersey.

Montreal Alouettes v Saskatchewan Roughriders
You can get your own GREENWHITE tramp stamp tattooed for free after every home win!

8) Winnipeg Blue Bombers

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Traditional team colours, who needs’em? Not the Bombers faithful, at least to management’s thinking. Ditching their beloved golden threads, the Bombers instead embraced their inner warrior by sporting the US Military’s Arctic camouflage. There’s not a lot to like if you’re a Bomber fan, as even the helmet looks like the after splatter of a flock of seagulls. It’s as if Reebok mixed up their Toronto and Winnipeg files with this look being the bastard love child. Last time I checked the team without gold and wearing double blue was based in Toronto. Maybe these uniforms will prove to be a stroke of genius late in the season as the team will blend in and disappear into the snowy weather. When even your players struggle to appear enthusiastic, you know you’ve missed the mark.

Jason Vega isn't impressed
Jason Vega isn’t impressed

7) The Toronto Argonauts

chipmunk   should never go with this  titanswhite

What do you get when you cross Alvin the Chipmunk’s trademarked A with the Tennessee Titan’s road uniforms?  The Argos’ new signature look of course! Don’t get me wrong, I love me some powdered blue but the layout is simply all wrong. The best part of this look is the helmet, which looks crisp and clean.

a1

6) The Hamilton Tiger Cats

h1

Raise your hand if you thought these garbage bag grey uniforms would be ready in time. The Ticat’s new look features charcoal grey to incorporate the smog from the factory smoke stacks surrounding Tim Horton’s field. The yellow reflector numbers are a nice touch as they will help fans keep track of their favourite players through the haze of still settling construction dust. Much like the Argos, the best part of these looks are the helmets with the faded tiger logo on one side and the player number on the other.

If your pet tiger is looking this grey, take him to the vet ASAP!
If your pet tiger is looking this grey, take him to the vet ASAP!

5) The Montreal Alouettes

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The Als stuck to their traditional colours by going with grey and silver on their futuristic looking new uniforms. Going back to their roots, the Alouettes chose to honour the first French Canadian Bombing unit in the Air Force, the 425 Squadron, who were nicknamed the ’’Alouettes”. Renown for their toughness and bravery, the 425 Squad was the inspiration when Montreal chose it’s team name in 1946. The only real knock on this look that for whatever reason the team and league have released very few pictures, so it’s really hard to judge just how good the complete product is or what the helmets really look like. One thing that does stand out is that the feather sleeve design looks like snowflakes. The Als decided to only use MTL on the front because it’s a) unilingual so they avoid any problems with Quebec’s strict language police and b) it saves space.

Dévoilement 3e Uniforme des Alouettes de Montréal
It’s 425, not 4225!

4) The Edmonton Eskimos

e1

The Eskimos stuck to the KISS (Keep It Stupid Simple) philosophy with their new look and I can appreciate that. The Eskimos kept to what they and their fans know, the green and gold colour scheme and in so doing created something that both traditionalists and younger fans can enjoy. While the enormous double Es might not be the prettiest thing to look at, keep in mind that these are supposed to be signature looks, so who can fault the Eskimos for putting their signature front and centre? Stitching the lyrics to part of their fight song inside the collar is a subtle touch that links these jerseys to the team’s storied history

e2
“The Green & Gold is bold”

3) The BC Lions

bc2

Jumping the gun on the rest of the league, BC actually released their signature jerseys last year, only they called them their “Premier Look”. The bane of sports announcers league wide, these sharp uniforms boast a gun metal look that is perfectly offset by the safety pylon orange outlining their black numbers. Though some complain the numbers are hard to read who cares, unless you’re playing the Redblacks, Ticats or Stampeders, you’ll be the only team on the field in all black! The Leos didn’t mess with a good thing by leaving the paw decal on the side of the helmet untouched.

bc1
Sorry Bighill, you’re #3 actually

2) The Ottawa Redblacks

rb1

A wise man once said that once you go plaid you’re always glad and boy was he ever right. From Day One the Redblacks have embraced Ottawa’s lumber history and considering that our mascot is an axe wielding (though kid friendly) lumberjack, it was only a matter of time before plaid worked its way onto our uniforms. It’s called a Canadian tuxedo for a reason and we here in the Nation’s Capital choose to embrace stereotypes. The Redblacks signature look definitely puts the red in Redblacks. The checkered helmet is the crown jewel of this uniform (literally), though it’s a bit strange to see an Ottawa helmet without the white iconic R on it. But to be fair to Reebok, it probably didn’t mesh well with the plaid since everyone knows that the only thing that goes with plaid is more plaid. The one thing holding this look back from top spot is the big white looking (but actually silver) saw blade on the front, it just screams out of place. Not to mention the fact that it has an uncanny resemblance to a Dr. Seuss character.

rb2
Long lost cousins?

 

1)  The Calgary Stampeders

cs2

The Stamps must really love the Redblacks home uniforms, because their signature look is almost exactly the same. This NRA approved uniform sports a pair of revolvers on the shoulders and gloves; a tribute to the Wild West or a reflection of the city’s gang violence? What vaults this look ahead of all the rest is Calgary’s new helmet. The bitumen black front of the helmet fades away to red and is highlighted by speed lines and a chrome horse logo. Like the GREENWHITES , Ticats, and Esks, the Stamps also have an engraving stitched on their collar, but theirs is in Latin. It doesn’t matter that nobody on the team could tell you what “Quidquid Requiritur,” means (Whatever It Takes), having a dead language on your jersey simply makes you cool.

cs1

Will you buy your team’s new jersey? How would you rank’em? Be sure to leave a comment and let us know!

@RedBlackGade

REDPLAIDS vs Stamps; Different Jersey, Same Result

By: Santino Filoso

1st

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon and wearing two thirds of their new CFL Signature Look uniforms, the Redblacks welcomed the Calgary Stampeders to TD Place for their only matinée game of the season. Despite battling hard all game the Redblacks ultimately lost, dropping their record to 1-7 on the year.

Pre-Game:

– Continuing to prove that Ottawa is indeed a football city, the Redblacks record their 4th straight sell-out

– The whispers and rumours circulating all week are proven true when the Redblacks come out for warm up wearing their normal black helmets instead of the plaid ones from their plaid Signature Look

– Conspiracy theorists have a field day trying to explain the lack of plaid helmets

But bottom line

1st Quarter:

– The Redblacks strong defensive play carries over from last week as Antoine Prunueau (#6) tips Bo Levi Mitchell’s pass and Jonathon Williams (#75) does his best Odell Williams impression, picking it off and rumbling 35 yards to the house, sending #RNation into a frenzy; 7-0 for the home team

– On Calgary’s next possession Brandon Lang (#91) sacks Mitchell

– After picking up a 1st down and being flagged for holding, Henry Burris’ (#1) pass sails over Wallce Mile’s (#84) head when he stops running for a deep ball

– Prunueau continues to fly around, tripping up Cornish as he tries to bounce a run wide

– Despite being backed up by penalties Mitchell uses his legs to move the sticks

crop_20669354718

– Deciding that injuring starting safety Eddie Elder (#5) with a vicious blindside block isn’t enough, Nik “Buffet” Lewis decides to dance and celebrate over the prone Redblack #pureclass

– Facing 3rd and 1 on Ottawa’s 7 yard line, Stamps HC John Hufnagel sends out the short yardage package and back up QB Drew Tate scrambles to the outside, strolling into the end zone and capping off an 11 play 52 yard drive to even the score

– A failed fake reverse + a Chevon Walker (#29) unobjectionable conduct penalty = the Redblacks starting on their own 7 and quickly going two and out

– With the help of Jerrell Gavins (#24) , safety Eric Fraser (#7) breaks up a deep pass, seemingly for the first time this season

2nd Quarter:

– Prunueau breaks up a pass on 2nd and long

– Stamps kicker Rene Paredes breaks his streak of 12 straight field goals, missing a 31 yarder but still tacking on a rouge

– Jon “Dangerbeard” Gott (#63) catches Burris by surprise, snapping the ball before he’s ready

– Brett Maher’s (#3) punt combined with a holding penalty pins the Stamps at their 9 yard line

– Jermain Robinson (#32) nearly picks off Mitchell, but instead gets flagged for illegal contact

– Jasper Simmons (#31) tackles Cornish short of the first down, forcing the Stamps to punt

simmons

– Showing his wheels, Burris scrambles for a 1st down

– Full of informative incorrect tidbits, TSN announcer Duane Ford mentions that the Redblacks haven’t scored a TD in 44 straight offensive possessions and that Kerry Jospeh was the last QB to throw a TD in Ottawa (which is wrong since Thomas DeMarco (#17) did it against the Wheaties earlier this year)

– A promising drive that featured Khalil Paden’s (13) first catch as a Redblack a few strong runs from Walker ends in a punt when Burris is sacked for a 17 yard loss, pushing the Redblacks out of FG range

burris
Trying to hold back the rush? Or his critics?

– The Stampeders get flagged when they illegally block a Redblack into the  player into a line judge

– Gavins gets flagged for illegal contact, bringing the Redblacks total to 6 flags for 52 yards so far

– Pocket collapsing, Burris fumbles but the Redblacks retain possession when J’Michael Dean (#64) hops on it like an offer of seconds of home cooking

– With 30 minutes of play in the books, the football jerseys lead the hockey jerseys 8-7

Half-time:

– The TSN panel expresses surprise that Ottawa hasn’t been blown out yet

3rd Quarter:

– The Redblacks receive the ball to start the half and move the chains a few times thanks to Walker’s tough running, another Paden catch and a QB draw

crop_20669854324

– Redblacks jar the ball loose on the ensuing punt but the Stamps maintain possession

– Crowd noise is a factor as the Stamps get flagged for false start, pushing them back to their 5

crop_20669754334
R-Nation is a force to be reckoned with

– Picking up where he left off last week, Williams nails Mitchell up high long after the ball is out and gifts the Stampeders 15 yards

– Joe West burns by Fraser for a 58 yard catch

– The Stamps drive 91 yards to Ottawa’s 9 yard line but on 3rd and inches Keith “I Like Hittin’ People” Shologan (#74) forces and recovers a fumble

– Trying to take advantage of another defensive gift, Miles and Henry² (Marcus Henry #16) make catches of 22 and 4 yards respectively before Burris gets clobbered as he throws and tosses the ball right at Stamps DB Jamar Walls

– Stampes do what the Redblacks’ don’t and turn the turnover into points with a 32 yard FG

4th Quarter:

– Despite catches by FB John Delahunt (#49) and Miles, the Redblacks stick to their trend of going two and out

– The defense doesn’t even bend as they force the Stamps to go two and out

swarmingd
Swarming and relentless

– Burris connects with Dobson Collins (#80) for a 15 yard gain and passes Danny “Big Mac” McManus for 3rd place on the all time CFL passing list

– Joe West makes Ottawa fans cross their fingers that Elder’s injury isn’t serious as he toys with Fraser and catches a 51 yard bomb

– The Stamps 41 yard FG is wide right and Jamill Smith (#15) denies the rouge by returning the missed kick to his own 4 yard line

– Dubious play calling leads to another Maher punt and the “Ho-bart” chants rain down

– Overcoming a 3rd down, the Stamps eventually punch the ball into the end zone when Sederrik Cunningham runs 20 yards untouched

– With the score at 18-7 and thinking they’re at a Sens game wayyyyy out in Kanata, some uneducated members of R-Nation begin to leave the stadium

– The Redblacks respond to the Stampeders score with an incompletion and a Burris sack to go two and out

bsack

– Proving that lightening can strike twice, Cunningham fields Maher’s short punt and weaves 66 yards to the end zone, *note* Eric Fraser falling down without being touched doesn’t help the coverage any

– DeMarco enters the game and is serenaded with cheers until he also goes 2 and out

– Exhausted after being on the field for most of the game, the defense finally snaps allowing another TD when Hugh Charles gallops 15 yards untouched

– The Redblacks’ receivers prove that they have zero chemistry with either of their two QBs as DeMarco’s passes fall to the ground with absolutely nobody around

– With just over a minute left in the game, Junior Turner comes in low on DeMarco and delivers a shot to his knee, in all likelihood tearing an ACL/MCL, ruining his season and quelling a QB controversy in the Nation’s Capital

demarco

– 3rd stringer Danny O’Brien has a first CFL play to remember as he gets sacked for a 16 yard loss

welcometothepros
Welcome to the pros kid!

Deceiving final score: 32-7 for the best team in the league

Key Stats:

Burris went 12 of 23 for 113 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT

Walker had 11 carries for 43 yards

Collins made 5 catches for 44 yards

Simmons had 7 tackles

Maher punted 11 times for 479 yards, averaging 43.5 yard per kick

Closing Thoughts:

Another week ends with another frustrating loss. Ottawa fans packed TD Place and brought the noise all game long, but while R-Nation showed up our offence clearly didn’t. Burris had a game to forget, overthrowing his receivers on the rare occasions that he a) had time to plant his feet, and b) had an open man to throw to. Chevon Walker had his moments running the ball but Ottawa’s play calling wasn’t consistent in feeding him the ball. Watching the Redblacks’ inept offensive execution led to an unruly home crowd that repeatedly booed the offence off the field and invoked the struggles of Rough Rider days of yore with “Ho-bart” chants. This was also the second week in a row that the defence generated turnovers that the offence failed to turn into points.

While the offence continues to struggle, the defence was once again stellar and tried to pick up the slack. Guys like Simmons, Pruneau, Williams and Shologan carried the day for as long as possible, even going so far as to score, but it’s unrealistic to expect the defence to hold up being on the field for as long as they were. When you hold a QB like Mitchell to 0 TDs, you should win the game. Losing Eddie Elder to injury hurt, as it pushed Eric Fraser into the game and where was repeatedly victimized on deep throws. In terms of special teams, minus the one short punt that was returned for a touchdown, Maher was solid punting and the kick coverage that was putrid at the start of the season has really tightened up.

This was once again a game that the Redblacks hung around in until late in the 4th quarter, when a tired defence collapsed and allowed the Stamps to put up 21 points in 4 minutes and 5 seconds. The final tally doesn’t accurately reflect how close the score was for most of the game. On that note, it’s frustrating as a fan and must be disheartening for the players to see fans stream out of the stadium when there’s more than 8 minutes left in the game. I know a lot of Redblacks’ fans also go to Sens games and have been traumatized by the shitty traffic out at the Canadian Tire Centre, but there’s simply no excuse to leave a CFL game at Lansdowne Park early. First off it’s the CFL, and as it’s been proven time and time again no lead is safe. Secondly, getting in and out of Lansdowne is much faster and smoother than leaving the CTC, simply because it’s in the heart of the city. If you paid for a ticket stay until the end of the damn game! – end rant

@RedBlackGade

*All images via CFL.ca, the Ottawa Sun and the Ottawaredblacks.com