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.
On the heels of last week’s embarrassing loss, the Redblacks rolled into Calgary for what was a semi sort of “homecoming” for a number of players and coaches, including Jon Gott (#63), J’Michael Deane (#64), Eric Fraser (#7), Justin Phillips (#44), Chris McCoy (#96), Henry Burris (#1), Don Yanowsky (STC), Mike Gibson (OC) and Rick Campbell (HC). Unfortunately for R-Nation and the former Stampeders, the Redblacks left McMahon Stadium without the win, dropping their record to 1-5.
– Confused people watching the CFL for the first time tune in to see the Redblacks decked out in their dazzling black and white road uniforms while Calgary sports their home red and black threads
– The CFL’s official twitter account does everything it can to ensure Ottawa fans are feeling optimistic
DYK: The last time the @CalStampeders played a team from Ottawa, Danny Wimprine threw for 161 yards and a TD in a 45-23 win. #OTTvsCGY
– The Redblacks finally win a coin loss, their first correct guess of the season
– D.J. Harper (#28) rumbles 21 yards after fielding the opening kickoff to the Redblacks 34 yard line
– Ottawa’s achilles’ heel rears it’s ugly head as poor special teams coverage and tackling results in Jock Sanders returning Brett Maher’s 58 yard punt 52 yards
– Facing 3rd and 2 on the Redblacks 8 yard line, Campbell gets Campbelled as Calgary dials up a fake FG and Stamps QB Bo Levi Mitchell breaks Antoine Pruneau’s (#6) arm tackle for the 8 yard rushing TD
– Following a short catch by Henry² (Marcus Henry #16), the Redblacks punt
– Burris runs a limousine past the line of scrimmage before throwing the ball and gets flagged for an illegal forward pass
– Jermaine Robinson (#32) makes the coaches wonder why they didn’t play him sooner as he flies around the field, throwing thundering hits on back to back plays
– The pocket collapses before any receiver creates separation and Burris gets sacked
– Scrambling under heavy pressure, Mitchell’s throwaway is nearly picked off by Robinson
– Two plays later Mitchell makes no mistake as he hits Jeff Fuller for a 17 yard TD
– Redblacks respond with a promising 7 play drive featuring runs by Burris and Chevon Walker (#29) and catches by Carlton Mitchell (#88) and Henry² but the drive comes to an abrupt end when Burris is picked off
– Stamps make the most of Burris’ gift when Marquay McDaniel catches a 22 yard TD, 21-0 for the horsemen
– Dobson Collins (#80) makes a short catch before Henry² doesn’t, forcing the Redblacks to punt
– Jasper Simmons (#31) intercepts Mitchell and returns it 29 yards before being tackled
– Walker punches the ball in from the 1, finally putting the Redblacks on the board
– Anthony Parker takes the ensuing kickoff 45 yards to Ottawa’s 51 yard line
– Mitchell strings together a few passes and puts a dagger in the Redblack’s chances of a comeback with a late 1st half TD to Jabari Arthur; 28-7 for the team wearing (but not named) red and black
– Pruneau and Simmons continue to tackle everything in sight
– Wallace Miles (#84) and Matt Carter (#85) make catches of 19 and 5 yards respectively
– Burris throws his 2nd interception of the game but makes the tackle so I guess he atones? #effort
– The defense limits the damage to a 12 yard Rene Paredes FG
– Burris shows off his arm strength and caps off an 8 play, 75 yard drive with a 32 yard TD pass to a streaking Miles
– Eddie Elder (#5) picks off Mitchell but the refs unexplainably flag Robinson for pass interference, negating the potentially momentum tipping interception
– It’s small consolation but Justin Capicciotti (#93) gets a sack
– Rob Maver punts 53 yards for a rouge
– Maher caps off a 4 play, 64 yard drive with a 32 yard FG
– The Stamps chew up nearly 5 min of clock and tack on a 40 yard FG
– Walker trips up Burris, giving Charleston Hughes the easiest sack of his career
– Thomas DeMarco’s (#17) 3rd down pass falls incomplete, turning the ball over on downs
– Stamps extend their lead by three with another field goal
– Carter gets behind the Stampeder defence and makes a 60 yard catch, getting tackled at Calgary’s 3 yard line
– The Redblacks proceed to shoot themselves in the foot when Collins is flagged for asking for a flag, Gott is flagged for a false start and Scott MacDonell (#83) catches a TD pass but is flagged for being offside
– On 3rd down Burris overthrows Miles on a corner route
Final Score: 38-17 for the Calgary Hitmen
Henry Burris went 20-of-29 for 281 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTs
Chevon Walker had 8 carries for 22 yards and 1 TD
Wallace Miles had 5 catches for 102 yards and 1 TD
Jasper Simmons had 9 tackles and 1 INT
The Redblacks were always going to be in tough against what is probably the best team in the CFL. Though they gave up more points than last week’s loss, I think the team has more positives to take away from this week’s film review. This loss isn’t a reflection on the Redblacks’ effort, as it’s evident from watching that the players are giving their all, but instead highlights a lack of execution by certain players at key moments. Just by reading his stat line you can assume Burris had a decent game, but it’s a bit misleading as he struggled in the first half, only picking up 58 yards. Promising drives were killed by timely drops and flags but Wallace Miles continued to build off his strong performance last week and seems to be creating chemistry with Burris. Aside from his 1 yard TD, Chevon Walker was a complete non factor, averaging 2.7 yards per carry. You’ve gotta wonder how much of that is on the offensive line, who also struggled with keeping Burris upright, forcing him to rush throws and scramble more often than you’d like to see a 39 year old QB run.
Defensively the Redblacks had some stand out performances; Jasper Simmons played like a man possessed, maybe being a new Dad has given him a bit of extra motivation. 1st round pick Antoine Pruneau rewarded the coach’s decision to start him with 8 tackles and was constantly around the ball. But the real revelation of the night was the play of Jermaine Robinson, who laid the lumber on a few guys and nearly picked off a couple of passes, it’s safe to say he’ll be starting next week.
It was another sloppy game for the special team’s coverage, as they gave up a 52 yard punt return along with 45 yard kickoff return. The Redblacks can talk about not being an expansion team all they want, but the fact of the matter is that good teams have good coverage, and this issue has plagued them since their 1st pre-season game. Penalties were another headache as once again the Redblacks gave up over 100 yards in flags, drawing 12 flags for 131 yards. Maher rebounded from last week’s nightmarish outing by going 1/1 on FGs and averaging nearly 49 yards a punt.
Though the Redblacks lost once again, they continue to remain the playoff hunt simply due to the fact that everyone else in the East is also struggling. If they can get a win next week at home against an Eskimo team that hasn’t yet experienced the ferocity of R-Nation in person, it would set them up nicely for the 2nd half of the season when nearly every game is against an Eastern team. Remember to be LOUD and PROUD at Lansdowne on Friday!
Welcome to Defend the R’s first annual (and completely unbiased) CFL Mascot Power Rankings. We’ve got the inside scoop on all the things left off the mascot scouting report. If you thought you knew everything about these cuddly mascots, prepare to be surprised!
4) Jason (Toronto)
Jason brings up the rear in what can only be described as an extremely weak mascot division. This cartoony Argonaut suffers from multiple personality disorder. He carries a sword, wears a futuristic space helmet, only has three fingers and looks like he’s been trying to pinch a loaf since the start of the Trojan War. Jason needs to seek professional help. And if you’re an Argos fan, please encourage him to get it next time you see him fishing on Lake Ontario.
3) T.C. and Stripes (Hamilton)
T.C. and Stripes, the love children of Tony the Tiger and Tigger, are the tamed pussy cats who can be found patrolling the Hamilton sidelines. T.C. , which cleverly stands for Tiger Cat (man, they got some thinkers in Steeltown), has been leading purrs of “Oskee Wee Wee” since the mid 80’s. Sadly, this feline’s best days are behind him and like John Henry giving way to the steam-powered hammer, it’s only a matter of time before Stripes (get it — tigers have stripes!) replaces him.
2) Touché and Blitz (Montreal)
These identical unilingual twin birds representing the Als are a stretch at number two but by default they can’t rank any lower. Like junkies searching for their next hit (of worms), these birds have been known to draw flags for illegally entering the field. Lastly (and most worryingly), though they claim to be birds, Touché and Blitz have never been spotted airborne, leading many to question their true nature.
1) Big Joe Mufferaw/Grand Jos
The gem of the East division’s mascots, this dashing lumberjack can do it all; whether it’s chopping down trees, exterminating rodents (he’s looking at you, Gainer), bird hunting, or causing French language controversies, Joe’s the man for the job. When he’s not being serenaded by R-Nation at TD Place, Joe can be found log running down the Rideau Canal or in Mattawa, where his winter home is.
Leo is a lion who tragically can’t roar. When he’s not meowing to pump the crowd up, you can find the feline practicing ballet and avoiding Ralph.
3) Punter and Nanook (Edmonton)
They say opposites attract, and boy oh boy is that ever true when it comes to the Eskimo Empire. You can’t expect a lot out of your offense when one of your mascots is a ‘roid raged football named Punter. The yin to Punter’s yang is Nanook, a polar bear who moved South to avoid the melting Arctic ice floes and because he heard so many good things about the sushi in the West Edmonton Mall.
You have to give respect where respect is due, and despite always looking like he just woke up, Ralph deserves all the praise he gets. As the CFL’s first and oldest mascot, Ralph has been eating Eskimo pies, chicken Alouette and gopher gumbo long before any of the other mascots showed up. Despite showing his age, this pooch is still top-dog in the West.
Where do you rank ’em? Let us know in the comments below!