CFL Power Rankings: Week 5 | Football | CBC Sports

CFLCFL Power Rankings: Week 5

Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014 | 03:23 PM

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The Calgary Stampeders and quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell are sitting pretty at No. 1 in Malcolm Kelly’s CFL power rankings. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press) The Calgary Stampeders and quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell are sitting pretty at No. 1 in Malcolm Kelly’s CFL power rankings. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

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CBC Sports football contributor Malcolm Kelly breaks down the balance of power in the Canadian Football League on a weekly basis.
CBC Sports football contributor Malcolm Kelly breaks down the balance of power in the Canadian Football League on a weekly basis.


1. CALGARY STAMPEDERS [Up from 2]
Overall record: 4-0
Streak: Won 4
Next: Home to B.C.

Having been gifted a win by Edmonton, it would be nice for the Stamps to reciprocate. Candlesticks are always nice. Maybe one of those furry buffalo statue things with the Welcome to Alberta tag on it. The White Stallions certainly owe something given they came out with two points despite playing poor offensive football for much of the game. They came up with 215 yards net, took 15 penalties on both sides of the ball, and goofed around much of the time. Bo Levi Mitchell tossed 14 passes for 124 yards and was saved by Jock Sanders and his 86 yards on the ground. Eskimos dropped two late interceptions when Mitchell threw balls he should not have. Missing Jon Cornish, who went on the six-game injured list this week, and likely won't be back until after Labour Day, is hurting not just because of the yards but because the league MOP is such a threat that he makes other things easier. On the bright side, the defence was great again. And they won. And they've signed Hugh Charles at RB to help.
2. WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS [Up from 4]
Overall record: 4-1
Streak: Won 1
Next: At HAM

The way to judge a coaching staff is how its club plays the week after looking horrible. Rookie boss Mike O'Shea seems to have himself a good group there, led by the experienced offensive coordinator Marcel Bellefeuille, who had Drew Willy and the offence working well again in B.C. The young QB went 18 of 26 for 250 yards, and his top target was former Lion Nick Moore, who had seven grabs for 99 yards. Clarence Denmark's 66 included the touchdown that clinched it. And the defence made B.C. work for everything all night, gang tackling with aggression. Lirim Hajrullahu, signed as a free agent rookie in January, kicked five field goals, including one from 51 yards. He's missed once this year so you better learn how to spell and pronounce that name. Weird stat: RB Nic Grigsby had 15 carries for 19 yards. Stats guru Steve Daniel says there is no official record for most carries for least yards, but he did provide a neat one from 1995: 15 carries for eight yards. That belongs to some Hall of Famer named Pinball Clemons.
3. EDMONTON ESKIMOS [Down from 1]
Overall record: 4-1
Streak: Lost 1
Next: BYE

This one started with an early Jamal Miles fumble off a punt and went straight down from there. Whether the Eskimos have been playing above their heads or have found their natural place this year, this game was a reminder of things that have been. Calgary did not win, the Eskies lost. Dropped passes, some blown assignments, a blocked punt for a TD, two fourth-quarter pass interference penalties, and on like that. Despite all of that they could have won this game thanks to a really good defence if it hadn't been for that astonishing fake punt from their own end zone late in the first half that led to a Calgary touchdown. What in the name of Hugh Campbell was that? Rookie head coach Chris Jones said he'd do that again every time. Coach, it cost you the game. It told your defence you didn't trust them. You threw away two points in the standings. And I can think of 348,534 other reasons. It wasn't even a 50-50 proposition.
4. SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS [Up from 5]
Overall record: 2-2
Streak: Won 1
Next: At OTT

Two weeks of "what's wrong with the Riders?" on local sports radio was enough to get the Green and White steamed up and ready to destroy the visiting, and heavily depleted, Toronto Argos. Yes, it was some revenge for the whipping they took in Hogtown, but any relation between that opposition offence and the one Regina saw this week started and ended with QB Ricky Ray. A Tyron Brackenridge pick early led to one TD, a Darian Durant scramble scored another and it was 14-0 and over before the sun set, 28-6 at the half. Will Ford, signed just this week, rumbled for 113 yards and three scores. Toronto's defence actually did a pretty good job in this one (only 12 first downs), but the Riders never allowed Ray to do anything with his inexperienced offence. Treated especially hard was rookie OT Matt Sewell, charged with protecting Ray's blind side. He was run over repeatedly by John Chick, who had two sacks and a forced fumble. Trap game coming up in our nation's capital.
5. B.C. LIONS [Down from 3]
Overall record: 2-3
Streak: Lost 1
Next: At CGY

When you honour someone, the least you can do is play a decent game. Receiver Geroy Simon went up on the Wall of Fame while his beloved former team ran into a wall of Bombers. The defence was putting in a reasonable effort, but the offence reverted to early season form, moving the ball nicely in its own zone but finding ways to mess it up after crossing the midfield stripe. Twice Kevin Glenn threw picks in enemy territory. The offensive line seemed confused much of the evening, taking too many penalties and allowing six sacks on Glenn (for 10 in the last two games). This club took 14 penalties the week before and 14 again this week. Overall, the Leos took five undisciplined major flags. LB Solomon Elimimian was all over the field with a dozen tackles, but he can't make every play. Sloppy. Have to find some consistency.
6. OTTAWA REDBLACKS [Unchanged]
Overall record: 1-3
Streak: Lost 1
Next: Home to SSK

Ticket buyers at home and across the league can now be assured that when you pay to see Le Rouge et Noir, you'll likely see an entertaining game. The new dance team of Henry and Henry is piling up yards as Henry Burris threw to Marcus Henry 10 times for 138 yards and a score. They are fun to watch. Smilin' Hank has not lapsed into Bad Henry once this season. RB Chevon Walker (37 yards) was not as influential on the game this time, but much of that was the Cats were keying on him so Burris had to look elsewhere. Too many drives were not finished, including inside the five. The defence was simply shredded by Hamilton, giving up 551 net yards with much of that because of big plays and atrocious hand tackling. And they could not keep the Cats' QB contained inside. Canadian LB Justin Phillips, who also captains the special teams, broke his leg. Tough to replace. Now it's the Grey Cup champs coming to town. Get your tickets.
7. HAMILTON TIGER-CATS [Up from 8]
Overall record: 1-3
Streak: Won 1
Next: Home to WPG

Let's not get all Chuck Ealey about this, but Dan LeFevour looked pretty cool in his first CFL start this week, throwing for 361 yards and running for another 109 as the Kitties worked their way off the pan and into the win column. In tough circumstances, too. LeFevour was No. 3 behind Zach Collaros (concussion, now on the 6-game list) and Jeremiah Masoli (lack of production) before getting the nod from a club desperate for a win. They were also playing last year's QB in Ottawa's Henry Burris, and doing it in front of 6,000 fans at a college stadium. LeFevour had some experience having thrown 64 passes last season and run the short yardage offence. First class job. Let's see if he can repeat it. RB C.J. Gable's return to form (167 yards combined) after barely registering in the first three games also helped. The defence was not as great, however, giving up 377 yards to an expansion team, but it was much better in the second half when it really counted. Too many penalties across the board, again.
8. TORONTO ARGONAUTS [Down from 7]
Overall record: 1-4
Streak: Lost 3
Next: At MTL

Jim Barker is going through GM hell. All of his best receivers are injured at the worst possible time. A month from now he'd have the pick of late cuts from NFL camps to fill in while Chad Owens, Jason Barnes and the almost irreplaceable Canadian Andre Durie heal. Now, however, it's slim pickings to the point Barker brought back the retired Mo Mann to face the Riders, and he immediately became one of the featured receivers with six catches. QB Ricky Ray simply has no one to play with. Four picks? It's tough when the catchers don't know the patterns well enough to be in the correct position on timing plays. Another tough problem is the injury to OT SirVincent Rogers, who protects Ray's blind side. Riders came through that spot like merda out of a Branta canadensis. Toronto's defence did a good job against Regina, but that's not going to help if you can't score. A month from now the offence will be healthy. A month from now the team could be 1-7.
9. MONTREAL ALOUETTES [Unchanged - Coming off BYE]
Overall record: 1-3
Streak: Lost 2
Next: Home to TOR

Troy Smith? Tanner Marsh? Ryan Dinwiddie? Well, the latter won't be the quarterback, but as the rookie offensive coordinator, he could use some coaching help turning the first two into CFL pivots. Let's see ... where, oh where, might you find someone in Montreal who knows how to be a winning QB? While the Als work that conundrum out, and stick with Smith as the starter for now, they have to prepare to meet Toronto. WR Duron Carter is due back and that's going to make a difference. RB Brandon Whitaker has found his form so expect the Larks to run a lot. They have to game plan WR Chad Johnson more. GM Jim Popp will be busy trying to convince the owner it will all work in the end, the players they should keep from panicking and the fans they should show up and watch what happens. It is indeed going to be fascinating watching what happens.

Follow Malcolm Kelly on Twitter @sportsnag

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