CFL Power Rankings: Week 6 | Football | CBC Sports

CFLCFL Power Rankings: Week 6

Posted: Monday, August 4, 2014 | 01:21 PM

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Drew Willy's 31 completions for 361 yards in a 27-26 Blue Bombers win over Hamilton were great, but the poise he exhibited in a scoring drive in the final one minute 40 seconds belied the relative inexperience of the Winnipeg pivot. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Drew Willy's 31 completions for 361 yards in a 27-26 Blue Bombers win over Hamilton were great, but the poise he exhibited in a scoring drive in the final one minute 40 seconds belied the relative inexperience of the Winnipeg pivot. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

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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.

Overall record: 5-1
Streak: Won 2
Next: vs. Saskatchewan

In Number One, an old Charlton Heston football flick that's so bad it's great, Chuck comes into the huddle and says, in that voice ... "Ok men, we're going down the field and we're going to score." Or that's how I remember it. Watching Drew Willy march the Bombers down the field in the final one minute 40 seconds for a last play win vs. Hamilton this week brought back that memory. He even has the Heston chin. Willy's 31 completions for 361 yards were great, but the poise of the final drive belied the relative inexperience. Some concern for the defence here, because it hammered the Cats in the first half (22 yards total offence by Hamilton) but allowed them right back in the game in the second (198 yards), helped also by break downs on special teams. RB Nic Grigsby had 119 combined, including the winning grab. The receivers all had big nights. What seems obvious is the players believed it when Mike O'Shea told them they could be a good team. Also, Winnipeg played it smart by surrounding its rookie coach with highly experienced assistants. Add it all up, and Winnipeg is Number One.
Overall record: 4-1
Streak: Lost 1
Next: vs. Ottawa

QB Bo Mitchell wasn't going his whole career undefeated, so the inevitable has occurred, and an argument can be made that it should have happened last week against Edmonton. Mitchell had an average game against B.C., one that included a touchdown toss and his first pick of the year. A Pick 6 actually, early on, to give the Lions a big boost. For the first time, Mitchell looked confused at times back there because of the packages B.C. was running, and that's also inevitable for a young pivot. Still, the White Stallions built a 21-10 lead only to hand it back in the second half. Two fumbles did not help. The defence was strong in the first half, spurred by the return of LB Keon Raymond and his own Pick 6 (plus seven tackles). But when Andrew Harris kicked it into gear after the break, the Stamps had nothing for him. Welcome back to the CFL Martell Mallett, who played his first game in five years and piled up 175 yards. He also fumbled deep in Lions' territory in the third quarter ending a drive. Still no word on a return by RB Jon Cornish, the league's best player.
3. EDMONTON ESKIMOS [Unchanged - Bye]
Overall record: 4-1
Streak: Lost 1
Next: At MTL

Key news out of Edmonton during the bye week - the organization announced it has spent $45,000 to upgrade the equipment for the 50-50 draw. That includes a new computer server, 10 more hand held units and six more printers. Meanwhile, rookie head coach Chris Jones and his club is working out ways to get over that awful outing against Calgary last time out, the only bad outing of the season so far. QB Mike Reilly has been strong, and was telling the Edmonton Journal on the weekend he's not satisfied with the team's start or his own play. Exactly what you want to hear when the goal is a Grey Cup not a .500 season. As the Esks move on to Montreal they have to cut down on their penalties. The defence has been strong and may soon benefit from the return of its leader, LB J.C. Sherritt, from the injured list. Also positive is the club is tied for top spot with Calgary in giveaways/takeaways at plus-six.
Overall record: 3-2
Streak: Won 2
Next: At WPG

We've chatted about this before and will again - the best way to deal with a team that's not in your league is to smack them in the mouth a couple of times early so they quickly learn their place. How does 24-0 after the first quarter in Ottawa sound? This was the second early dismantling of an East team following a 28-6 halftime mark over Toronto the week before. Perhaps the GreenWhites have earned a week off from nasty callers to local sports radio. Will Ford, who had 113 yards rushing in his first game back with Regina, tossed in another 74 plus two TDs (giving him five already to lead the league). Rob Bagg had 123 yards on six catches and Brett Swain contributed five and 85. A few problems arose. The secondary allowed the Redblacks 301 yards in the air -- they were dropping back into coverage all night with the big lead, but bad habits come from not keeping the pedal down on defence. On the other foot, it was nice of the offence to let up in the second half so as not to embarrass the new kids too much. Game of the early year (what, another one?) this week at Winnipeg.
5. B.C. LIONS [Unchanged]
Overall record: 3-3
Streak: Won 1
Next: VS. HAM

The Left Coast Leos came to play some football this week, as the Stamps learned to their dismay. Down 21-10 in Calgary, the Lions made a key adjustment and began featuring RB Andrew Harris. The Canadian rumbler (who tops the league in rushing with 381 yards) had only 30 combined in the first 30 minutes before taking over the affair in the second with 113 yards running and catching. And that was without the 75-yard touchdown run called back due to holding. Harris had everyone keying on him so QB Kevin Glenn, the former Stampeder, could find Ernest Jackson on a 65-yard game-winning touchdown pass with 2:01 to go. Nice rebound by the offensive line, only allowing one sack and opening holes for the runners. Good job by the defence making its own adjustments. LB Solomon Elimimian had 10 more tackles - the guy is everywhere and his 49 total tackles for the year is 21 better than anyone else league wide. Best of all, B.C. had only six penalties, after a combined 28 the previous two games. Next, how about some consistency?
Overall record: 2-4
Streak: Won 1
Next: BYE

With no reliable wideouts, the Argos spent much of the night between the hash marks, taking advantage of RB Steve Slaton's return to the lineup. Slaton, an experienced NFL rusher, scored twice on the night and seemed just what Ray needed back there to open up the playbook a little underneath. He had 100 yards rushing and catching. Double Blue still don't have enough healthy bodies on offence, and losing rookie SB Anthony Coombs made things even worse. The Manitoba Bisons product was a leading early season candidate for East top rookie until hurting his shoulder. He'll be gone at least three weeks. Ray is having a remarkable year. With a wrecked receiving corps he has this offence leading the league in yards. They just can't finish and won't be able to until they get some bodies back. This was another good outing by the defence, a group that has been holding things together through the opening half-dozen contests. Now, the shocker. Four penalties. This is not a misprint. Argos may not have righted the ship but at least the pumps are keeping up with the water coming in.
Overall record: 1-4
Streak: Lost 1
Next: At B.C.

After five games, the defending East champs must be driving their loyal fans right up Hamilton Mountain. One week after an impressive win the Kitty Kats came out as flat as the plain on the top of the ridge, then scored 23 points to put the game into the win column with less than two minutes to go. Cue the defensive collapse and a horrid final play that somehow found Arnaud Gascon-Nadon running helplessly towards Nic Grigsby in hopes his raised hands would bring down some help from above. No such luck. Hamilton had guessed run, Winnipeg went pass. And what was a 250-pound lineman doing trying to cover a running back? Dan LeFevour's bad game after his brilliant opening should not be seen as more than a young guy finding his way. What way that is will be shown in the coming weeks. Despite the comeback, Hamilton had just 13 first downs and they only ran 12 times, for some reason. Boy, those penalties again - 19 of them - including six holding and five offside/procedure. This is a way better team than it's showing.
8. OTTAWA REDBLACKS [Down from 6]
Overall record: 1-4
Streak: Lost 2
Next: At CAL

Can we talk? Before the season started the Redblacks football staff went out of its way to let everyone know they were not going to be an "expansion" team. This was a good idea in terms of telling the players there would be no excuses, and in getting the fans revved up to buy tickets. Problem is, the public, and a number of media folks, bought the idea barrel, stock and Rideau locks. There is, in certain circles, a sense of disappointment the Redblacks are "only" 1-4. C'mon, man. Coach Rick Campbell has his men playing with pride, even when they're overmatched as against the Riders, who were up 24-0 after one quarter. Bad Henry showed up for the first time this year, as QB Burris threw two picks (one not his fault) and seemed to be forcing things as he does when frustration is setting in. His receivers were clanking some as well. Defensively, there wasn't much there. Again, it's going to happen with some regularity. But the sellout crowd hung right in there. And you have to love the onside quick kick by QB Thomas DeMarco that resulted in Ottawa's lone TD of the night. The fans loved it. I loved it. First-class entertainment. Everyone please take a non-performance-enhancing pill, and let's enjoy the ride.
Overall record: 1-4
Streak: Lost 3
Next: Home to EDM

Heard somebody say after another poor outing "Not sure where this team goes from here?" How about back to practice? What else can you do until the NFL gets to its late cuts a month from now? The Larks have to find a quarterback and with nothing else available new pivot coach Turk Schonert will work with what he's got. A play early on about summed up how things are going right now. QB Troy Smith threw a wide one out in the flat that was heading for the sidelines before Mardy Gilyard, in an act of athletic brilliance, hauled the thing in. Flushed with success, the Cincinnati grad turned downfield only to be destroyed by Dwight Anderson, short of the first down. Tough to make a living right now at McGill. WR Duron Carter came back in, and that was positive, but they still can't get Chad Johnson into the offence. It made sense to put Alex Brink in to play QB in the second quarter, but why go back to Smith in the third and then yank him again? This offence is averaging 15 points a game so Jim Popp has brought legendary CFL QB Jeff Garcia in to see if he can find some scoring.

Follow Malcolm Kelly on Twitter @sportsnag

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