lemon-argos_584

Quarterback Cleo Lemon (1) is now a former member of the Toronto Argonauts. ((Frank Gunn/Canadian Press))

1. WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS [Unchanged]
Overall record: 7-2
Streak: One loss

For the second game in a row the Bombers came up with just one sack, and that shows offences are working out schemes to stop the Swaggerville rush. It’s also two contests now that the Winnipeg defence has been picked apart, totaling over 700 yards in offence allowed. That puts pressure on Big Blue’s inconsistent, and at times pop-gun attack, to create points and give the defenders some rest. The return of receiver Kito Poblah was helpful, though, as the rookie came up with nine catches.
2. HAMILTON TIGER-CATS [Up from 4]
Overall record: 5-4
Streak: One win

I was going to say this was a thoroughly impressive victory over the Alouettes, but there were some concerning stats, such as three turnovers and a trio of sacks allowed. Still, these Cats had their claws sharpened and were ready to go on Labour Day in the Hammer. Mix a 14-for-18 performance by QB Kevin Glenn with 102 yards on the ground from ex-Al Avon Cobourne and you had a winning combination. First-year offensive coordinator Khari Jones has, with half a season to work it out, a solid attack.
3. CALGARY STAMPEDERS [Down from 2]
Overall record: 6-3
Streak: One loss

This is, once again, the cost of having Henry Burris as your QB. He’s great for four weeks and then throws up a turkey on Labour Day. He was 13 of 23 for 132 yards, two interceptions and two lost fumbles. Awful. Next week he’ll probably throw for 400 yards. Can’t understand when you know Bad Henry has shown up and you don’t immediately rely more on Reynolds and Cornish out of the backfield? So many bad penalties by an experienced offensive unit – holding, offside, grounding. I blame the black helmets.
4. EDMONTON ESKIMOS [Up from 5]
Overall record: 5-3
Streak: One win

Can’t move the Esks up higher because the offence was not very good again, despite the team scoring 35 points. Remember, 24 of those were off turnovers. Ricky Ray threw for just 131 yards on 14 of 21 before being rested in the fourth quarter. Over 120 yards in rushing helped. Defence was excellent, sacking Calgary three times, grabbing two interceptions, forcing two fumbles. Kicking was strong. Lots to like, but the green and gold still need some receivers healthy and productive.
5. MONTREAL ALOUETTES [Down from 3]
Overall record: 5-3
Streak: Two losses

Cracks all over the Montreal defence opened into a fissure this week. Three of the five starters in the secondary on opening day are now gone for the year, and it looks like they’ve taken another couple of knocks back there. An offensive line that used to protect Anthony Calvillo as though he were fine china, is now hit and miss (three sacks by Edmonton, none by Calgary, three by Hamilton over the last three games). GM Jim Popp has a lot of holes to fill.
6. B.C. LIONS [Unchanged]
Overall record: 3-6
Streak: Two wins

Nice they’re pulling themselves together and everything, but the Lions have got to stop doing this. Starting slow and then coming on is bad for everyone’s hearts, and it never produces a Grey Cup. QB Travis Lulay was solid against an improving Toronto defence, Tim Brown had 246 all-purpose yards, most of that on returns. Speaking of that, Wally has to do something about the special team coverage. They gave up over 300 yards in kick returns alone, including an Argo team record 245 to Chad Owens.
7. SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS [Up from 8]
Overall record: 2-7
Streak: Won one

There’s no way to tell until at least this week’s Banjo Bowl rematch with Winnipeg whether this win was a one-off created by the mighty wind of a mid-season coaching change. New/old coach Ken Miller was fortunate his first game back was at home, and included the return of runner Wes Cates. Getting the league’s top receiver Andy Fantuz back from the NFL would be huge, but he’s waiting to see if any other team south of the border will bite on him first.
8. TORONTO ARGONAUTS [Down from 7]
Overall record: 2-7
Streak: One loss

So, Cleo Lemon’s career as an Argonaut QB is over. You can bet this is as much to do with his attitude on the sidelines in the 2nd half when taken out, and bolting right at the end of the game, as it is his stats. Against B.C., Lemon was 11 of 15 passing with four egregious dropped balls in first 30 minutes. Dalton Bell came in and threw two consecutive picks on the way to four overall. Money also involved here. Steven Jyles is the new No. 1. GM Jim Barker needs to find at least one OL now and two receivers out of NFL cuts.