Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Argos Trade With Bombers for Steven Jyles

News that the Argos have tried to rectify their Cleo Lemon quarterbacking problem by trading their first round pick (fourth overall) in the upcoming 2011 CFL draft to Winnipeg, plus a conditional pick for quarterback Steven Jyles (28, 6'1", 202 pounds). Jyles, who played at the august institution of higher learning, the Universty of Louisiana at Monroe, was 196 for 381 last year passing (61.6). Jyles threw last year for 19 TDs versus 7 picks and a 100.9 passer rating. Jyles also rushed 65 times for 452 yards for a respectable 7.0 yard average.

Winnipeg was still terrible last year with Jyles, which leaves questions for both teams. Is Jyles better than Cleo Lemon? Likely, although he's probably not that much better. Is Toronto smart trading away first round picks for immediate relief? Probably not. Is Winnipeg banking on one of the most fragile players ever to play in the CFL in quarterback Buck Pierce? Apparently so, although the fourth overall pick won't hurt. We'll see how this pans out and if Cleo "the Party" Lemon makes it out of Toronto's training camp.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2011 Grey Cup Odds

Since Tigercatatonia recently looked at the Grey Cup odds for 2011 from Bodog, there's no reason not to give my own odds for who ends up hoisting the silverware in Vancouver. I'll give the odds in percentage terms, just to be clearer:

Montreal 26
Calgary 20
Saskatchewan 17
Hamilton 16
BC 8
Toronto 7
Edmonton 4
Winnipeg 2

Harsh to Edmonton and Winnipeg? Certainly, but both will be hard pressed to make the playoffs. let alone get to the Grey Cup and win it. Toronto's not guaranteed a playoff spot and still start Cleo Lemon. BC isn't great and frankly Wally Buono doesn't provide the advantage over other coaches he used too. That leaves the four frontrunners as the overwhelming favourites. Montreal has a shot to win three titles in a row (the last to do that being Edmonton in the early eighties) provided Anthony Calvillo stays healthy. There's still a lot of time before the start of the regular season, things could change somewhat between then and now.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ticats Trade for Justin Medlock

I'm a little surprised the Cats trade for import kicker/punter Justin Medlock. Sure the Cats get some defensive back named Carlos Thomas, and a negotiation list player and draft picks are swapped, but mainly the deal must be about Medlock. Obviously the Cats were unhappy with kicker Sandro DeAngelis' play last year, especially in Ivor Wynne, but after a year getting used to Ivor Wynne, Sandro should be better this year.

Annoying news out of Ottawa. The team might not be ready for the 2013 season.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dig Those Cobbheads Out of The Trash, Alouettes Sign DeAndra' Cobb

I honestly thought that DeAndra' Cobb was done in the CFL after being released by the Ticats. Now the Alouettes have signed him along with former Saskatchewan defensive end Kitwana Jones. Interesting that the Als are interested in Cobb, considering the Cats clearly think former Al Avon Cobourne is an upgrade at running back. Cobb is younger. Maybe the Cats can sell the Als their supply of Cobbheads.

Friday, March 18, 2011

2011 Grey Cup Odds

It is never to early make Grey Cup predictions, especially this time of year when the only news seems to be contract extensions. I found this list of Grey Cup odds for 2011, apparently from Bodog's site. I tried finding the actual list on Bodog, but could only find a cached version. The data seems a little off because only two teams have worse than 8 to 1 odds. Not sure what's up with that, but at least the ranking seems plausible, although Edmonton's odds should probably be higher. They did miss the playoffs in 2010 and I doubt many teams have gone from missing the playoffs one year and then winning the Grey Cup the next. Winnipeg probably will be terrible next year unless Buck Pierce can put together a healthy season, which should probably be a new euphemism for something that will absolutely never happen.

BC Lions 6/1
Calgary Stampeders 5/2
Edmonton Eskimos 7/1
Hamitlon Tiger-Cats 6/1
Montreal Alouettes 11/4
Saskatchewan Roughriders 11/2
Toronto Argonauts 9/1
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 12/1

Here's an editorial from the Guelph Mercury suggesting hosting a Ticat game during the Ivor Wynne rebuilding season. Seems about as likely as Buck Pierce putting together a healthy season, but at least places seem interested in hosting and in Guelph's favour it is a lot closer than Quebec City or Moncton.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why Restructure CFL Contracts?

Perry Lefko has a good piece on Sportsnet explaining why CFL teams frequently restructure contracts. Tax laws favouring bonus payments, broke players in the spring and potential injuries sums it up. The CFL's salary management system seems to be fairly solid now, so managing and manipulating these contracts are more important than ever. The article mentions Bruce, Porter and Glenn restructuring who are probably the team's top paid players. With the team's better performance the past two years, are things becoming more tight salary-wise?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ticats 2010 Playoff Game Starters, Where are they now, Defensive Edition

Football is probably the major North American sport with the most change between seasons, although a crap MLB team can alter their pitching roster extensively too. Looking at who started the last game of the season for a team and who's left at this time of year can be instructive. I already looked at the Cats offensive starters here. Now it is time to look at the defensive starters from the playoff game in Toronto. Who's still around, who's been released, who's retired, who's a free agent, who has an off-season DUI? All possibilities in the CFL.

Starting with the defensive line, Justin Hickman and Stevie Baggs, both imports are still around, as is import defensive tackle Demonte Bolden. Defensive tackle and Tigercatatonia favourite Garrett McIntyre? Gone and signed with the NY Jets. Mark my words, the Cats will miss him.

Of the three linebackers, Markeith "You can call me Mark or Keith" Knowlton and Jamall Johnson are still with the Cats, but Otis Floyd was released by the Cats.

Non-import cornerback Ryan Hinds is still with the Cats, but import Geoff Tisdale signed with Calgary. Defensive halfbacks Jerome Dennis and Jason Shivers, both imports are still with the Cats, as is non-import safety Dylan Barker.

So three changes out of twelve. Relatively stable, although the defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall left for a head coaching opportunity. Will the Cats defence be better or worse in 2011? I'll go out on a major limb and say roughly the same.

Friday, March 11, 2011

TSN Finally Going to Broadcast CFL Pre-Season Games?

Tigercatatonia has long had a fascination with the fact TSN does not broadcast any CFL pre-season games. They've got the rights for them I assume, so why not slap a couple of Riders games on, get more work out of Dave Randorf and the rest of the TSN panel, some early publicity for the season and profit from the crazed Rider fan viewers. The forums have had talk that TSN has decided to show 7 of them on TSN and TSN2, but here's a newspaper article mentioning the plan, plus some info on Wally Buono sitting in his office forlornly waiting for calls that never come. Will it happen? Hopefully, although it is bad news for Cable 14 and the rest of Canada's community cable stations.

CFL 2010 Attendance, Best Road Drawing Teams

Note this post has the new numbers for 2011.

So I already looked at the home attendance records for the 2010 season, but for quick reference, here's the average home attendance for each team in the CFL:

Edmonton 35025
Calgary 30715
Saskatchewan 30048
Winnipeg 26083
Montreal 25012
BC 24327
Hamilton 23890
Toronto 22069

Obviously that ranking is interesting, but what's also interesting is which team is the best road draw in the CFL (probably someone has already done this, but I'm posting it anyways). For the road game attendances of one team, subtract the average home attendance of the host team from the game's attendance, total them up and divide by the number of road games (9). This year's list was surprising apart from the obvious leader:

Saskatchewan 3506.5
Hamilton 122.21
Toronto -47.296
Calgary -313.75
Montreal -469.54
Winnipeg -1073.9
BC -1385.9
Edmonton -1558.7

Shockingly, the Hamilton Ticats were second overall and the only team besides the Saskatchewan Roughriders to post a positive average number. How did Hamilton become Canada's team? Mainly by having the first and second highest Argo attendances for 2010 (the Riders game was third). Obviously the Ticats are again a draw in Dead Ted's Dome (TM). Toronto managed to come third, mainly due to the Ticats getting more than 30,000 fans for Labour Day, way higher than the Ticat average attendance. How did Edmonton suck so hard as a road draw, besides sucking as a team in 2010? Low numbers in Toronto and Hamilton.

Also there appears to be a weak correlation between a team's record and road draw ranking, with Montreal being lower than expected and Saskatchewan and Hamilton drawing better than their rankings would warrant.

One issue with these calculations is that both Saskatchewan and Montreal sold out all their games, so the number is really based on just six or seven road games. So don't get too excited by these numbers.

Here is last year's numbers on the best road drawing teams (2009 season).

My other blog.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Adriano Belli, Ticats?

I'm a bit surprised about the stories about former Argo defensive tackle Adriano Belli signing with Cats. Mainly because last year he seemed to be constantly injured (8 tackles, no sacks) and at his age it seems doubtful 2011 would be much different. Obviously he wouldn't be a starter, but defensive tackle is the one position in the CFL that does see a lot of rotation. Canadian depth is great and potentially he could help out with the ratio, but why not make more of an effort to resign non-import Jerome Reid. We'll see what happens.

Diversity Required for Ivor Wynne Stadium Bidders

Considering how hard it has been to come together on a reasonably priced option for a Pan Am stadium, the news that the stadium will require bidders to have a diversity policy is concerning. For smaller projects, I have less problems with such requirements, however for something as large and possibly prone to cost overruns as a stadium it seems like something designed to drive up costs. I'm sure any competent large bidder will be able to do what it takes to comply, but there will be a needless cost of some provincial staff in Toronto to administer this.

The city wanted to administer the project itself, but the province said no and put it under Infrastructure Ontario, which while I haven't checked, I'm pretty sure is located in Toronto. Personally since this is a Hamilton project, I would prefer as much be spent in Hamilton as possible and as little as possible on fatcat provincial staffers located in Toronto.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ticats 2010 Playoff Game Starters, Where are they now, Offensive Edition

CFL teams have a lot of turnover year to year, which is just a fact of a sometimes brutal, unsentimental sport. Over the off-season, players get released, become free agents, get traded, and retire. For curiosity, I thought it would be worth going over the starters from last year's playoff game, which as unfortunately we all know ended up a home loss against the double blue and Cleo "the Party" Lemon. I'll go through the offensive side in this post and the defensive side in another.

Of the offensive tackle starters, import Jason Jimenez is still around, but non-import Alex Gauthier was released and was picked up by the Riders for a decent amount of money. Offensive guards Rottier and Dyakowski, both non-imports are still part of the team, as is centre and non-import Marwan Hage.

Starting wide receivers Maurice Mann and Arland Bruce, third edition, both imports are still on the roster. Starting slotbacks Dave Stala, non-import and Marquay McDaniel, import are still around but there's rumblings that McDaniel could be moved. Maybe he should have gotten 1,000 yards receiving last year.

Of the three quarterbacks, Glenn is obviously still around, as are backups Porter and Trafalis. Porter has signed a contract extension with the Ticats, which would make you think he'll stick around this year. Glenn's career has been mostly durable, although he seems to have a habit of getting injured in playoff games, so Porter is pretty necessary for insurance. Unless of course you're Matt Dunigan and have a man crush on Trafalis and think he's ready to be a bona fide number two.

Starting running back De' Andra Cobb has been released with the signing of Avon Cobourne. Fullback and non-import Steve Schmidt is currently a free agent.

Kicker Sandro DeAngelis, non-import and punter Eric Wilbur, imports are still on the roster.

So some changes, but no wholesale dismantling either. By the time the first game of 2011 rolls around there could be more changes, but for a CFL team this is probably as continous as you're going to get.

CFL Combine Bench Press Record

Amazing performance at the CFL combine in Toronto this weekend, where Laurier offensive lineman Michael Knill broke the old record of 40 reps on the 225 pound bench press with 47 total. According to the article Knill is a trained power lifter, which explains some of it, and is also massive at 6'6" and 350 pounds. Where does that translate to draft position and eventual starting success in the CFL? Offensive line play is certainly more than your bench press number, even if it is incredible.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Throw out Your Cobb Heads

In a move that's hardly surprising, the Ticats have released running back De' Andra Cobb. Cobb was expendable after the Cats signed former Alouette Avon Cobourne. Too bad for those that bought the Cobb heads.

Barker Wins

So Argos coach Jim Barker ends up winning coach of the year. Going from 3 and 15 the year before and then going 9 and 9 during the regular season with a win on the road in the playoffs is a pretty good accomplishment. I predict the Argos will slide back a bit this year, but they shouldn't be too bad.