Tuesday, June 23, 2015

2015 CFL Post Pre-Season Power Rankings

1. Calgary Stampeders
Wins both pre-season games, quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell is looking good and they have Jon Cornish. The Stampeders didn't lose that many players in the off-season after winning the Grey Cup. Pretty much every other team in the CFL looks mediocre and with a lot of questions compared to Calgary.

2. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Hamilton does have a lot of injury problems, with Spencer Watt and Linden Gaydosh gone in dual off-season Achilles Heel injuries. Gable and Grigsby are banged up at running back. Eric Norwood is injured as apparently is Luke Tasker. However the Cats do have Zac Collaros apparently healthy at quarterback and still have Bakari Grant, Andy Fantuz and Brandon Banks at receiver. The defensive line still has Justin Hickman, Ted Laurent and Brian Hall which is impressive, plus a good linebacking corps. Justin Medlock is a great kicker and an OK punter. Even more injuries to Canadians will definitely hurt the Cats, but for now they should be able to put together a good lineup.

3. Edmonton Eskimos
One could argue that the Eskimos should be ranked higher than the Ticats, but they will basically go as far as quarterback Mike Reilly will take them. The question is how long will Reilly stay healthy as he takes a beating when he plays. The Esks do have a great defensive end in Odell Willis that just makes the defence that much better overall. Nate Coehoorn is a non-import receiver that could be in for an excellent season, plus Adarius Bowman is a good slotback.

4. Saskatchewan Roughriders
With Darian Durant in at quarterback last year the Riders were great, without him they sucked. Durant's injury was somewhat curious so exactly how healthy he is this year is a good question. The Riders have a good roster besides the quarterback position, although they lost a few pieces like Ricky Foley. As long as Durant is healthy, the strong Rider running game can work and combined with their defence they are one of the better teams in the CFL.

5. BC Lions
Is quarterback Travis Lulay healthy. Can he stay healthy or will his shoulder spontaneously put out on an innocuous play in the season opener. I'm leaning towards spontaneously popping out in the first game. Wally Buono generally puts together a good roster (and generally doesn't have much sentimentality (see Paul Mccallum)), so the team won't be totally bad, but the team desperately needs a backup quarterback who is capable of succeeding Lulay. The combination of linebackers Bighill and Elmimian is one of the best in the CFL so the defence should be OK. Non-import running back Andrew Harris playing well is important.

6. Toronto Argonauts
This seems to be the beginning of the end of the Ricky Ray era in Argoland. He's on the six game list, so he can't really count towards this week's power rankings. The Trevor Harris era is beginning at quarterback and at least he looked good against the Alouettes in pre-season. Can Chad Owens stay healthy and make a connection with Harris? The rest of the Argo roster has suffered somewhat under David Braley's lame duck leadership, however GM Jim Barker has been a master at putting together decent teams despite this. The Argos might be better at the end of the season, but before week one they are not great.

7. Montreal Alouettes
Quarterback Jonathon Crompton didn't look good at all in the Als last pre-season game against Toronto. Former Hamilton backup Dan LeFevour looked considerably better, although I don't think the Alouettes have the stones to have him be the starter for the opening game. Personally I never thought Crompton's stats were all that great anyways; Montreal's late season success in 2014 was more about defence than anything Crompton did. Crompton also doesn't have Duron Carter to help him out anymore, although the Als still have SJ Green. One does wonder if signing Michael Sam was a good idea as the hoopla seemed to overshadow the team.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The Bombers didn't look good in their last pre-season game against Hamilton. Drew Willy didn't do much when he was at the controls and if he isn't successful, the Bombers will be terrible.

9. Ottawa REDBLACKs
The REDBLACKs looked awful in the first pre-season game in Hamilton and one has to wonder if after winning two games in 2014 if they will be awful again in 2015. The REDBLACKs did sign a bunch of receivers, however if they don't have any quarterbacking, that isn't going to matter. I watched the first pre-season game in person and Ottawa struck me as not having a lot of depth compared to Hamilton. Ottawa may well win three more games than last year but that would still be a five win season. 

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