We here at the Monday Morning Quarterback will admit there have been weeks where writing this submission has been a challenge. Sometimes it can be tough coming up with new and entertaining topics to write about.
The MMQB can also tell you that that hasn’t been the case once in the 2013 calendar year. The Canadian Football League is making life too easy here, and Week 11 was no exception.
The 2011 BC Lions and 2013 Toronto Argonauts don’t really have a whole lot in common. Yet, I can’t help get this crazy sleeping giant vibe from the defending Grey Cup champions.
If you’re reading this and wondering what I’m talking about, I’m going to try and explain as best I can.
|Related: Week 11 Action|
BC at Hamilton
Toronto at Montreal
Saskatchewan at Winnipeg
In 2011, BC started 0-5 and 1-6 and then only lost one more game before finishing the season as league champs. We all knew they were a very good team at the beginning of the season and seeing them slump so badly off the start was head scratching.
When they finally started to click, it wasn’t a massive shock to see them play the type of football they did. They truly were sleeping giants that figured it out a little later than most teams.
So how does this relate to the 2013 edition of the Argos? It’s mostly because this team scares me down the stretch. Not because they got off to an awful start and couldn’t get their ducks in a row.
Heck, Toronto completed a thrilling victory over Montreal on Sunday afternoon without three of their star players. They’re the top team in the East Division, yet I still think they’ve got a whole lot more in them.
Toronto pulled off their Week 11 victory without the services of their three most important offensive pieces. It’s impossible to even argue that point, as the Argos played minus quarterback Ricky Ray, running back Chad Kackert, and receiver Chad Owens.
Those are three elite players, and they’ll all be back playing together near the ending stretch of the season.
That’s where it all comes full circle in our comparison to the 2011 Lions. BC didn’t crank it up because they got a bunch of injured bodies back, but they elevated drastically and were playing their best football heading into the playoffs. If all goes according to plan, Toronto will have Ray, Kackert, and Owens all healthy heading into the 2013 post-season.
Would it surprise anyone if they were playing some rather formidable football at that time? Now let’s see how they hold down the fort in the meantime.
Worthy of recognition
I know we’ve touched on this already this season, but I think there are a lot of people who are now starting to catch on. Hamilton quarterback Henry Burris is having an incredible season. The fact he’s doing it at the age of 38 only makes it even more impressive.
Currently, Burris is on pace to shatter his career high mark for passing yards in a season. He set that mark in his first season with the Tiger Cats in 2012, throwing for over 5300 yards.
Right now, Burris stands to best his total from last year by almost 400 yards. And it’s not as if the guy is just throwing the ball around with reckless abandon, either.
Through 10 games in 2013, Burris’ completion percentage is higher than it’s ever been. He’s connecting on 67.4 per cent of his passes in 2013, more than a full percentage point higher than his 2010 career mark.
Most significantly, Burris has been the key reason why Hamilton’s aerial attack has become the most feared in the nation. He’s helped Greg Ellingson and Bakari Grant turn into two of the top weapons league-wide, and it’s gone a long way in making up for a ground game that is starting to find its footing.
So why hasn’t Burris been getting a lot of buzz for Most Outstanding Player chatter? I was thinking about this while watching his four-touchdown, 375-yard performance against the Lions on Saturday.
I think it comes down to a couple of different factors.
First, his name isn’t Kory Sheets , Jon Cornish, or Chad Owens. Since the start of the 2012 season, one of those three names seems to have dominated the discussion for MOP.
As such, it’s overshadowed a number of noteworthy performances; especially from guys we’ve become so accustomed to watching.
As for the final question, I just don’t know how to answer. Who’s starting on Friday night when Calgary welcomes Hamilton? Coach Huf, why don’t you consult your magic quarterback eight ball.
Good to see
It’s been a difficult season to say the least in Winnipeg.
The saddest part of it all is that Winnipeg’s football issues have made many forget about just how ready Bomber fans are to cheer for their team.
Winnipeg has a brand new football facility, which is something that can’t really be glossed over. A state of the art facility was built in the CFL for a primary use of football.
Yet the team playing out of lovely Investor’s Group Field have yet to have anything to cheer about.
Sunday finally put an end to that, however. In Week 11, Winnipeg finally notched their first home win of the season, taking out their archrival Saskatchewan Roughriders 25-13.
Not only did the Bombers finally win at home, they also snapped a seven game losing skid. And they did, of course, win the Banjo Bowl.
This column tries very hard to not play favorites when it comes to teams, and this blurb is no different. I’m not going to lie, though: it was awesome seeing the Bombers win in that atmosphere.
I’m sorry, seeing dudes with inflatable banjos and seeing how nice the weather looked in Winnipeg on Sunday, it was just nice to see.
The Riders are going to be fine, even though I know local phone-in shows were probably livid all day long. But for the Bombers to win their first home game of a hard season on this particular day is pretty special.
They’re not going to the playoffs, and most fans are going to do all they can to forget 2013. With their win over Saskatchewan, there will be at least one positive memory.
Pat Steinberg is the co-host of the drive home program on Sportsnet Radio FAN 960 in Calgary. He also reports on the CFL and the Stampeders and hosts pre and post-game programs for the team. He looks forward to traveling to the Grey Cup every year. Follow Pat on Twitter @Fan960Steinberg.