June 13, 2018

Checking Down: News and notes for opening week

Peter Power/The Canadian Press

TORONTO — This is it: Week 1 of the 2018 CFL season.

With the injury to Matt Nichols, the fresh-faced Chris Streveler has been announced as the Blue Bombers’ starting quarterback against the Eskimos, becoming the first quarterback in 24 years to start Week 1 in the CFL straight out of college.

The Montreal Alouettes are backing Drew Willy as their starting quarterback, but will Eric Rogers suit up in Week 1 with the Stamps?

And finally, what does the future hold for Vernon Adams Jr.?

All this and more in the latest from Checking Down:

Jump to team:

BC | Calgary | Edmonton | Saskatchewan | Winnipeg | Hamilton | Toronto | Ottawa | Montreal


Lions’ running back Chris Rainey will be a much-needed spark for BC in 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

– Jamie Taras and Eric Carter were each a part of the 2000 team that shocked the nation. Now, they’re both headed to the Lions Wall of Fame (Matt Baker, BCLions.com).

– The Lions aren’t making it any secret that Wally Buono’s last season will serve as motivation for Lions (Chris O’Leary, CFL.ca).

– New Lions offensive coordinator Jarious Jackson may lean on explosive Rainey to light the fuse for a revamped offence (JJ Adams, Vancouver Sun)

– 10 players have agreed to sign practice roster spots for Lions following cutdown day (Matt Baker, BCLions.com)


The Eskimos will be without Aaron Grymes in their Week 1 matchup against the Blue Bombers. (Jason Helstead/CFL.ca)

Sherritt may have set lofty goals, but the Eskimos’ veteran linebacker is ready to work for them (Esks Staff, Esks.com).

Eskimos face relatively unknown QB as they prepare to battle Bombers. What are the challenges of facing Chris Streveler? (Dave Campbell, CHED)

Aaron Grymes will not play in Week 1 against Bombers after going on the suspended list (CFL Staff, CFL.ca).

– The task of trying to play in the Grey Cup at home can be pressure-filled, but the Eskimos are ready (Jim Morris, CFL.ca).



– The Stampeders’ defensive line continues to come together as a unit, led by the big men inside (Paul Mawdsley, Stampeders.com).

– Dave Dickenson says the team has yet to make a decision on recently-signed receiver Eric Rogers and whether he’ll play in Week 1 (Sportsnet 960).

Not enough footballs to share among receivers Calgary receivers? The Stamps’ offence could be hard to predict in 2018 (Daniel Austin, Calgary Sun).

Micah Johnson returns to potentially dominant Stampeders defence after being absent throughout camp (Daniel Austin, Calgary Sun).

– Seven-year Stampeder WR Anthony Parker was released on cut-down day (CFL Staff, CFL.ca)



– The quarterbacking conundrum continues in Regina as the Riders have not yet named a starter for Week 1 (Iam Hamilton, Riderville.com).

Veterans Bagg, Owens, Grant and Bond were among Riders cuts over the weekend on a busy cutdown day for Chris Jones (CFL Staff, CFL.ca)

– Getting pressure is the name of the game for a Riders’ D-line that could be the strength of the team in 2018 (Ian Hamilton, Riderville.com).

– His decisions aren’t always popular, but Chris Jones makes tough (and necessary) football decisions (Joel Gasson, 3 Down Nation).



– The Blue Bombers announced the  list of players released at the conclusion of training camp, with the biggest name being former first overall pick Faith Ekakitie (BlueBombers.com).

Chris Streveler will slide behind the wheel of one of the Canadian Football League’s most potent offences (Ed Tait, BlueBombers.com).

– While Streveler’s inexperience can’t be argued, Justin Dunk says the quarterback’s off-the-charts athleticism makes him intriguing (Justin Dunk, 3 Down Nation).



– The Ticats agree to terms with RB John White and released receiver Demarr Aultman (CFL.ca).

– After a strong rookie season, Justin Vaughn could be ready for a breakout on the Ticats’ D-line (Matt Hodowany, Ticats.ca).

– Jeremiah Masoli says he’s happy to have the confidence of his coaching staff, but understands no one’s job is safe (TSN).

– The Ticats will reportedly be without running back Alex Green for at least the first two weeks of the season (Louis Butko, TSN).

Frank Gansz Jr. joins Ticats as special teams coordinator, the team has announced (Ticats.ca)


A Grey Cup Champion in 2017, Ricky Ray returns for another season as field general of the Boatmen’s offence. (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)

– He’s still trying to figure out his number, but other than that Abdul Kanneh says he’s fitting in after being traded to the Argos (Frank Zicarelli, Toronto Sun).

– Could the Argos become the first powerhouse the East Division has had since the Montreal Alouettes? The pieces are there in 2018 (Chris O’Leary, CFL.ca)

– Ricky Ray says the Riders’ athleticism presents some unique challenges going into Friday night‘s season-opener (Frank Zicarelli, Toronto Sun).



– One of the league’s fastest-rising stars, Diontae Spencer has no plans of slowing down going into his second season in Ottawa (Don Landry, CFL.ca)


Drew Willy has the backing of his team as he enters 2018 with a starting quarterback job. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

– The Alouettes have added more QB depth with the addition of Jeff Mathews (3Down Staff, 3 Down Nation).

– Alouettes co-owner Andrew Wetenhall believes ‘Drew Willy is a great football player‘ (3 Down Nation).

– Offensive tackle Xavier Fulton is taking his mistaken release in stride as he prepares for the season-opener (Herb Zurkowsky, Montreal Gazette)