September 12, 2018

Ferguson: A signature play for each team v2.0

Johany Jutras/

Last year I had a ton of fun writing about what a signature play would look like for each team in 2017 and I had a some people asking if I would do it again for the 2018 version of each CFL offence so guess what, It’s back!

Nothing like a little bit of sarcastic, fantasyland x’s and o’s to get you through the mid week grind.

BC Lions

For the Lions much of their team success this season has been based on defence and creating turnovers, especially at home but for the offence with Manny Arceneaux injured there are two playmakers capable of creating excitement. Jeremiah Johnson continues to be one of the most physical running backs in the league while Bryan Burnham hasn’t lost a step but seems to have received less attention in 2018 after a spectacular 2017.

The design for BC is simple. Two tight ends – using fullbacks Lumbala and the rookie Mackie – with a stacked front. Lulay reads the defensive end and if at all possible gives the rock to Jeremiah to pick and choose a hole to hit. If the end crashes down Lulay takes two quick steps, squares up and takes a shot down the field to Burnham.

BC needs to rely on these two moving forward whenever possible.

Edmonton Eskimos

Mike Reilly LOVES the deep ball. Jason Maas gives Reilly plenty of chances to show off the cannon each game so why not design a signature play inspired by that?

On this design Natay Adjei and CJ Gable run swing routes as outlets, something Reilly is exceptional at getting to in his progressions. Meanwhile Duke Williams, Vidal Hazelton and Derel Walker – please get healthy – give Reilly vertical threats with the likeliest target being Duke over the middle somewhere 45-55 yards from Reilly.

I’ve called two Ticats games on radio this year where Reilly and Duke have pulled this home run shot off. It’s not a fluke, it’s a skill and their the best in the CFL at it.

Calgary Stampeders

Kamar Jorden is hurt and the power run game isn’t what it used to be.

Protecting Bo Levi Mitchell has to be the primary concern for anyone wearing a horse on their uniform from now until the final whistle of the Grey Cup. The Stampeders are good enough to win the 2018 championship on defence and aggressive offence, but all bets are off if Bo were to go down.

With that being said the Stampeders – tongue in cheek – play design involves DeVaris Daniels going wild while every other Stamp protects their prized possession.

Saskatchewan Roughriders

Who is the Riders starting quarterback? Bridge to Watford to Bridge to Watford to Collaros?!
Where did he come from?!

Once Zach checks into the game the Riders load up the backfield with two running backs a fullback and an extra offensive lineman while Auburn quarterback turned defensive back Nick Marshall lines up as a tight end.

On the snap Marshall pops off the line and sprints across Collaros’ face to receive a pitch while fellow Auburn Tiger alumni, now Riders running back Tre Mason works the speed option with Marshall just like the good ole’ days.

One problem, Collaros doesn’t give the pitch. Instead he turns around and hands the ball off to Marcus Thigpen who runs for an 80 yard touchdown. A bunch of smoke and mirrors to disguise the fact that the Riders just want to run the ball and protect their offseason acquired quarterback.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Chris Streveler is in the game for Winnipeg. Just before the snap the Bombers use all kinds of crazy motion to send Weston Dressler (7) across the formation. At the snap Streveler spins around and tosses the pitch to workhorse running back Andrew Harris, who after five hard steps towards the sideline tosses a designed pass to the flats back to Dressler who – per usual – runs 50 yards to get five.

Think this one is crazy and stupid? Show me something offensive coordinator Paul Lapolice won’t do and I’ll show you a lie.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Tiger-Cats lineup with their recently reclaimed, once Manziel package traded tight end Landon Rice to give Jeremiah Masoli more time. With that time Masoli allows Brandon Banks to run a tempo route into the whole behind Mike Jones and Luke Tasker who clear out the deep defenders with a post and corner route.

Banks finds the soft spot, settles in and as he snaps his head around to wave at Masoli the ball is about a foot from his face in the perfect location.

I didn’t even have t make this one up, it was Banks long touchdown against the Argos in their Labour Day rematch victory.


Toronto Argonauts

I don’t care how Toronto does it, I just need more SJ Green in my life.

Here green lines up away from the four receiver side and waggles down the line of scrimmage while Declan Cross (38) enters the box showing run with a ball fake to James Wilder Jr.

Green crosses the formation with a simple short side read for McLeod Bethel-Thompson who has proven to be a very effective intermediate distance window thrower early in his CFL starter career.


The Redblacks offence is so confusing to me. Some weeks they look like the best in the CFL. Other weeks they can’t seem to get out of their own way.

The one consistent is how great Brad Sinopoli (88) has been for them. On this play the dynamic trio of Diontae Spencer (85) Greg Ellingson (82) and Sinopoli come together in a bunch with Ellingson going deep, Spencer using his short area quickness and burst, and Sinopoli inevitably running all over the field until find the first down marker and somehow converting for a fresh set of plays when he probably shouldn’t have been able to.

Montreal Alouettes

Montreal has to find a way to get Manziel on the field for how much money they’re paying him, right?

Two quarterback system!

Inspired by the A-11 offence used by some high schools in California the Alouettes signature play consists of Manziel and starter Antonio Pipkin sharing the backfield in a touch football style play that sees each alternate quarterback get behind the ball carrying quarterback so they are eligible to receive a lateral and still be able to pass the ball forwards.

On this play Pipkin and Manziel can’t find anyone open and Pipkin gets tired of having to answer Manziel questions after he has earned the starting role so he goes for a wild scramble.


As always these plays are all designed in good fun with the themes and standout moments of the CFL season in mind.

I hope you enjoyed and if you think you can best any of my semi-sarcastic play designs with your teams quirks kept in mind send them to me on twitter @TSN_Marsh!