Another week has passed in the CFL with a wide variety of quarterback performances that either entertained or pained you depending on allegiance.
Let’s break down Week 7 in the CFL:
Week 7 saw a total of ten quarterbacks take meaningful snaps (not including BC’s Danny O’Brien or Saskatchewan’s Isaac Harker and Bryan Bennett). The only teams to have multiple quarterbacks take the field were Toronto and Hamilton. One due to poor performance, the other due to a season-altering non-contact injury.
Unsurprisingly if you watched last Thursday’s Argos vs. Esks game, in which Toronto was shutout on the road to end their three game Western road swing, both Argos’ passers came last in accuracy with two grades below that of the previous low standard for a tandem of passers from the same team in one game – Alouettes QBs Antonio Pipkin and Vernon Adams Jr. in Week 1 (also at Edmonton).
Mike Reilly suffered yet another difficult defeat at the hands of the Riders on Saturday in Vancouver. There is an absolute correlation between the amount of pressure Reilly gets in any given game and the accuracy grade he achieves in that game.
Matt Nichols struggled to find the mark right off the bat this week in Hamilton. While bringing in a 19-pass completion streak from the Bombers Week 6 win over Ottawa, Nichols had his first play shovel pass fall to the turf before air mailing his second attempt for an interception, just his second to that point on the season, but a pattern that would be duplicated twice more on the evening. That night, Hamilton held the Winnipeg QB to his second lowest accuracy grade this season with the only other low mark coming at home against Edmonton in a loss.
Dane Evans struggled to get in rhythm but just like Cody Fajardo in Week 1 relief duty in Hamilton, it’s unfair to assume the new Ticats starter will be unable to dial it in moving forward, while Trevor Harris continues to plug away as one of the CFL’s most consistently accurate quarterbacks.
Masoli barley missed the podium this week but that wouldn’t have meant much in way of an accomplishment for a man whose only goal this year was to lead Hamilton to a Grey Cup championship.
Let’s take a look at our top three performers for Week 7.
3. Saskatchewan QB Cody Fajardo
While William Powell was undoubtedly the star of the show in Vancouver on Saturday, Fajardo held his own when asked to move the football. He showed a variety of arm angles, releases and throw types he’s capable of making.
I’m excited to see how his game is challenged by a Ticats defence that applied numerous pressures and hits to Bombers QB Matt Nichols last week.
2. Ottawa REDBLACKS QB Jonathon Jennings
I know right.. At halftime – with an accuracy grade of 65.0 – Jonathon Jennings was well on his way to being condemned by the CFL on TSN panel as damn near unfit to wear a CFL uniform.
While his second half performance was nothing to write home about in terms of sensational throws that Jennings was known for in 2016 BC Lions orange, he did battle his way back into a respectable grade with ten-straight completions and an improved tempo at the line of scrimmage.
With Dominique Davis expected to return this week, I wonder when – if at all – Jennings will make another weekly accuracy grade podium in 2019.
1. Calgary Stampeders QB Nick Arbuckle
Well, here he is again.
It felt all game as if Arbuckle should have the Stamps up in Ottawa by twenty but turnovers and a couple big plays kept all things relatively even. Despite the close final score, Arbuckle undoubtedly had another great week in place of still injured Bo Levi Mitchell but should face one of his toughest tests yet against Edmonton on Saturday, a team that has held several quarterbacks to their lowest grades of 2019.
Now a look at the updated standings for this season.
The CFL wide accuracy average raised yet again this week due in large part to the addition of Dane Evans to the fold as he now qualifies for the season-long mark as a QB having at least 15 per cent of his team’s pass attempts (31 of Hamilton’s 206).
Masoli’s 2019 grading comes to a close at 67.6 after rising +0.3 in Week 7, which combined with Matt Nichols‘ rough week, gave back Hamilton’s injured QB a top three spot.
Perhaps both these Eastern duos are showing how system impacts accuracy. Something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.