Hello, Edmonton Elks. I dig the antler hands celebration thing. Kinda like a cross between jazz hands and antlers.
In fact, Leanne H, on Twitter, informed me that they’re being called “jantlers,” by some. Endorsed. And the new mascot? His name is Spike, eh? Did you even consider Lawrence Elk?
» Steinberg’s MMQB: Observations from Week 1
» Bethel-Thompson: ‘We found out we have heart today’
» REDBLACKS, Kanneh dig in for gritty opening win
» Cody Fajardo: ‘That was a big character game for us’
Here are this week’s takeaways.
NATURE ABHORS A VACUUM
Yes it does, indeedy.
On Thursday night, that vacuum came in the form of Winnipeg star running back Andrew Harris having to sit out the opener against Hamilton.
Sucked into the vortex, and spit out the other side in an impressive display of fancy footwork and power running was Brady Oliveira, the young Winnipegger who turns 24 next week.
With 22 rushes for 126 yards and a reception for 21 more, Oliveira’s first pro start was a beauty.
Hamilton defensive end Ja’Gared Davis said afterward that Oliveria “can be a real star in this league,” and at the very least, it appears the Bombers have the heir in their midst as the 34-year-old Harris enters the winter of his career.
If only Oliveira were more marketable as a hero of some sort, a more wholesome guy who could… I’m sorry, what? Hold up, I’m just being informed that Oliveira regularly travels around Manitoba rescuing homeless dogs, and has saved over fifty at last count.
Yeah, I guess that’s pretty good… I’m sorry, what?
I’m also being informed that, last May, Oliveira rescued a woman and her dog from the Red River after they’d fallen in.
Good Lord. You’d think the cape would make him easier to tackle.
OH YEAH. THERE ARE TWO SIDES OF THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE
Did you count Ottawa out this season, focusing on what appeared to be, arguably, a bit of an underwhelming cast on offence, with a quarterback who’s been nursing a sore shoulder?
Well, the REDBLACKS’ defence would like a word.
They bent a fair bit, for sure, giving up 423 yards in net offence. But with linebacker Avery Williams leading the charge with 14 tackles and a sack, and defensive back Abdul Kanneh going pick-six for the winning score, then getting his shoulder into a last-second, goal line stop, the Ottawa D went toe-to-toe with an equally impressive Edmonton defence.
The REDBLACKS D served notice, on Saturday night, that they are not going to entertain talk of Ottawa being a free square on the bingo card in 2021.
BONUS TAKEAWAY: The longer Abdul Kanneh’s hair, the greater his powers.
BONUS BONUS TAKEAWAY: The higher Kwaku Boateng’s butt is when he’s in a four-point stance, the greater his powers.
MAYBE MICHAEL REILLY HAS TO BE PHYSICALLY RESTRAINED FOR HIS OWN GOOD
Nah. That wouldn’t work, anyway. He’d just trot out there with his hands cuffed and attempt two-handed passes from behind his back.
Just when you think the thick book on Reilly’s competitive spirit and toughness couldn’t possibly have another chapter added, here comes another plot twist anyway.
Friday night, in Regina, the veteran QB jumped into the fray to start the second half, his BC Lions trailing the Roughriders 32-9.
With a throwing elbow that was made up, roughly, of the consistency of over-cooked spaghetti, Reilly pretty well willed his team back into the game, even if many of his passes resembled the twisting, tumbling talents of the gymnasts at the games of the thirty-second Olympiad.
Still, it might be wise for somebody to hide Michael Reilly’s helmet when he’s injured and in a mood, just for his own good.
Nah. That wouldn’t work either. He probably hides a secret one somewhere, just in case somebody tries it.
BONUS TAKEAWAY: You have my attention, Nathan Rourke.
DASHAUN AMOS IS A MASTER OF UNDERSTATEMENT
The Calgary defensive back hadn’t yet seen video of his epic journey to track down Toronto’s Ricky Collins Jr. when he was asked about it, post-game.
“I’m pretty sure that I think it was a good play,” he said.
Can confirm, DaShaun. Can confirm.
Locked up on the boundary corner by Argos receiver Juwan Brescacin, Amos turned to shed that contact at the Toronto 33-yard line, as Collins streaked by in the slot.
“Gone,” we all thought. Except for DaShaun Amos, who merely inflated his neck pillow and dug in for the long, long flight.
Many time zones and four or five episodes of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel later, Amos landed, punching the ball out of the Argo receiver’s arm (note that Collins had improperly stowed his carry-on for the trip) and it was recovered by the Stampeders in the end zone.
If Calgary wins, that’s the play of the game. Hell, it is anyway.
SOMEBODY NEEDS TO CHECK JASON MAAS FOR CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
What was that? Saskatchewan Roughriders’ Offensive Coordinator Jason Maas has about 500 schemes in his playbook? Did I hear that right? Oh, you say he trimmed it back to merely 400?
Gonna be a fun season to watch the Saskatchewan offence, with the potential for all kinds of variety and trickery and fakery and whatnot. As long as none of the players wreck their eyes with all that reading. “Hey, coach, any chance we can can some of this stuff as part of a books on tape series?”
500 plays. That’s not a playbook. That’s an entire anthology. He should split it all up into separate volumes and give them names.
Can’t wait to read “Cody Fajardo and the Goblet of Fire.”
AND FINALLY… I think if James Wilder Jr. had his way, he’d just go ahead and play in nothing more than a Speedo with “32” hand-painted on his chest and back.