The Canadian Press
Hello, Adam Bighill. Change your name, already, because it’s not enough anymore. Put “Hugehill” on your jersey. Or Massivehill. Or “Steepsloped-Gargantuanhill,” if it’ll fit. Or just go with “Mountain.”
Here are this week’s takeaways.
TWO GAMES IN ONE WEEK IS NOT A FOOTBALL DEATH SENTENCE
Bravo to both the Ottawa REDBLACKS and the Toronto Argonauts. In playing two games in six days, each of them showed you can deliver the goods in trying circumstances. Is it a perfect situation? No, it is not. Far from it, of course. We’d rather not, thanks.
But that second game does not have to be an impossible undertaking.
The Argos sure looked like reanimation was out of the question for them until the fourth quarter came around, in Hamilton, but in springing out of the cold, charred ground like Carrie’s hand at the end of the movie (don’t “spoiler alert much?” me. That movie’s 45 years old), they were able to take firm control of the East heading into the stretch.
And the REDBLACKS very nearly pulled it out in Montreal, with a defence that held the fort amazingly well, save for those blips that began and ended the game. I don’t know if defensive coordinator Mike Benevides is interested in prepping his troops like it’s a short week every week, but it’s a thought considering how they responded.
BONUS TAKEAWAY: DaVaris Daniels is now the clubhouse leader when it comes to catch of the year candidates. I have a simple question for you DaVaris: How?
MCBETH IS NO MACBETH
Argos’ quarterback McLeod Bethel Thompson is well-known as a deep thinker, often peppering his interview answers with thoughtful insights.
More than just a thinker, though. A feeler, too. A man of compassion. Not so much like Shakespeare’s murderous Scottish king.
Right after Toronto’s win over Ottawa, Bethel-Thompson sought out REDBLACKS’ rookie QB Caleb Evans, who’d just endured a really ugly schooling at the hands of the Toronto defence.
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“I told him that he’s a good player,” said Bethel-Thompson, of Evans, “and (to) just concentrate on the good.”
“It’s impressive what he’s doing. It’s not an easy league to adjust to. He showed a lot of poise out there.”
Not something that an opponent has to do after a game, but he did it anyway. Sympathy doesn’t cost the giver a cent, but it is oh so valuable to the recipient.
If only Macbeth had been more like McBeth. Probably could’ve avoided that whole Birnam Wood coming to Dunsinane and such.
BONUS TAKEAWAY: Well, McBeth is kinda like Macbeth, I guess, in that he does stand rather tall on the battlefield right now.
THAT’S LIKE RICH, CORINTHIAN LEATHER, THAT IS
What are the greatest luxuries in life? Not the necessities, the luxuries.
A slick sports car? A seaside villa with a hot tub perched on the edge of a cliff, the humpback whales leaping below for your entertainment? A private jet to whisk you anywhere at anytime? A really, really good butter tart?
Yeah, that’s all good. But what’s really luxurious is a defence that can absolutely dominate, and leave you with no doubt that you can win even when the offence resembles a guy who’s misplaced the allen key half way through assembling his new chest of drawers. (If that seems like a very specific reference there’s a reason for that)
We’re running out of words to describe the Winnipeg defence. In Friday’s victory over Edmonton, the dominance was so overwhelming, all it would have taken to win is the one field goal the Bombers got and the single on one of the three misses.
Luxury. That’s what the Winnipeg defence is. Ostentatious luxury. “I think they can be better,” said head coach Mike O’Shea, on Friday night. Yiiiiikes.
BONUS TAKEAWAY: The scene: A backwoods cabin, far from civilization. A fully-bearded Justin Medlock looks up and stops chopping wood as he spies a dark sedan with a rental car sticker on it creeping up the winding drive. The driver steps out. Medlock shakes his head and smiles a little smile.
“Kyle Walters” he says, incredulously. “I told you. I’m out.” With that, Medlock swings the axe and brings it down hard on a log, splitting it right down the middle.
“Just one more job, Justin,” says Walters. “Just one more.”
BONUS BONUS TAKEAWAY: What I wrote about sympathy goes for Ali Mourtada, too. You can judge the performance and find it lacking, but you don’t need to eviscerate the man while you do it. And on Friday night, with the score 29-3, I found myself rooting harder than I ever have for a meaningless convert.
WE’VE REACHED THAT POINT IN EDMONTON
With the Elks’ offence just about completely stymied by the Bombers D, you might mine two takeaways; First, it’s the Bombers’ defence so things might not be quite as bad as you feel.
However, Edmonton’s offensive struggles have preceded this game as well. So, second, it might not hurt to do something quite different now. Something more than just a changing of the quarterbacks.
Maybe you put the offence on James Wilder Jr.’s back. Maybe it’s time for 20 carries for him, while the offensive line gets a chance to tee off a bit. It worked in Week 3 against BC, when Wilder lugged 22 times for 127 yards. The way he runs, he’s gonna need some sideline time, too, so another 10 or 12 carries for Terry Williams might not hurt neither.
It’s a thought.
BONUS TAKEAWAY: Hand it to that Elks’ defence. They hung in and hung in and hung in.
BONUS BONUS TAKEAWAY: More Jordan Hoover halftime interviews, please.
THAT ELKS TAKEAWAY? BOLSTERED BY THE CALGARY STAMPEDERS
I wrote that Elks’ offence takeaway on Saturday morning and thought “meh, might not use that one.”
Then I watched the Calgary Stampeders hand the ball to Ka’Deem Carey 20 times (109 yards) and throw it to him six times (five catches, 69 yards).
The Stampeders’ running back was a speeding, hard-cutting, powering homonym of his own last name, lifting the Calgary offence onto his shoulders and lugging it to a higher level.
It worked in Calgary. It might work for the guys up the road too.
AND FINALLY… The only possible way that Richie Leone’s coffin-corner punts could be any better is if the ball actually stuck in the turf like a lawn dart.