Menu
Odds Powered By
November 15, 2021

Landry’s 5 takeaways from Week 15

The Canadian Press

Hello, football fans. Not all football fans, just the guilty ones. It is Or-LON-do Steinauer, not Or-LAN-do Steinauer. Orlando is a city in Florida. Orlondo is the head coach of the Hamilton Ticats. Or-LON-do. Thank you for coming to my Tod Talk.

Here are this week’s takeaways.

WHAT’S THAT OLD SAYING? CHANNEL YOUR ANGER?

 

In last week’s column, I referred to the Toronto Argonauts as “Team Trampoline” due to the up and down nature of their play in 2021. They hadn’t shown, definitively, that they could or would meet the big moment in the way a contender must. At least not since a Week 3 victory over Winnipeg.

Friday night’s game against Hamilton, I argued, would tell us a lot about the Argos. Lots of people argued that, actually.

Being questioned ticked off the Toronto Argonauts and they squeezed that anger into a tasty distillate that only members of the team could truly savour.

With a thorough, three-phase effort, the Argos illustrated that they are a contender to be reckoned with, and that comes at precisely the right moment, what with the playoffs just over yonder now.

“What a great time to play our best game,” said quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson afterward. “It’s awesome to see us rise to the occasion.”

The Argos seemed to enjoy having people count them out and then getting to smoosh it in the faces of those people like a big ol’ handful of chilled November mud.

Next question: How will they enjoy no longer having doubters but rather expecters?

ORLONDO STEINAUER ISN’T MAD. JUST DISAPPOINTED

Hamilton’s head coach had it written all over his face in his post-game media avail on Friday night.

And if you couldn’t read it on his countenance, he made it clear as he spoke, using the word “disappointing” three times in two answers when asked about his team’s performance in Toronto.

MID-TAKEAWAY BONUS FOR THE ANALYTICS FANS OUT THERE: In using the term “disappointing” three times in two answers, Steinauer averaged 1.5 UPAs (utilizations per answer) of the term. This is the kind of in-depth analytics posturing you can expect from me from here on out. Just trying to keep up. So ends this edition of Mid-Takeaway Bonus Analytics.

“Credit Toronto,” Steinauer said, offering grudging admiration to the Argos. Then, a little more disappointment.

“Boy, you’re not gonna beat a lot of football teams playing the way we played,” he moaned.

RELATED
» Argos roll past Ticats for first place in the East
» Updated Playoff Scenarios: Argos to host Eastern Final, Riders to host Western Semi-Final
» Fajardo on Duke Williams: ‘He’s built different’
» Steinberg’s MMQB: The race for the final home playoff game

Such is the life of a football coach. You have a team that looks like it’s humming along and then, kaboom, regression comes calling. Dropped passes and penalties were of particular concern, with Steinauer noting that he thought his team’s early season penalty troubles had long since been remedied.

“These are preventable mistakes and if we wanna have chance at this thing, we gotta eliminate those,” Steinauer said.

BONUS TAKEAWAY: Steinauer has a big, big question to ponder as he readies his club for the regular season finale against Saskatchewan. Does he stay all-in on quarterback Jeremiah Masoli or have Dane Evans take the wheel?

THE BIGGEST OF THE LITTLE WORDS HAS NOT YET DEPARTED SASKATCHEWAN

 

The biggest of the little words is “but.”

And, look, I realize I’m on a bit of a streak here in quoting Roughriders’ head coach Craig Dickenson in these takeaway columns, but I can’t help it. The guy is just too candid and interesting to overlook, week in and week out.

Dickenson was happy that his team subdued the Elks on Saturday, clinching home field advantage in the Western Semi-Final. He said he’d encourage his team to “enjoy the win.”

But.

“I don’t think we’re playin’ great football,” said Dickenson, “I really don’t.”

“We’re findin’ ways to win so I don’t wanna discount that. But the reality was that wasn’t a great performance out there, tonight, and if we play like that in the playoffs, unfortunately it’s gonna be a short run for us.”

With Calgary on the horizon in the Semi, Dickenson knows his team will need a whole lot more to lasso the horse than the effort they employed to snag the elk. This particular elk, anyway.

Dickenson has some ammo to use in shaping up his troops this week. All he has to do is remind them that he had to call a timeout prior to the Roughriders’ second half kick-off, on Saturday, simply because there weren’t enough kick-off team players on the field, ready to go.

“It was an embarrassing moment for me, as a coach. And I hope the players are embarrassed by it, too,” said Dickenson, averaging 2.0 UPAs of derivatives (known as UPAD’s) of the root term “embarrass.”

Hey, that’s ADVANCED analytics there, my friends.

BONUS TAKEAWAY: For those in Hamilton thinking “great, the ‘Riders don’t have anything to play for in Week 16,” their coach, I think, would strongly disagree.

BONUS BONUS TAKEAWAY: Oh, baby. Duke Williams is feelin’ it, just in time for the playoffs.

HUNT ME? NO, NO, HUNT YOU

 

The Calgary Stampeders have had both the blessing and the burden of being the powerhouse of the CFL for a number of years, continually being the team that has had the target on its back.

Year after year they’ve been the ones that either win the championship – as expected – or are scolded for being failures.

Not this year. That’s Winnipeg’s burden/honour to carry.

After beating BC to clinch third place in the West, the Stampeders will go into the playoffs knowing they have to hit the road and win three straight road games (incidentally, that’s just what Winnipeg did in 2019) if they are to be champions, with far fewer people than usual marking them as favourites.

“I’m happy to be the underdog, said quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell after the win in Vancouver. “I want people doubtin’ us.”

“It gives guys an opportunity to be a different player,” Mitchell explained, perhaps hinting at some relief after having big expectations heaped on him, year after year.

Players always say things like “pressure is a privilege,” but I’ve my doubts about how much they really believe that.

“I love people talking down on us,” continued Mitchell. “Doubt who we are. Doubt the guys in this room.”

The doubters will be happy to oblige, Bo, and I’ll pass the message on to them, but right now they’re busy wiping cold November mud, courtesy of the Toronto Argonauts, from their faces.

OLD DOGS CAN INDEED LEARN NEW TRICKS. FROM EACH OTHER

That the Argos’ defence is performing as well as it is is kind of impressive, considering the moving pieces that haver been continually forced upon it due to injuries.

And then there’s the matter of having two decorated, veteran coaches – Rich Stubler and Chris Jones – in the defensive coordinator’s kitchen at the same time.

Their philosophies and styles don’t entirely match up, and each of them is used to having things his way, so one could easily conclude that the pots and pans would be flying, a clash of egos certain to be critically disruptive.

But Toronto linebacker Henoc Muamba says Jones and Stubler – as entrenched in design and as experienced as each is – are teaching each other about relinquishing the final say.

“We often talk about how much a team has to come together in order to win,” said Muamba in the aftermath of the Argos’ 31-12 victory over the Ticats. “But these guys, who are… really proud of the kind of defence that they like to run… both of them are having (to make) a lot of concessions and willing to kind of listen to the other. They have so much respect for one another and I see it.”

“I’ve played under both of them, separately, and I know how much they’re doing as far as giving the other person a chance to control a few things.”

You know what they say about ‘too many cooks.’ But what about ‘two many cooks?’ With Stubler’s pinch of this and Jones’ pinch of that, the Argos are starting to provide fine dining on defence.

BONUS TAKEAWAY: Toronto’s injury woes have led the Argos to uncovering a gem: defensive Back Jalen Collins.

AND FINALLY… Eugene Lewis is as good sideways as he is upright. Maybe even better.

The comment system on this website is now powered by the CFL.ca Forums. We'd love for you to be part of the conversation; click the Start Discussion button below to register an account and join the community!