June 14, 2023

Team Grades Powered by PFF: A look back at 2022

Kevin Sousa/CFL.ca

The CFL unveiled its partnership with PFF this week and opened a door of possibilities to everyone involved in the game, including and especially fans.

That’s because PFF adds more data to this game of inches that we all love. Breaking down units and player performance* has never been easier, so we’ll start our journey here with the first edition of Team Grades powered by PFF to go with our Player Grades.

We’ll take off by going over how teams fared in 2022 according to the data collected by PFF. To include all nine teams, we’ll use only the regular season as a frame of reference.

 O’Leary: CFL, PFF embark on analytics journey
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PFF utilizes extensive review of game footage to provide additional context for every action on the field. Highly-trained PFF staff break down every game, player and play to provide over 200 unique data points, which are used to compile Player Grades – a numerical representation up-to-100 of performance at their specific position.

For more information on PFF, Player Grades, the Grading Scale and more, please visit pff.com/grades.

*All player grades required a minimum of 100 snaps played between Weeks 1-21 of 2022

Toronto Argonauts (72.1 offensive grade, 87.4 defensive grade)

Key stat: 260 Stops

Defence wins championships is an old saying in football. In this case it rings true, as the group led by Henoc Muamba and Wynton McManis boasted one of the best defensive units in the league last year.

The Argos finished first in stops (solo tackles or sacks that lead to an offensive failure according to PFF) and had defensive back Jamal Peters (91.3) – who re-signed with the team this week – finish with the best defensive grade in the league.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers (91.9 offensive grade, 88.7 defensive grade)

Key stat: 88.9 receiving grade

The quest for a three-peat was very nearly successful, and the stats back it up. Everyone knows that quarterback Zach Collaros (90.8) had a successful season with his second consecutive Most Outstanding Player award, but it was the Bombers receiving corps that jumped out with a league-best 88.9 receiving grade, including all three of Dalton Schoen (87.5), Nic Demski (81.0) and Greg Ellingson (79.2) finishing in the top 21 overall offensive players of 2022.

BC Lions (83.1 offensive grade, 90.6 defensive grade)

Key stat: 89.1 passing grade

To no one’s surprise, the Lions offence graded high in 2022 and finished second in the regular season with an 83.1 grade, highlighted by a league-leading 89.1 team passing grade as Nathan Rourke (94.1) became just the third quarterback to earn the Most Outstanding Canadian award.

However, the Lions defence also graded well. The unit was led by defensive back Garry Peters (83.5), who finished the year with five interceptions and was the seventh highest ranked defensive player according to PFF.

Montreal Alouettes (80.5 offensive grade, 82.0 defensive grade)

Key stat: 74.6 pass blocking grade

The Alouettes made the Eastern Finals on the heels of a strong offence that graded third in the league, led by departed-quarterback Trevor Harris (81.6).

Let’s not forget, however, that one of the main strengths of the team is still in town in a pass-blocking unit that graded first in the CFL, including three of the top seven ranked offensive lineman in Pier-Olivier Lestage (76.2) Nick Callender (69.1) and Kristian Matte (68.1).

Calgary Stampeders (78.0 offensive grade, 90.5 defensive grade)

Key stat: 98.6 rushing grade

Ka’Deem Carey was the highest graded non-quarterback offensive player in the league in 2022 (Matt Smith/CFL.ca)

The Stampeders were one of the most balanced teams in the league last year, finishing in the top four in both offence and defence grades.

A key to their success is their running back group led by All-Star Ka’Deem Carey (90.7), who was the highest non-quarterback player ranked by PFF. However, backups Dedrick Mills (84.4) and Peyton Logan (80.3) also graded very high, showcasing Calgary’s depth at the position.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats (74.1 offensive grade, 90.7 defensive grade)

Key stat: 91.2 coverage grade

The Ticats led the CFL in defensive grade in 2022 with a unit that was predicated on stopping the pass. A 91.2 coverage grade was a product of standout defensive backs Richard Leonard (88.1) and Ciante Evans (86.4) – now with the Alouettes – both finishing amongst the four best defensive grades in the league.

Saskatchewan Roughriders (65.5 offensive grade, 77.8 defensive grade)

Key stat: 90.7 rushing grade

It wasn’t the best year for the Riders as they finished with a 6-12 record and second-to-last place in the West. However, there were more than a few bright spots in Saskatchewan, none more so than running back duo Jamal Morrow (82.2) and Frankie Hickson (86.0) who finished six and second amongst rushers in overall offensive grade.

Ottawa REDBLACKS (71.1 offensive grade, 78.6 defensive grade)

Key stat: 91.6 run defence grade

Ottawa had the best run-defence grade in the league in 2022 according to PFF, thanks in part to Most Outstanding Defensive Player Lorenzo Mauldin IV (80.1), who demonstrated his versatility by not only leading the league in sacks with 17, but also finishing in the upper echelon of run defenders with a 78.3 grade.

Edmonton Elks (67.2 offensive grade, 79.2 defensive grade)

Key stat: 260 stops

The Elks tied the Argos with the most stops in 2022, showcasing a defensive playmaking ability that could spell hope in 2023. At the top of the list for the team was edge rusher Jake Ceresna (85.1) with 26 stops, good for seventh most in the CFL, earning him the sixth best grade amongst all defenders in 2022.

Team Offensive Grade* Defensive Grade*
Toronto Argonauts 72.1 87.4
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 91.9 88.7
BC Lions 83.1 90.6
Montreal Alouettes 80.5 82.0
Calgary Stampeders 78.0 90.5
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 74.1 90.7
Saskatchewan Roughriders 65.5 77.8
Ottawa REDBLACKS 71.1 78.6
Edmonton Elks 67.2 79.2

*Grades were based on team-performance between Weeks 1-21 of 2022

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