July 24, 2023

Power Rankings: There are horses in these QB stables

Kevin Sousa/CFL.ca

TORONTO — With teams digging deep into their quarterback stables in Week 7, we found out that a lot of them just might have some horses (apologies to the Calgary Stampeders, who rightfully have first dibs on all horse-related references).

Ottawa, Hamilton, Saskatchewan and BC turned to their backups in Week 7. The REDBLACKS, Tiger-Cats and Roughriders were already dealing with injuries and had Dustin Crum, Taylor Powell and Mason Fine, respectively, in the lineups already. The Lions put Dane Evans into the game when Vernon Adams Jr. went down with a knee injury in the first quarter of their battle with the Riders on Saturday night.

While only Ottawa and BC managed to get wins, the overall QB play was good; both Powell and Fine didn’t look out of place in their losses, with each young pivot going up against excellent defences, with the Ticats dropping a game to the undefeated Argos and the Riders succumbing to the 5-1 Lions, whose defence can be a buzzsaw.

As you scroll through the teams at the top of the Power Rankings heap this week, quarterback health becomes less of an issue. Chad Kelly is looking like a poised veteran more and more each week, keeping the Argos at the top spot, while the two-time reigning Most Outstanding Player, Zach Collaros, is doing what he’s done since he landed in Winnipeg at the trade deadline in 2019. He threw for a very tidy 20-24 against the Edmonton Elks in Week 7 for 308 yards, a pair of touchdowns and one interception.

Let’s get into this week’s rankings.

» Steinberg’s MMQB: Taking a spin on the QB carousel
Landry’s five takeaways from Week 7
» Watch: Spectacular catches in the Timber Mart Plays of the Week
» Sign up to watch games for free on CFL+
» Get your tickets for 2023 games now

1. Toronto Argonauts (5-0)

Last week: 1
Last game: 31-15 win over Hamilton 

Next game: Vs. Saskatchewan, Sat. July 29 in Halifax, N.S.

Worth noting: Week-by-week, the Argos continue to win and dip into their rich history. They’ve hit 5-0 to start a season for the first time since 1960 and did it with a very much in-control win over their rivals down the QEW, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. They take their show on the road this week to the Touchdown Atlantic game in Halifax; a year after they won a dramatic game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Wolfville, N.S.

2. BC Lions (5-1)

Last week: 2
Last game: 19-9 win over Saskatchewan 

Next game: At Edmonton, Sat. July 29

Worth noting: Remember those rumblings from fans and pundits on Twitter over the last few weeks that these teams suddenly in need of a starting quarterback should try to swing a deal with BC for Dane Evans? As unfortunate as Vernon Adams. Jr.’s injury was on Saturday, Lions’ co-GMs Neil McEvoy and Rick Campbell had to have had a gale-force-strength sigh of relief when they remembered they had Evans ready to step in on Saturday night. After the Lions’ win, Evans spoke of his 2019 season, where he stepped in for an injured Jeremiah Masoli. He led that team to a 15-win campaign and got them to the Grey Cup. There are no guarantees on anything, of course, but the Lions have to feel great about their QB depth right now.

3. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (5-2)

Last week: 3
Last game: 28-14 win over Edmonton
Next game: Vs. BC, Thurs. Aug 3

Worth noting: That the Bombers head into their first bye of the season at 5-2 and merely in the top-three in these rankings forces some eyebrows up; think of it instead as another reminder of the standard that they’ve created over the last three seasons. The defending West Division champs are in a good spot as they move into the middle third of the season. Kenny Lawler (seven catches, 93 yards) showed little to no signs of rust in his return. A strong team has gotten stronger.

4. Ottawa REDBLACKS (3-3)

Last week: 6
Last game: 43-41 OT win over Calgary

Next game: Vs. Hamilton, Fri. July 28

Worth noting: In the span of two firework-laced games, Dustin Crum and the REDBLACKS have become must-see viewing, something our Matt Cauz shrewdly alluded to ahead of their latest OT thriller. The REDBLACKS have found life over the last two weeks after losing Jeremiah Masoli in gutting fashion. From that low point, head coach Bob Dyce’s team has jumped up to second place in the East Division.

5. Montreal Alouettes (2-3)

Last week: 5
Last game: 35-27 loss to Toronto (Week 6)

Next game: Vs. Calgary, Sun. July 30

Worth noting: The Alouettes come out of their bye week and see an East Division that’s alive with competition, thanks to the surging Ottawa REDBLACKS, who have leapfrogged them in the standings. The Als played a strong game against the East-leading Argos two weeks back. They’ll want to build on the positives from that game and turn them into what’s now a needed win to stay in the mix in their division. Doing that against a Calgary offence that’s produced the way it has the last two weeks makes it a tough challenge.

6. Calgary Stampeders (2-4)

Last week: 4
Last game: 43-41 OT loss to Ottawa
Next game: At Montreal, Sun. July 30

Worth noting: The Stamps have now played in possibly three game-of-the-year candidates if you want to throw in their OT battle with the Riders in Week 3 and have gone 1-2 in them. While Dave Dickenson and Co. will want a better record overall, there are strong signs that his offence has turned a corner, with Jake Maier throwing for a combined 765 yards in his last two games. The number that the team needs to rectify ASAP? The Stamps are 0-3 at home this year.

7. Saskatchewan Roughriders (3-3)

Last week: 7
Last game: 19-9 loss to BC

Next game: At Toronto, Sat. July 29 in Halifax, N.S.

Worth noting: The Riders’ first steps into this season without Trevor Harris at the helm of the offence might have played out as expected. The good news is that Mason Fine looked comfortable and was competitive against a very good Lions’ defence. This week poses an interesting challenge for him. He’ll have to take the lessons presented to him from BC’s defence while getting ready for one that’s just as, if not more challenging this week, in the Toronto Argonauts. Add in some cross-country travel — the Riders go from BC Place on Saturday, all the way out to Saint Mary’s University campus for another Saturday date — for the Touchdown Atlantic game and Fine faces unique circumstances for start No. 2 this season.

8. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2-4)

Last week: 8
Last game: 31-15 loss to Toronto

Next game: At Ottawa, Fri. July 28

Worth noting: Rookie QB Taylor Powell taking on an undefeated Argos team at Tim Hortons Field certainly wasn’t how the Ticats’ brass envisioned what Week 7 of this season would look like, but that’s the nature of the game. To Powell and the Ticats’ credit, the game was closer than some might have expected, given the circumstances. Powell didn’t look out of place out there and the Ticats appear to have someone under centre that can learn and grow on the fly while Bo Levi Mitchell and Matt Shiltz heal up.

9. Edmonton Elks (0-7)

Last week: 9
Last game: 28-14 loss to Winnipeg 

Next game: Vs. BC, Sat July 29

Worth noting: The Elks hung with the Bombers in a defensive battle of a first half on Thursday. When you’re searching for win No. 1 at this point in the season, you look for building blocks and doing that in Winnipeg is certainly a positive. Playing a full, consistent 60 minutes has been the challenge for this team. They remain at a high degree of difficulty with the Lions coming to town on Thursday, catching a bye in Week 9 and then hosting the Bombers in Week 10.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ARCHIVE









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!