May 17, 2024

Brandon’s Preseason Futures: A pivot to go over 5,000?

Steven Chang/

Ah, the sound of newcomers popping pads in practice marks the opening page for each of the nine CFL teams entering the 2024 regular season.

With the clock ticking toward the Grey Cup rematch between the Montreal Alouettes and Winnipeg Blue Bombers on June 6, the inner Magic 8 Ball within us craves projecting how the upcoming campaign will go. Like you, we’re also excited to project how the story of this season plays out. That being said, let’s do CFL Preseason Futures questions. We’re sure you’ll hold us to the following come November.

We’re starting with six stat-related questions before returning with the final standings and post-season oriented questions next week.

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1) Who will lead the league in interceptions (Demerio Houston, Marc-Antoine Dequoy, Stavros Katsantonis, Brandin Dandridge, Other)?

Tempting as it is to say someone else, besides the quartet of ballhawks mentioned here, the hunch is that Dandridge further establishes himself as a turnover machine waiting to go to work. Dandridge had five interceptions in 2023 yet played in only 13 games. A full season of patrolling the REDBLACKS secondary will allow him more opportunities to cause havoc to opposing passers.

2) Will a QB throw for more than 5,000 yards this season?

Yes. Look for BC’s Vernon Adams Jr. to become the first passer since future HOFer Michael Reilly crossed the 5,000-yard mark in 2018. Adams passed for 4,769 yards last season but did miss two games, which would have easily allowed him to go CFL 5K. Having the likes of Keon Hatcher, Alexander Hollins and potential breakout star Ayden Eberhardt puts Adams Jr. in excellent position to do so.

3) Who will lead the league in receiving touchdowns during the regular season (Tim White, Alexander Hollins, Dalton Schoen, Eugene Lewis, Other)?

In his first two seasons, Schoen has averaged a touchdown every 5.42 times he pulled in a pass, resulting in 26 of his 141 receptions finding their way into the end zone. If there’s a receiver capable of becoming the first player to record 20 receiving majors in a season since Milt Stegall’s record-setting 23-touchdown campaign in 2002, that is Schoen.

4) Which team will have the most sacks this season (BC, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Montreal, Ottawa, Saskatchewan, Toronto, Winnipeg)?

Where Jake Ceresna goes, the sacks will follow. Toronto signed the former Edmonton pivot punisher who comes into the season seeking a third straight year of double-digit QB takedowns. The Argos led the CFL with 56 sacks in 2023, and the addition of Ceresna to go along with Folarin Orimolade, Shawn Oakman and Wynton McManis helps make the Argos a solid bet to do so again.

5) Will Winnipeg’s Brady Oliveira rush for over or under 1,300 yards this season?

Over. No running back has gashed defences for consecutive 1,300-yard seasons since former Stamps icon Jon Cornish accomplished the feat in 2012 and 2013. Even with the bushel of options on the Bombers offence, there’s no reason to think Oliveira can’t eclipse the 1,300-yard barrier this season.

6)How many kick/punt return touchdowns will be scored during the regular season? Over 10.5 or under 10.5

Let’s take the over here. There were 11 punt returns for majors last season, yet, surprisingly, not a single kickoff return went the distance. With the likes of Edmonton’s Javon Leake and Saskatchewan’s Mario Alford lined up deep, count on at least one kickoff return resulting in a celebration of six this season.

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