Realty One

Friday, May 17, 2019


By: Rick Zamprien
Global News Radio CHML Hamilton

Canadian Football League training camps kick off this weekend, officially starting the countdown to the 107th Grey Cup on November 24 in Calgary.

Over the next four weeks, players will be competing for jobs and starting positions, coaches and player personnel staff will determine what their teams will look like, and fans, well, they’re just jacked that football is back.

Any prognostications as to how each of the league’s nine teams will fare this season are, as of right now, based on what we see on paper.

But that won’t stop me from unleashing the season’s first CFL power rankings.

1. Calgary Stampeders. The defending champions are not only No. 1 by default, they still are going to be a tough out in 2019. There are a lot of changes on defence but with QB Bo Levi Mitchell — a two-time Grey Cup champion and last year’s Most Outstanding Player — still chucking the ball, the Stamps remain the CFL’s top seed.

2. Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Head coach Mike O’Shea may employ the most balanced roster in the league, but at the end of the day the Bombers will need quarterback Matt Nichols to make the jump into elite level status to challenge for a championship.

3. Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Orlondo Steinauer is the new head coach in Steeltown and he inherits a talented team that may have the clearest path to a division title with Ottawa undergoing a facelift and Toronto and Montreal in full rebuild mode.

4. B.C. Lions. The addition of star quarterback Mike Reilly and receiver Duron Carter will greatly improve B.C. offensive fortunes. Now new head coach DeVone Claybrooks has to push all the right buttons.

5. Edmonton Eskimos. In what amounted to a nearly complete makeover, the Eskimos added QB Trevor Harris, receiver Greg Ellingson and linebacker Larry Dean this off-season. But we’ve seen many times in the past that making a lot of changes doesn’t guarantee success.

6. Saskatchewan Roughriders. Speaking of changes, the Riders have a tonne of talent, but with uber boss Chris Jones long gone, the responsibility of guiding Saskatchewan falls on rookie head coach Craig Dickenson. A healthy Zach Collaros would greatly improve the Roughriders’ chances in 2019.

7. Ottawa Redblacks. The Redblacks are seventh on the list primarily due to their trip to last year’s Grey Cup. Ottawa, along with Toronto and Montreal, have a gargantuan question mark at the most important position on the field, quarterback.

8. Toronto Argonauts. Ricky Ray retired just weeks ago, leaving the starting QB duties to James Franklin. If he doesn’t start to live up to hype that followed him from Edmonton, it’s going to be a long season in the big smoke.

9. Montreal Alouettes. Not only is the team’s ownership status in flux, the on-field product leaves a lot to be desired. It has been a revolving door at quarterback since Hall of Famer Anthony Calvillo retired after the 2013 season, but at least the Alouettes don’t have to deal with the Johnny Manziel circus this season.


3RD and 1 said...

Only a fricken Hamilton writer can use coaching changes as a positive in Hamilton and a negative in other places like SK.
Just a FYI Rick Zamprian. New Head Coach Orlando has already shown he is no longer interested in 5’7” receivers to run a American University style of run and shoot offence. Hamilton has a new HC a new DC and a new OC. Yet he states the Riders having only changed HC is going to have more to work through.
I doubt it!!’

Anonymous said...

Clear indication of how the quality of the starting quarterback determined where teams fall in the power rankings and why the higher pay for a good QB is warranted. Any long-term injury to any of the team's starting QB means a drop down in ranking as the season goes along.

Anonymous said...

6th in a 9 team league where everyone makes the playoffs. And Rider fan will lose his mind over this. NOBODY cares except the rider fans. All 50,000 of you, with 6 teeth

Anonymous said...

I don't know, thinking Alouettes should be pencilled in at position 6. Experienced Gm Kavis Reed (hes ahead of the game) has the upper hand on his rookie counterpart in Sk. Also, Coach Chamblin in Toronto should surprise and overtake some in the standings with his assembled squad as should Ottawa with their strong management team at the ready.


Anonymous said...

Right on the changes. Yet BC has made over 40 roster changes since last off season but yet deemed an improvement, you know with the great qb that didn't make the playoffs last year.

She loves football too! said...

Anon #2 if the above paragraphs are of someone losing their mind then you obviously have a serious reading disorder.
Too anyone that can read and understand what a comma is. It’s called discussing and pointing out weaknesses in a person article.
Your ignorance to not know that 33.3% of the teams do not make the playoffs. Shows your ineptitude to really know what’s going on in the world.
Anyone that screams as loud as you do with a lack of respect always has the weakest cause.
Only someone with a super small Willy has this type of need. To name call and tell the world how much you hate the unfairness.

Anonymous said...

Bear Woods would be great addition to the Riders, rather him than the overpriced Micah Johnson.

GardenGnome said...

3rd & 1 you make a good point about the coaching changes. But there is a lot of inconsistency in this. Pt #5 "...we've seen many times in the past that making a lot of changes doesn't guarantee success." DUH. In the free agency period Calgary lost 18 players to free agency & signed 2 - Courtney Stephen, a good signing to replace Adeleke, & McLennan, depth at best. Daniel Austin in the Calgary Herald in conversations with Dave Dickenson reported that 11 of the 24 starters on offence & defence in the Grey Cup gane are gone. There will be 7 changes on defence. On the CFL pre-season depth charts Rose replaces Michah Johnson - you have every right to ask Who???? Alex Singleton's spot has Corey Greenwood penciled in who has, due to injury, started 28 games in the his 4 years (72 games) &, oh yes, is 34 next month. Thurman's likely replacement is Wynton McManis, Ja'Gared Davis makes way for Folarin Orimolade & on & on. On offence their best receiver Jorden won't be ready till Sept according to the report & Dickenson is concerned about Rogers' knee. So if "change doesn't guarantee success", how is a team with half their starters rated #1? They had ONE more win than the Riders who are essentially the same team as last year with a few good additions. As for the Eskimos the pieces they added were mostly guys from the CFL's top free agent list & 1/4 of their new starters were All-Stars last year. In 2015 Edmonton went through the same thing with 5 starters on defence leaving, not 7, & went from 1st to 4th. l suspect the Stamps may do the same. Calgary has got to fill a lot of holes & because they paid a small fortune for Mitchell (can't blame them for that), they are in CAP hell & have to plug holes created by the Johnsons & SIngletons of the world with a lot of young cheaper talent. Fine to talk about "change not guaranteeing success" but that's more likely with the Calgary situation than the Edmonton one. But then I'm not an expert. The rankings say Calgary is great because change doesn't matter, Winnipeg is great because they didn't change much as is Hamilton. That leaves us with BC who is pretty good because they got Reilly & change doesn't matter despite losing 22 to free agency, Edmonton is not good because change matters & Saskatchewan is bad because they made few changes. Okay - I got it.

3RD and 1 said...

Garden Guy I get it.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion in Sports. However when an opinion is really lacking or has glaring issues. That’s usually when I like to point things out.
I honestly think it’s going to take Hamilton some time to become competitive this season. June Jones brought in his College style offence. That offence was based completely on speed. That’s why Speedy B and Jalen Saunders, both at 5’7” and about 160lbs did so well. They are fast, small and shifty.
One of the reasons Speedy B didn’t do that well under Kent Austin and Timmy Condell’s offence pre mid season 2017. Once June Jones took over and changed the offence completely. Speedy B became the #1 go to receiver. Instant success in Junes offence but not the style of offence that’s going to win a championship. When Jalen Saunders showed up. He too was an instant success. That speedy small stature. In the last 9 games of last season. Jalen racked up a hair under 1000. Very impressive.
The only thing is that teams in the CFL studied this offence on film and soon figured out ways to stop June Jones College offence. That’s why Ottawa had no problem stomping Hamilton in the East final. Sure the BC Lions had travelled to Hamilton the previous week and didn’t even show up. That game was a show me game to the Hamilton fans. As the TigerCats has lost the previous 3 home games.
The long and short of it is this.... June Jones and his speedy College style offence are long gone. Back is Tommy Condell and his offence was successful for receivers that ran certain routes, looked for the open spot in second downs. It was far more strategic than just relying on speed.
Jalen Saunders has been released. One Speedy B is enough. Plus Jalen is hurt.
So Hamilton players will be dealing with a new head coach, a new Offensive Coordinator and a new Defensive Coordinator. I just can’t see them being 3rd or 4th in the power rankings. In all honesty I would put them at 6.
Our good friend and blog coordinator Rod P has given Hamilton a high power ranking and Winnipeg a low power rating.
I believe Winnipeg should be # 2 right now