Schultz: Plenty of surprises across the CFL in Week 5

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Chris Schultz
7/28/2014 9:02:51 AM
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The first game of Week 5 saw two unbeaten teams in Calgary at Edmonton and how the Stampeders won I have no idea.

Edmonton dominated and Calgary survived. Yes, that is an ability and skill set. Consider this: At the end of the first quarter Calgary had zero first downs, three yards rushing and 17 yards passing.

They were without their best player in Jon Cornish, lost their next best player in that position of running back in Matt Walter to injury and then had to take their best special teams player, Jock Sanders, and move him to running back full time.

Overcoming adversity is an absolute key to winning football games and that is what Calgary did and why they won.

With Edmonton the internal conclusion will be "they did not beat us, we beat ourselves."

And although it is a truthful statement, you have to be careful not to use that as a repeated rationalization. With the bye week upcoming the Eskimos will regroup, but come Aug. 8, Edmonton at Montreal, you will not see a special team's performance like the one we previously saw.

Chris Jones will be criticized for his fake punt reverse that ended up in Stampeder points, but we're all products of previous associations. That play has a Don Matthews' feel to it remembering that Chris Jones was on Matthews' staff in a significant way from 2002 to 2006.

Players respect risk-reward taking coaches.

Friday night I was surprised, and I will admit, major surprised. Drew Willy looked great. The Bomber offensive line looked great. The intensity of the defence was great. I think it was the greatest win for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers since the November East final at home to get into the 2011 Grey Cup.

The change was remarkable. First they came off a previous loss to Edmonton at home 26- 3. In that game the first seven possessions were two and out for Winnipeg on offence. Then no Jason Vega, no Johnny Sears due to injury. Also playing a Lions team that was 21-3 at renovated BC place.

I really thought Winnipeg was regressing but this changed my mind. They were outstanding in being ready to play their best throughout.

BC? Up and down and up and down. I have no idea what type of team will show up this week in Calgary.

For what now seems like forever a pro football team in Hamilton has had to play in a University atmosphere. Initially I was despondent. Tired of the transient Ticats finding what they can to play. But as the game moved on, and because the cameras were so close and the angles so different it gave you a different perspective on pro football.

Sometimes you don't realize as fans how hard player's hit other players. A McMaster you realize now.

There were countless collisions of intensity in the game and through my TV screen I could sense the brutal aspect of football. Next week the Ticats host the Bombers and if you want to see football close up go to the game, you should be watching. It gives you a new sense of appreciation and respect.

Is Dan Lefevour for real? I say yes.

The question now is do you "let him go" being a running back in quick moment and a quarterback the next? Or do you try to perfect pure quarterback skill and limit the runs?

The risk-reward injury possibility is the issue. I say let him go. His combination of abilities is what is so hard to defend. The game did not overwhelm him, let him go and pray for health.

Excellent performance when you consider three offensive linemen were rookies and one, Jake Olson, started his first game. Dan Lefevour has some aspects of football you just can't coach and others you can improve on. Bottom line, he played really well.

It is Saturday night, late in the East, Toronto at Saskatchewan and this one I was confident in.

The Riders, coming off the bye, a big-time previous loss in Toronto and an Argonaut team without their best perimeter players. Add all of it up it was as easy a win as the Riders will ever experience.

Next Saturday in Ottawa it will not flow so smoothly. How about Will Ford at running back? He runs with a low level of power that is all his own.

Brendan Taman is the most unassuming executives in the history of football. But his talent search should be complimented over recent history.

The secret weapon for the Riders? George Cortez running the offence.

It gives Cory Chamblin freedom to focus on the other two-thirds knowing the other third is well taken care of. Finally, I still think one nine-team league from top to bottom is better than East and West.

The West is so much better than the East right now it is upsetting. One nine-team league and this reality would not even be noticed.



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