CFL Power Rankings: Riders hold down top spot

Kory Sheets has chewed up yards on the ground to lead Saskatchewan to a perect 3-0 record. (CP/Liam Richards)
July 15, 2013, 10:41 AM

Is it my opinion or have the second and third weeks of the Canadian Football League season wrung up an inordinate amount of sacks?

It’s funny because Week 1 produced some incredible offensive numbers that suggested the 2013 CFL

season would put the defences to shame — at least until they caught up to the offences. Usually it’s the other way around at the start.

But the reason there have been so many sacks is because teams that don’t employ a consistent ground game and/or have a quarterback who doesn’t have mobility have become decimated by defences.

It’s really not that complicated. If you can’t develop a ground game and rely too much on the passing, it will only work if the quarterback has time to make his reads and his receivers catch the ball. There have been too many glaring examples of quarterbacks victimized by offensive line breakdowns or receivers dropping catchable balls.

Then again, whatever happens the rest of the season, the amazing catch by Calgary’s Brad Sinopoli will surely go down as one of the best of the year. Not bad at all for a converted quarterback. Now, if only he could high-hurdle over an opponent like Nik Lewis, whose touchdown catch off a deflected ball also deserves merit for outstanding catch of the year.

And, two finals thoughts: Does it only rain when the Edmonton Eskimos play? Will an East Division team beat a West Division team this year?

1. Saskatchewan (3-0): With running back Kory Sheets chewing up yards on the ground, the Riders are playing smash-mouth football and winning. Only concern is with the physical status of quarterback Darian Durant, who was sidelined in the most recent victory with an ankle injury but says he is okay.

2. Calgary (2-1): Kevin Glenn proved again why he is the best backup QB in the CFL. He easily handled the offence with Drew Tate nursing an elbow injury. Running back Jon Cornish was given more touches and did his job. The defence did its job, led by rush end Charleston Hughes.

3. B.C. (2-1): Quarterback Travis Lulay put together one of his best overall games in some time, in particular running the ball. Overall, the team had more than 200 rushing yards. That’s what you do in inclement weather.

4. Edmonton (1-2): They’ve had to endure terrible weather in two consecutive weeks. But they need to win at home and cut down on the penalties. They also need receiver Fred Stamps healthy and in the lineup.

5. Winnipeg (1-2): The Bombers came up short in their second consecutive road game after upsetting Montreal last week. I’ll never understand the play calling of offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton. He has a good running back, but prefers the vertical passing game. But his package for the backup quarterback is quite effective.

6. Toronto (1-2): Argos need help on both the offensive and defensive lines. Both are getting physically manhandled. The interception for a touchdown that was called back wasn’t the sole reason the Argos were shut down by Saskatchewan.

7. Hamilton (1-2): Quarterback Henry Burris decided to use his legs to make plays to save from getting repeatedly put on his backside. The kicking game and return game need vast improvement. At least the Cats finally won. They celebrated eating and drinking Tim Hortons products.

8. Montreal (1-2): Only three games into the season and already rookie head coach Dan Hawkins is under fire. Unless he figures out a way to provide pass protection for quarterback Anthony Calvillo, he might not last long. Just give the ball to running back Brandon Whitaker, who looks good carrying the ball, even taking the snaps.

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