Publish Date: 06/15/2016
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis
The battle for the Grey Cup looks to be completely wide open as we enter the 2016 CFL season. Multiple head coaching changes makes this season very hard to gauge, but also very interesting at the same time.
1). Ottawa RedBlacks- A huge surprise last year making it to the Grey Cup, came up short in a great final game. Can Henry Burris continue to play at a high level as he passes being 40 years old? Burris definitely has the weapons in receivers Ernest Jackson, Greg Ellingson, Chris Williams, and Most Outstanding Canadian recipient Brad Sinopoli. Burris could be challenged at QB by former Argonaut Trevor Harris. The defense has a strong defensive line and excellent secondary, and they have all the markings of a championship team.
2). Edmonton Eskimos- Grey Cup winners from last year, biggest question mark will be at the head coaching spot as they lose Chris Jones to the Rough Riders. The Eskimos are going with Jason Maas as a rookie head coach, after just one year as an offensive coordinator. The Eskimos biggest problem is Jones didn’t leave alone; he took the entire coaching staff to Saskatchewan (except one – who also left the Eskimos) and a handful of Edmonton’s best players in free agency.
3). Calgary Stampeders- In Calgary you have Dave Dickenson as a rookie head coach, taking over for John Hufnagel. The biggest question mark is there receiving core…lost a couple to the NFL…if Messam goes down their run game will suffer given cornish retired and Walters signed with SK. Overall I think the win total for the Stamps will drop off by 2-3 games from last year.
4). Toronto Argonauts- Season was kind of a mess last year as they shared a home with the Toronto Blue Jays and it wrecked havoc with their schedule. Losing QB Ricky Ray didn’t help matters, but backup Trevor Harris stepped in and did a commendable job. Ray will be back and Harris has left for Ottawa. Overall, much of the team that went 10-8 last year is the same, and with a new permanent home in BMO Field, which they share on equal tenancy with MLS’ Toronto FC, the Argos have a chance to get things back on track.
5). Hamilton Ti-Cats- Losing QB Zach Collaros to an ACL injury last year effectively ended their season. If they can keep things together the first part of this season until Collaros returns they have a good shot at winning or at least getting to another Grey Cup.
6). Saskatchewan Roughriders- Don’t be surprised if they go worst to first this year with new head coach Chris Jones. Question here is how long will it take a completely rebuilt team to come together as a team. Having Darian Durant at QB of course helps big time.
7). Winnipeg Blue Bombers- New coach Paul LaPolice has a tremendous resume, including taking the Bombers to the Grey Cup as their head coach in only his second year on the job in 2011. The Blue Bombers have spent a lot of money in the offseason, so this maybe a boom or bust season for Winnipeg.
8). B.C. Lions- The BC Lions have brought back to the sideline the man who sits number one on the CFL list of coaching wins, who in his last game as a coach hoisted the Grey Cup.To doubt their ability to move up the diviaion standing could be short sighted. Their defence is good but will be worn out by the end of the year . No RB or if you look at it realistically no QB either. Lulay is just not the QB he was 2 years ago . Not even close
9). Montreal Alouettes- The Als made a splash in free agency by signing newly-graduated Oregon QB Vernon Adams to a big deal, though the competition will be pretty tight for the starter’s job, with Clemson QB (and NYJ pick) Tajh Boyd and longtime CFL vet Kevin Glenn also in the mix. It gets messier still with the presence of other QBs Brandon Bridge, Rakeem Cato, and Jonathan Crompton, all of whom received regular-season playing time as well. All I forgot the head coach is Jim Popp as he will perform double duties, and I believe he will fail at both jobs.