The Squared Root: Opinions are like….

Welcome to The Squared Root! In today’s edition, I will be tackling the recent news of the Canadian Football League(CFL). With the CFL heading into week 8 of it’s 2019 season, there were three major storylines coming out of the conclusion of week 7. The CFL has been battling numerous issues all off season and regular season ranging from a possible work stoppage/strike by players because of the collective bargaining agreement negotiations to the  Montreal Alouettes firing of their general manager. While the CFL hasn’t had a perfect solution for some of these problems, they have found a way to manage the league to continually provide high quality football to the North. With seven weeks down, the season has been filled with surprises and letdowns and it doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon. The top three biggest storylines coming out of week 7 could change the complexion of the rest of the season.

Saskatchewan Roughriders trade former starting QB Zach Collaros to the Toronto Argonauts for a draft pick. 

This trade is significant for several reasons, the biggest reason being that Toronto, winless, needed to upgrade at the quarterback position; incumbent starter McLeod Bethel-Thompson has been downright dreadful all year. Bethel-Thompson is currently completing a league low 63% of his passing attempts. In addition to scraping the bottom of the barrel with his completion percentage, he currently sports a 7 TD to 9 INT ratio. Those numbers are hardly what you want from your starting quarterback. The only QB with worse numbers than that is Nathan Peterman and he, somehow incredibly, is still employed in the National Football League. The Argonauts need a jumpstart, they’re the only winless team in the league and rank dead last in points per game – insert QB Zach Collaros here. Collaros started the season as the Roughriders starting QB, an injury early in the week 1 on a suspect hit left him sidelined for a few weeks. The Roughriders got their first glimpse at QB Cody Fajardo, out of Nevada, and honestly, they haven’t had to look back. The Roughriders received a conditional fourth round pick in the deal; the pick can be upgraded to a second round pick depending on the Collaros playing time and contract bonus details. The league has suffered from a slew of injuries to starting QBs, including Collaros, with 7 out of the starting 9 QBs having been sidelined for multiple reasons. Toronto needed to make a move and this move may have help turn a dismal start to the 2019 season around. This will all hinge on whether or not Collaros can stay healthy.

Jeremiah Masoli tears his ACL for the Hamilton TigerCats. 

The aformentioned 7 out of 9 starting QBs being injured continues here with the seventh being Jeremiah Masoli, who tore his ACL. This injury has huge repercussions attached to it. The TigerCats sit atop the Eastern Division with a 5-1 record and a two game lead over Montreal. While Masoli ranks in the middle of the field in efficiency percentage, he’s currently tied for third in the league in completion percentage. He sports a 9 TD to 7 INT ratio, while those numbers don’t exactly jump off the page, his 1576 passing yards places him in the top 3. The TigerCats have enjoyed Masoli’s scrambling ability, as well as his ability to extend plays, both talents have led to big plays which have got Hamilton out of tough spots. Masoli’s replacement, Dane Evans, who entered the game late in the first quarter, was able to secure the victory for Hamilton against the hottest team in the CFL in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Evans’ numbers weren’t exactly astronomical, he completed 13 of 25 passes for only 94 yards. He didn’t throw a TD pass and he did throw an interception. Evans will have to continue to improve on those numbers if Hamilton wants to maintain their precious lead in the Eastern Division.

The ending to the Ottawa Redblacks and Calgary Stampeders game,

The ending to this game might have been the strangest ending I have ever seen. Coaching football isn’t easy, decisions have to be made on the fly and those decision can make or break your team. In football, where every game matters, those decisions carry a huge weight. You make the right call, you’re a hero and viewed as a genius by your fanbase, but you make the wrong call? It could start spelling the beginning of the end. The CFL, already struggling with attendance and their fanbase, can’t afford too many bad decisions. While most decisions can be graded as good or bad once the hindsight is 20/20, some decisions can be graded as such BEFORE you make the decision. Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell was faced with one of those decisions Thursday night and it failed, miserably. With Ottawa leading by 4, the Stampeders looked like they were about to score the go ahead touchdown when the Redblacks’ defense forced a fumble on their 2 yard line. After that Ottawa ran two straight run plays, being conservative, the clock ticking below two minutes to play. The third down play, the play that came back to haunt Campbell and Ottawa, was to concede a safety instead of punting the ball. The problem you might be asking? Ottawa was only up 4 points! The safety made it a two point game. Campbell outsmarted himself, the safety made it 16-14 and the ensuing punt was met with a huge return by Calgary. A few plays later and Calgary K Paredes, who hit 4 field goals earlier in the game, made the game winning field goal with double zero on the clock.

In the history of decisions, poor decision like taking a safety has to be amongst the worst. The Redblacks had lost three straight heading into that game with Calgary, a loss was not something they could afford to do after starting the season 2-0. Backup QB Jonathan Jennings wasn’t very effective for the second straight week as Calgary’s defense continued to dominate the turnover game. The Redblacks defense is legit and appears to be the only thing keeping them in games right now but you can’t fault the defense in this situation. No way, ever, should you put another option to win a game on the table for your opponent. Head coach Rick Campbell has gone record since the game and stated that he should have punted. Yes, Rick, you should have, you should have forced Calgary, who hadn’t, and didn’t, score a touchdown all game, to score a touchdown. Instead, you gave them the option to kick another field goal, this one, the fifth one, was a dagger to your team.

But you know the saying, opinions are like….well, you know how that goes.

-Michael Washington-Weeks

FB: Michael Washington

Twitter: @mwsquaredafntlk