Thankfully, the first trimester of the season is over. Time for a report card.
Overall, I’m giving the team a D-minus, with Edmonton earning an F, and Toronto earning an A-plus.
Head Coaching/Management - F.
Talent evaluation and aquisition - D.
Roster construction - D.
QBs - BLM - D-minus; Shiltz - C; Powell - C (small sample size, but he played better than I expected).
O-Line - D-minus, which reflects on QB play. Injuries are a factor, but neither Fontana nor Saxelid have impressed me since thier aquisition. Figs getting injured doesn’t help, and CVZ seems to have the fragility of a Ming vase. The fact that there are VERY few capable backups in the system reflects the GM/Prez more than anything.
RB - B-plus; with the caveat that it is quickly abandoned due to the Defence giving up huge amounts of points in the first halvs of the games. Butler is a beast, but with virtually no backups (at least, those not on the 6-game) is cause for worry. FG-G gets his 1-2 targets/touches per game and is generally reliable. Their blocking seems “okay” to me, but that’s about it.
WRs - D-minus. This also reflects the O-line and QB, but players gotta get open, and players gotta block. I have lost count of how many times players like Ternowski and Smith totally wiff on blocks has led to at least one verbal/physical confrontation on the field. I like what I see out of Duke, but he can’t be the only guy. Timmeh has been fairly invisible, and the rookies are starting to make names or themselves. Sindani is so-so.
D-line - D. Teddy is still a presence, but without Wynne the interior line is porous. The DEs don’t scare anyone either, and if you believe what’s reported, J.Davis was benched for “performance issues”, while being witnessed not practicing with an ice pack on his knee all week. Since we will never know anything close to the real story (attitude, malingering, being made an example, etc) it’s another example that all’s not right in the clubhouse.
LBs - I honestly cannot evaluate them. Thurman looks capable, but not earth-shaking, Simoni looks old and tired, Edwards is probably the best of them all.
DBs - F. Aside from the effort of Adeleke (when uninjured) and Katsantonis, their coverage and playmaking ability is poor. Starting two raw CFL Rookies at CB is an experiment that should simply stop. This is most likely a combination of their inadequicies, Defensive playcalling/schemes, lack of pressure on opposing QBs, and the seeming inability of any of them to tackle. It’s almost as if they’re in a “prevent defence” mode all game. Other teams figured out how to attack Washington’s defence since the 2019 Grey Cup.
Kicking - A. Aside from missing a couple of PATs, leigghio has been a pleasant surprise with his FG accuracy. The Illegal Kickoffs should never happen, but we dodged a bullet ofer the mishandling of the Seth Small Case. Kickoff distance is an issue, as he’s about 15-yards shorter than he should be.
Punting - B. Flint has been average, I guess. yesterday was a perfectly-executed on-side punt - something he would be VERY familiar with when it comes to Rugby and Australian Rules Football. He seems to have good placement, but I really don’t have much to complain about with a CFL (and football) Rookie.
Cover teams - C. Too many yards conceded, too many penalties taken.
Return teams - C. See above. Too many good returns eliminated by boneheaded penalties. Blocking seems to be an issue, but that may be due to them bringing pressure on the punter rather than setting-up for a return.
Returners - B-minus. With the relatively poor blocking, it is somewhat difficult to evaluate. They have flashes of brilliance, but not really enough to go on.
None of the Co-ordinators are earning any praise, except for the few good ST plays. I don’t know how many times Condell had to re-write the playbook over the years due to the QB merry-go-round, but it’s looking as if the “base offence” is getting a little stale. Of course, having pylons like BLM and Powell under Centre takes away from some more dynamic plays, but there seems to be a disconnect between plan and execution. Everything starts at the O-line, and when All Stars like Beard and Revenberg are getting man-handled there is a clear issue.
There have also been an inordinate number of late, illegal, Misconduct, Roughing, etc penalties so far this year. A GOOD coach would have corrected that after the first game, but Orlondo seems incapable of doing that. He also is incapable of blaming himself for anything. He blames execution and the players in almost every interview I have seen, and never takes the blame or admits that HE has to do better in halftime or end-game interviews.