Steinberg's MMQB: Three breakout candidates in '22

With so much player movement since free agency opened last month, opportunities have presented themselves and new doors have opened around the league. This week we’re focusing on three players with breakout seasons staring themselves in the face as a result.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Wonderful to see two Lions mentioned but as for Rourke, as optimistic as I am about his talents, I wonder how he can excel with virtually the same O-line as last year. 2019, 2021 were not good exhibitions of blocking, mostly holding calls, esp. against #51. Even if Matthews is healthy and plays this year, how does Rourke learn to be a starter when he's tackled before he can make plays or big plays that he does make are called back because of holding calls?

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Jymn - Certainly agree with this assessment. Rourke has talent for sure, but it is considerably more difficult to make plays downfield and win games when you’re running for your life on nearly every play.

Case in point, using an example of our football friends in the NFL – the Cincinnati Bengals – really good QB Joe Burrow, but a suspect Offensive Line. Counting the regular season and playoffs, Burrow was sacked 70 times and faced pressures on nearly every play – yet still had a 70% completion percentage! Now imagine what he would have done with solid OL play in front of him.

For the good of the CFL I hope Rourke does well – the above example shows how vital it is to invest in protecting your Quarterback.

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Good comments, JB. Same concerns about Rourke. Offence personnel virtually unchanged. Betts really didn't live up to potential so a change of scenery may help. Uni stats were fantastic. Three time winner of USports D MOP, 1st with 4 major awards in uni career. Hopefully pans out in BC - 170K for a guy with 2 career sacks is a lot. That's Jeffcoat money.

I have a wait & see attitude on Oliveira. Yds/carry almost full yard behind Harris. He had 2 big games - 1st game of the season vs Hamilton who was missing Laurent, a big part of rush defence, & game vs Elks who were bad vs the rush all year. Take away those 2 games & his stats in the other games were 56 carries for 198 yds for a 3.53 yds/game avg. Remember, he's playing behind that dominant Wpg OL, same as Harris. So, now that he's "the man" is he going to carry the ball for 5 yds/carry as the good RB's in the league do? Shaq Cooper was on the top FA list when he signed with BC after 90 carries for 496 yds (5.5 yds/carry) in P/T duty in Edmonton. Then he left to be the main guy in BC. Where is he now? This year the Bombers, BC & Riders all are gambling on new RB's with not much CFL experience. Sincerely, I wish them all good luck because if they fall flat, those teams are in trouble.

Forget Brady Oliviera. Johnny Augustine is the Bomber RB that is going to have a breakout season. Brady will do a great job as his backup.


Augustine has less carries than Oliveira. Highly ranked prospect in draft year but passed up by every team in draft. Signed with Edmonton, released, went to Riders, released. Between the 2 of them, hopefully the Bombers get some production out of them.

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Let’s hope for the best!!

Totally on board with that sentiment.

BC is going with the same back we had in the second half of last season and was a great improvement as the season went on. So not a new RB as stated. FYI people this is not the same OL as we had with Coach Clay and that line won the sack against total hands down that season. People just keep going back to the Lions OL as if it’s the exact same group from 2019?

Over all great article and two out a three Lions.

To explain my statement re: "new" RB's. None of Butler, Oliveira & Morrow are "new" in the sense of 1st year players. But they haven't a lot of carries. Cooper had more carries than ANY of the 3 going into BC. How did that play out? So at the very least these clubs are going into the season with some risk at that position IMO.

I smell what you are laying down.

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And I often smell when I'm laying down (especially if there's dog poop on the lawn).

My favorite running back (even though he's in Toronto now) is still on top of the food chain salarywise:

I'm sure hoping Brady Olivera and Johnny Augustine can pick up where Andrew Harris left off. Those are some mighty big shoes to fill.

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