Ok guys. Some of you are real good at making Power Rankings so I wont play in your backyard. Instead, I will do just the opposite and create the ranking of the teams who failed the most in 2005. Here is the first Failure Ranking.
Feel free to comment my analysis.
#1 - Hamilton.
Following the disastrous 2003 season, the Ticats changed nothing but their headcoach in 2004 and went to win 9 games. So they falsely thought they had the players they needed and kept them for one more year. Obviously, 2004 was a fluke, mostly due to the fact players were really afraid to go on with another 1-17 season. Theyd rather die on the field than lose this much again. That fear being gone in 2005, they played without pushing it to the max and exposed their true potential.
The highlights of the Ticats in the last offseason were the signing of receiver Chris Brazzel, the acquisition of guard Dan Comiskey, and the unveiling of a new jersey. Good for them, they kept the jersey. It wasnt easy to determine who would be ranked first in this ranking, but the Cats sure got themselves an edge when, realizing they did not have what it takes to win, they traded off their only good players to Edmonton in return for doormats and birthday wishes.
#2 - Winnipeg.
What is worse than having a stubborn coach, is having a clueless stubborn coach. Jim Daley was so afraid to shuffle his four young QBs too much that, when Glenn went down, he ended up not using at all the only QB with CFL experience. And then, he sticked with Tee Martin through thick and thin Uh well let me rephrase that. He sticked to Tee Martin through thin and very thin.
When the defense was about the only thing going for Winnipeg, Daley was able to plss off defensive coordinator Rod Rust enough so that he would leave. Defense started losing some of its feather. And, in an attempt to fix that, general manager Taman traded the hardest hitting DB of the CFL, Wes Lysack, to Calgary, in return for ever-injured Anthony Malbrough.
Daley and Taman knew there was potential in the team when they beat top seeded formations, including a bltch-slapping session with the then threatening Lions, but they were unable to identify the success factors, and their constant guessing left the team in improvising mode.
#3 - Edmonton.
Yes, Edmonton deserves to be ranked above some crappier teams. They started the season with THREE starting quarterbacks. With just the money they spent on QBs, Ottawa could have rebuilt its whole offensive unit.
And what about the complete roster Look at this : Ricky Ray, Jason Maas, Jason Tucker, Derrell Mitchell, Ed Hervey, Trevor Gaylor, Joe Montford, Rashad Jeanty, AJ Gass, Singor Mobley, Kelly Wiltshire, Davis Sanchez, Malcolm Frank, Donnie Brady, etc.
As if it wasnt enough, they even added Kwame Cavil (1000+ yards receiver), Troy Davis (2004s leading rusher) and Dan Comiskey (arguably one of the best guards in the league, and a non-import) in return for roster-fillers (Clinton Wayne, Tay Cody and Brock Ralph).
Im sorry, but when you do not only miss first rank with such line-up, but also fail to lock a home playoff game, you deserve to be called a failure.
#4 - BC.
Okay. They topped their division, but they built their lead while every other team was testing their new acquisitions and having their roster to gel. People were unanimous in saying BC had no other weaknesses than a sub-par offensive line (and, at times, the kicking game).
After winning 11 in a row, they needed only two wins to secure first place. Going 1-6, they failed big time at the worst possible time of the season (second half of season) and left their rivals decide of their playoff fate.
Also, having two MVPs QBs wont help much if you cant protect them. As I said before, the Lions QBs were rammed down more often than veteran prostitutes this season. How can they bring you to promised land when theyre constatntly being stucked under 200 pounds of meat?
The top-threat that was BC in the first half of the season now seems more than beatable. The Lions dont seem to remember why they were winning this much at the beggining of the summer, and they have only one week to figure it out. As it is now, its not even as scary as before to play in BC Place. Im sure the Stamps and Esks players are thinking the only thing that really stand in their way of going to the Grey Cup is their semifinal opponent. When people who formerly called you invincible doesnt even fear you anymore, you screwed big time.
#5 - Ottawa.
One could argue they should rank above in the standings, but heres my reasoning for giving them a lower rank.
After three years of being a low-seeded expansion team, Ottawa had to have a good offseason to add more meat to the bone. But during the off season, the team was looking for owners, was looking for a place to play, was looking for a business plan and nothing was even done to sell season tickets. So the hiring of players was something almost impossible to do without some kind of fundings. Paopao was handcuffed by circumstances. He could not make any interesting offer to free agents without showing them he had an owner with some dought to pay them. Not only couldnt he get more players, the Rens were pillaged by other teams looking for back-ups.
Then, as the season started, Paopao did an amazing job with a squad everyone expected to finish in the bottom two. And that happened in spite of having a director of recruting not helping bring in talent so he could be the next head coach. After a while, the Renegades were out of miracles, but theres so much hard work can do. To win, you need more talent, and certainly more experience.
The organization failed as a whole, but at least, there is still an organization. The next off season might be as brutal as the past one, but as for now, the Rens set up for fifth place in this ranking.
#6 - Montreal.
I was tempted to rank Montreal in 5th, but theres a limit to my mercy on the Renegades. Montreal screwed big time twice. First, it was during the off season. The Als were pillaged of about 12 good elements. Of course, you must expect rivals to be interested in your players after you had a 14-4 record. I dont blame other teams for snatching some of our best guys, and I dont blame the Als for not matching the crazy offers guys like Jeremaine Copeland and Davis Sanchez got. But it seems like Jim Popp did not see the hemorragy coming, and failed to identify appropriate replacements. Starting the year with the wrong elements made it harder than expected.
Don Matthews stubborness was also key in the Als screwing up a lot of opportunities. The guy should learn to recognize when hes wrong. He would then be able to correct his mistakes faster. He benched Megna, Curry, Brown, Johnson, and at times, Stewart. He relased Megna. He started crapmasters like Tabugbo Anyansi, Mark Word, Mawuko Tugbenyoh, Darrel Crutchfield, Jeremia Garrison, Omari Hand and I dont know who Steen. People could argue you have to play new players to know what theyre worth. But there is a time for testing and a time to make a unit whole. They were still Â« testing Â» players in the last week of regular season. No wonders the defense is struggling so much. They could never gel as a unit, and everyone plays with the fear of being the next guy benched or cut.
The only good decision as of lately was to cut penalty-master Mark Word, but it was negated when Word was re-hired and put on the starting lineup again.
All that crap with the defense also demoralized the well-working offence. Twice, the Als scored over 500 offensive yards and over 40 points and still lost. They also lost many games in which they scored 30+ points. You are supposed to win these. The offense must at times been wondering why it should keep on working this hard when the other unit isnt pulling its part of the weight.
#7 - Saskatchewan.
During the offseason, they lost the money-battles they were involved in. Still, they managed to field a good team. Although none of their starting QBs is stellar, both proved themselves to be capable. The Riders season was marked by the weirdness of their win-loss sequences. They either won alot or lost a lot. Their first losing sequence, though, was in part the result of injuries. I know this shouldnt count as an excuse, but losing 8 key starters at once sure has an impact on a teams performance.
We, however, have to note how the Riders were able to lose often all by themselves. They won the 2005 Greasy Pig Award for most giveaways by a team. The bad thing with turnovers is they are mostly your fault. The Riders failed in protecting the ball, and that is usually something fatal during the playoffs. They must fix it now or die.
Also, I could not NOT mention how they failed capturing a playoff spot in their own division. However, with three teams with 11 or 12 victories, that wasnt an easy task. The important thing now is theyre still alive.
#8 - Calgary.
It was about as tough to rank the 1st and 2nd team as it was ranking the 8th and 9th. Calgary sure hasnt failed much this year. The highlight of 2005 for them is they finally got committed owners. With that in hand, they were able to turn a CFL-worse team into a home-playoffs contender.
With time, they were able to silence all those who believed Burris and Copeland were too costly additions. I doubt the Stamps would be 11-7 without them.
Whats even better is the Stamps were able to stay afloat with their back-up QBs when Burris was injured. Wimprine and Gesser are no Doug Flutie, but they sure are worth being developed. The Stamps also peaked at the right moment (just prior to the playoffs) and are the only team entering the postseason on a strong note.
#9 - Toronto.
Being the reigning champion is not easy. First of all, when the season ends, every team usually tries to get your best free agents. And boy, were there many free agents in Toronto last winter. Quite shockingly, the Argos re-signed ALL of them but one (Sandy Annunziata, who Im not even sure they wanted to keep anyways).
Then, everyone usually cranks it up a notch when facing the reigning champions, because beating them makes for a strong statement. The Argos managed nonetheless to sail to a first seed finish.
Also, after winning the Cup, you may tend to let go, because you know.. youre the champ. Ego gets in the way of thinking clear. Well, not only did the Argos defense and special units stayed as good as they were the previous year, the offense (2004s weakness) became very good too. The aging Allen is even playing the best football of his career and could get the MOP award at an age guys arent supposed to be playing anymore.
People may be calling Pinball a glorified cheerleader, but he sure is one cheerleader Id like to have on my side.