One way or the other most of our CFL-related conversations relate to depth. And its not just depth of personnel. Its depth of management, depth of coaching and depth of organizational awareness. Fan depth kinda important, too!
Since I could digress til forever PLUS a day I'll limit my comments today to player depth.
It begins and ends with Winnipeg. For nearly 30 years the Bombers fielded 10 man football. On the field they usually had hobos & mopes (aka inadequate players) inserted at least 2 positions on offense, 2 on defense and some randoms on special teams.
Over the last six years Mr. Kyle Walters (GM), his scouts and his signing team have skewered the gap. On offense the last couple years the bombers showed no weaknesses on offense and even less on defense. Special teams was another matter, I'll get to that shortly. Bombers o-line was easily the best in the CFL. And the funny thing? Its not invincible. Lots of teams sacked Zorro Collaros like he's never been sacked before. Also stuffed bomber runners for zero yds or losses. Trouble was they couldn't do it consistently. The Bombers were relentless advancing on opponents regardless of how many times they got stuff.
On D, Bombers were simply the best. They stuffed teams and did it while inserting about 17 to 21 players thru their lineup. Giving rest to their warriors up front (D-line) but also doing same to a lesser extent at linebacker & d-backfield. It was a stunning formula for success.
Obviously some luck involved as the Bombers had 3 quarterbacks but only 1 (Zorro) who could maneuvre thru a CFL game. Without Collaros Bombers might have been, even with all their stated depth a .500 team. Might have been! More like a .250 to .300 team with the rubs they had behind Collaros.
Bombers retained the Grey Cup for the 3rd straight year without a field goal kicker for the first 3/4 of the season. Thats a huge accomplishment! Or was it luck? I'll let you decide. They couldn't keep upping Justin Medlock into the $200 to $240k/season range so he retired. Bombers had hobo-kickers til about game 12 or 13, then they got serious. That allowed them to solidify depth at every other spot on the roster - other than QB.
Bombers also cheated the cap (legally) in another way. They had bupkiss for returners (no budget) and didn't really have the special team blocking units that could spring returners. So why did they not only win the Cup. They dominated the league. Why?
Areas where they cheated the salary budget were areas they obviously didn't need to win. Any other year - maybe it makes a difference. Last year it didn't . . . ! ! !
There dollars just ended up in the right places - and I have a feeling it was more by design than by luck!