Volume 93, Issue 6
Friday, June 18, 1999
Ti-Cats to claw their way to Grey
Photo courtesy of the Toronto Argonauts
IF I STARE AT HIM LONG ENOUGH MAYBE HE WILL GO AWAY. Former Mustang football star Jude St. John of the Toronto Argonauts prepares for yet another year.
By Chad Thompson
It's time to put away the backbacon and grab the pigskin as the Canadian Football League gets ready to kick off another season.
The CFL had yet another merry-go-round of off-season changes and it's time to see where the chips will fall.
Last year's Eastern conference champions, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, have the best chance of any team to return to the Grey Cup. Their line up has not changed much and quarterback Danny McManus will continue to throw bullets to slotback Darren Flutie.
Hamilton's offensive line will open numerous holes for the running game and give McManus all the time he needs in the pocket. At times the Ti-Cats defence can be a little suspect, but with McManus putting points on the board, the defence just has to keep other offenses at bay.
The Montreal Alouettes are the team which may knock Hamilton out of the top spot. However, with an aging Tracey Ham and an inconsistent Anthony Calvillio as quarterbacks, the Alouettes could find themselves runner-up to the team from steel town.
Mike Pringle will be the reason the Alouettes contend. He is the best runningback in the league and can change the face of a game. The Alouettes defence is strong and will allow them to remain in many games. Linebacker Elfrid Payton is the best defensive player in the league and could lead Montreal to great things.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers made the largest changes during the off season, making Kerwin Bell the new quarterback and Corey Philpot the new runningback. Dave Ritchie will take over as team coach but there's still no guarantee these changes will take the Bombers to the top.
The team will be over-achievers if they win and predictable if they lose. It will be a long season in Manitoba this summer but they will be able to squeak into the playoffs.
Two years ago the Toronto Argonauts were the best team in the league. Quarterback Doug Flutie lead them to two straight Grey Cups and had a solid supporting cast. Presently, Flutie is in Buffalo and head coach Don Matthews has left for the Edmonton Eskimos leaving the Argos minus two big pieces of the Grey Cup puzzle.
The Argos have no solid starting quarterback or real offensive threat. If quarterback Jay Barker plays up to his potential then maybe the team could sneak into the playoffs.
The Argos' saving grace will be their defence. Linebackers Micheal O'Shea, Derek Parkes and Roger Dunbrack will shine this season but the problem is they cannot play both sides of the ball. Therefore, Toronto will ultimately enjoy the playoffs from their television screens.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999