CFL: CFL season 2003 preview|
veröffentlicht am 19.Jun.2003 @ 20:56:54 von MEB
The league has to be hoping that the season-opening overtime matchup
between Calgary and Montreal on June 17th was a preview of a regular
season ahead that is as positive as the offseason was.
Over the past 18 months or so, the CFL has experienced a growing
prosperity that it has not known in many years. They've achieved
labour peace until at least the end of the 2005 season. They've
signed a television contract which will see the majority of the games
televised across the country, as well as increase revenue for each
team. They've also increased corporate sponsorship.
Player movement during the offseason has created a buzz of excitement
among casual and die-hard fans alike. In particular, the return of
quarterback Dave Dickenson drew a great deal of positive attention to
Dickenson was the 2000 season league MVP with the Calgary
Stampeders. He had spent the last two seasons jumping NFL roster to
NFL roster, never getting any playing time. When his options
appeared to run out, he chose to return to the league that allowed
him his first opportunity to shine.
A number of CFL clubs were involved in the courting of Dickenson,
among them Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and his former club,
Calgary. In the end, he chose to go to the BC Lions, in large part
because BC's head coach is now Wally Buono, the gentleman who coached
the Stampeders when Dickenson was so successful for them. Buono was
involved in a dispute with team management, which led his leaving the
club. Mere days later, he was the Lions' head coach.
Naturally, a signing of Dickenson's caliber will have a ripple
effect. Dickenson's arrival meant that long-time Lion QB Damon Allen
was considered expendable. The team released Damon shortly
thereafter and he has resurfaced in Toronto, hoping to be the final
piece of the Argos rebuilding project. His arrival in turn meant
that Reggie Slack was no longer needed by the Argos, and they
released him. He was signed by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats recently when
the Ti-Cat's regular starting QB, Danny McManus, suffered an injury
during a preseason contest which is expected to keep him out of
action for a few weeks.
The Slack signing was one of necessity because the team, throughout
the spring, had focused on bringing back some of their own players
rather than bring in talent from outside. In fact, not only did
Hamilton resign the majority of its quality free agents such as RB
Troy Davis, slotback Archie Amerson and DB/LB Chris Shelling, they
also brought back names from previous that have sparked interest
among Tabby fans.
Offensive Lineman Carl Coulter was signed away from Ottawa. He was a
long-time Ti-Cat who'd been selected by the Renegades in the
expansion draft the previous year. But the splashiest acquisition
was that of DE Joe Montford who played in Hamilton from 1996 - 2001.
He'd been signed away by Toronto last season, to the dismay of Ti-Cat
fans, but struggled in the defensive scheme there and was obviously
not happy with his situation.
The coaching vacancy in Calgary was filled by Montreal offensive
coordinator Jim Barker. Jim Barker is known for his offensive
prowess and his ability to develop quarterbacks. He will be
responsible for helping quarterback Marcus Crandell fulfill his
potential with the Stamps after a rough year in 2002. Barker
attempted to surround his QB with greater talent by bringing in RB
Lawrence Phillips, whose checkered background is well-document.
Still, it seems that Barker never had difficulty with Phillips and he
feels confident that he can make that situation work. Phillips twice
walked out on the Montreal Alouettes last season and was released
with little fanfare due to not meeting "behavioral standards",
according to a team press release.
NOTEBOOK: RB Michael Jenkins returned to Toronto after spending a
year on the Houston Texans' practice roster. Jenkins ran for 1000+
yards in 2000 and 2001 for the Argos...
Previous to Phillips being let go by Montreal, Mike Pringle made the
same request of his team and had his wish granted by them. Pringle
is within reach of the league's all-time rushing record and wanted a
better opportunity to see the field rather than play 2nd-string to
Phillips. He signed with the Edmonton Eskimos, who sought to replace
a running back of their own, John Avery. Avery signed with the
Minnesota Vikings earlier this year...
Pringle's signing became even more significant when RB Thomas
Haskins, signed as a free agent from Montreal, had to have an
operation to remove a non-malignant tumour from his brain. The
operation, not suprisingly, ended Haskins' 2003 season.
The Stampeders raised eyebrows at the draft when they traded WR
Travis Moore to Saskatchewan for an additional first-
round pick and LB Chris Hoople. Moore had 70 catches and over 1100
yards for the Stamps in 2002. That move, as well as previous trades,
gave them 6 of the first 12 picks in the college draft. Their first
choice was a young man by the name of Steve Morley, a huge tackle who
signed with the team just before the season started...
Moore was angry with the trade, feeling it was a slap in the face,
but his anger has since cooled and he's committed himself to his new
team. Calgary replaced him with former Washington Redskin and New
Orleans Saint Albert Connell...
Joining Moore on the way out of Calgary was RB Kelvin Anderson, who'd
rushed for 1000 yards for the Stampeders in each of the past two
years and was 4th in the league in rshing in 2002. Phillips' arrival
marked the end of Anderson tenure with the team and he, like
Dickenson, went to join his old coach, Wally Buono, in BC.
Among the significant retirements are WR Darren Flutie's (Hamilton,
and the CFL's leading career receiver with 967 grabs), LB Stefan Reid
(7 years with Montreal, 6 sacks and two interceptions in 2002)
and "veteran" kicker Bob Cameron (Winnipeg) who'd played 23
seasons. He retired at the age of 48...
UN-retiring was DL Joe Fleming to rejoin his old team, the Calgary
Stampeders. Fleming totalled 18 sacks in 2000 and 2001 and was a fan
The Ottawa Renegades let out a sigh of relief when RB Darren
Davis was cleared to play after suffering a neck injury in the 5th
game of the 2002 season. Davis' loss took a spark away from the
offence and the injury had been thought to be potentially career-
Speaking of Ottawa, former Bergamo Lion QB Dan Crowley has been
named the starting QB for the Renegades this season. A number of
QB's had been signed to challenge him, most of whom will be familiar
names to NFL Europe fans: Dameyune Craig, Romaro Miller, Kerry
Joseph and rookie Sam Clemons. Joseph and Miller won the #2 and #3
jobs, the others were released. Crowley's inconsistency was blamed
for many of the team's troubles in the team inaugural season...
Faced with a numbers crunch, Edmonton was forced to cut star LB
Terry Ray and Winnipeg was all too happy to sign him. Ray has been
on three of the last four all-star teams and is considered an
Jean François Fournier
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