Overtime Central CFL Pool Preview Report

Before you make your first picks in the Overtime Central 2006 CFL Pool, get up to date with the changes in each city so as to get your picks off to a good start.

Montreal

Additions: QB Nealon Greene, QB Marcus Brady, CB Davis Sanchez, DE Kai Ellis

Subtractions: SB Terry Vaughn, DB Reggie Durden, DT Robert Brown, DB Kelly Malveaux, DB Almondo Curry, QB Ted White

Montreal’s lineup has stayed largely intact after losing the Grey Cup in overtime last year. The biggest concern in Montreal is finding a suitable backup for Anthony Calvillo. The remaining candidates this year are Nealon Greene and Marcus Brady now that Quincy Carter has been released.

Toronto Argonauts

Additions: RB Ricky Williams, QB Eric Crouch, QB Spergon Wynn, WR/KR Keith Stokes, DB Dave Donaldson

Subtractions: QB Michael Bishop, DL Cameron Legault, DT Noah Cantor, CB Adrion Smith, S Mike Crumb, FB Sean Millington

Toronto has big buzz with the signing of Ricky Williams. With little other movement this off-season, time will tell whether Williams is enough to put the Argos past the Alouettes in the East.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Additions: QB Jason Maas, RB Corey Holmes, RB Josh Ranek, SB Terry Vaughn, WR Kwame Cavil, OL George Hudson

Subtractions: QB Danny McManus, RB Jesse Lumsden, WR Kahlil Hill, OL Tim Bakker

Hamilton has strengthened themselves the most during the off-season, starting with the acquisition of Jason Maas immediately after the Grey Cup. In addition to the offensive talent added on the field, Hamilton also brought Joe Paopao in as offensive co-ordinator and assistant head coach.

Winnipeg

Additions: OL Ibrahim Khan, OL Val St. Germain, QB Brad Banks, DL Cameron Legault, DB Robert Grant, LB Kyries Hebert, DB Kelly Malveaux, LB Barrin Simpson, WR/KR Albert Johnson III, DE Ron Warner, S Donnavan Carter

Subtractions: WR/KR Keith Stokes, P Jon Ryan, LB Lamar McGriggs, LB Ryland Wickman

Winnipeg was very active in acquiring players in the off-season, and with good reason after finishing 5-13 in 2005 and going 1-9 in their division. Moving to the East Division in 2006 due to the Ottawa franchise suspension for the 2006 season will certainly help. Lots of activity in the dispersal draft and free agent market and Defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall on the defensive side will help new head coach Doug Berry be competitive on paper immediately. Knowing whether QBs Kevin Glenn and Brad Banks can perform on offence will be the key to predicting Winnipeg’s record this year.

Saskatchewan Roughriders

Additions: QB Kerry Joseph, WR Jason Armstead, DB Donald Ruiz, SB Andy Fantuz, DB Almondo Curry

Subtractions: RB Corey Holmes, S Scott Gordon, SB Elijah Thurmon, LB Walter Spencer, P/K Paul McCallum, QB Nealon Greene, LB Trevis Smith, DB LaDouphyous McCalla, SB Travis Moore, DL Daved Benefield

Saskatchewan laid idle for most of the off-season; not until the dispersal draft did they make any noise for their fans. Despite the upgrades and losses on offence, the most important change in ‘Riderville this year may be the addition of offensive co-ordinator Tommy Condell, replacing the much maligned Marcel Bellefeuille. Promising an attacking offence, these changes will at least provide excitement to the ‘Rider faithful at Taylor Field this year.

Calgary

Additions: SB Elijah Thurmon, LB Walter Spencer, QB Danny McManus, QB Jason Thomas, LB Cam Yeow, WR Marcus Howell

Subtractions: FB Scott Deibert, WR Mike Juhasz, OL Jamie Crysdale

Calgary added a few players, but most importantly lost no key players during the off-season. Calgary will look to continue where they left off last year, playing with confidence and maturity that they didn’t display all of last year. If QB Henry Burris maintains a consistency and maturity the Stamps will improve on last year’s record.

Edmonton Eskimos

Additions: DT Robert Brown, DE Anthony Collier, CB Reggie Durden, QB Khari Jones, WR Pat Woodcock, OL Tim Bakker, DE Adam Braidwood

Subtractions: QB Jason Maas, CB Davis Sanchez, DE Joe Montford, DL Rashad Jeanty, LB Glen Young, OL Chris Morris, OL Bruce Beaton, OL Kevin Lefsrud

Edmonton tweaked its lineup only slightly in the off season, and being the Grey Cup champs that is expected. After acquiring Danny McManus from Hamilton, he was quickly dumped to Calgary after Khari Jones was signed. The biggest question for Edmonton is whether Jones can fill in for Ricky Ray behind a new offensive line the way Maas did and whether an aging defence can continue to perform. A young sophomore coach may also fall to the sophomore jinx after achieving so much in his first season.

B.C. Lions

Additions: DB Korey Banks, P/K Paul McCallum, K Sandro Scortino

Subtractions: QB Casey Printers, LB Barrin Simpson, P/K Duncan O’Mahony, OL Cory Mantyka, OL Moe Elewonibi, S Jason Crumb

After finishing first in the West in 2005 while being plagued by quarterback controversy, Wally Buono decided that little had to be done after Printers signed an NFL contract. With a healthy QB Dave Dickenson the Lions may compete again for top spot. However questions remain as to whether the problems in B.C. only ran as deep as Casey Printers.

Other Notes

The CFL has undergone other changes which should be evaluated when making predictions this year. First, the salary management system will not be approved for the 2006 season. This effectively leaves no cap in play and some teams may take advantage, especially later in the season if players become available.

Instant replays are still not guaranteed to be in effect in 2006. If replays are implemented, each coach will receive two challenges. Replay calls could change the outcome of games that previously would not have been fairly called.

Of the new rule changes this year, the rewritten No Yards rule will have the greatest affect on the game. If called as written, players will have to attempt to leave the 5 yard no yards zone when the ball bounces or be called for a 15 yard penalty. This will open up the return game if abided or add a lot of penalty yards if not.

With the suspension of the Ottawa Renegades and division realignment, familiarity will return to the CFL. Each team will play one division opponent 4 times in the regular season and the other two divisional opponents 3 times. This amount of divisional play can of course severely affect the standings at the end of the year.

Predictions

After analyzing each team, and before any exhibition games are played, Overtime Central prognosticators are ready to predict the order of the final standings for each division in 2006.

East

  1. Montreal
  2. Hamilton
  3. Toronto
  4. Winnipeg

West

  1. Calgary
  2. Saskatchewan
  3. B.C.
  4. Edmonton

Very radical indeed. What do you think?

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