Points on the Flag: Week 4
The quality of Canadian talent in this league has often been a subject of much debate, and will no doubt be again as we inch closer to Atlantic expansion. Is there enough talented Nationals to support another franchise? If this list is any indication, the answer is yes. For a fourth straight week, we have more newcomers to the list than repeat performers. Take a look at the top 11 Canadian performances in CFL Week 4, one for every point on the Canadian Maple Leaf.
11. Ted Laurent, DT, Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Mississippi)
Stats: 1 Sack, 1 Forced Fumble
One of the league’s best run stuffers and hole pluggers, Ted Laurent often does a lot of dirty work without receiving much credit. His strip sack against Saskatchewan was a thing of beauty and highlighted the freakish athleticism he has for a man of his size.
10. Mike Daly, S, Hamilton Tiger-Cats (McMaster)
Stats: 3 Defensive Tackles, 2 Pass Breakups
After winning the starting safety job over Courtney Stephens, Mike Daly has been impressive thus far and was a noticeable presence against Saskatchewan. He was active around the ball and broke up a couple of early Rider offensive opportunities, proving to be part of the reason why the Saskatchewan passing game never really got established.
9. Justin Capicciotti, DE, Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Simon Fraser)
Stats: 4 Defensive Tackles, 1 Sack
An underrated performer as a Canadian defensive end, Capicciotti provided noticeable pressure on his former team’s quarterbacks and did not give up contain in the run game. It was nice to see him achieve some success against a place where he was not properly utilized.
8. Michael Klassen, DT, Ottawa Redblacks (Calgary)
Stats: 3 Defensive Tackles, 1 Sack
Ottawa put continuous pressure on Jeff Mathews from the interior and Michael Klassen was a big reason why. Eating up blocks to free up his American counterpart Wakefield and registering a sack of his own, all while consistently getting his hands up to disrupt passing lanes.
7. Jamaal Westerman, DE, Montreal Alouettes (Rutgers)
Stats: 4 Defensive Tackles, 1 Sack
Westerman continues to be Montreal’s lone legitimate pass rushing threat and seemed to be the only one within sniffing distance of Trevor Harris. He continues to battle despite the long odds that Montreal often faces.
6. Mathias Goosen, C, Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Simon Fraser)
Stats: No Sacks Allowed, 152 Team Rushing Yards and 3 Touchdowns
In truth, all three of the Bombers’ Canadian O-linemen should make this list but in order not to bore you with OL homerism, I’ll highlight Goosen with honorably mentions to Sukh Chungh and Paddy Neufeld. Matt Nichols was not hit once all night, let alone sacked. The Bombers pounded the Lions on the ground, with three rushing touchdowns coming right behind Goosen and Andrew Harris slicing for a 44 yard gain behind a gorgeous pull by Goosen.
5. Jean-Christophe Beaulieu, FB, Ottawa Redblacks (Sherbrooke)
Stats: 2 Receptions, 50 Yards, 1 Touchdown, 2 Point Convert
Its rare that any positive attention gets paid to fullbacks, so when they excel its nice to recognize it. J-C Beaulieu torched the Alouettes on a corner route for a touchdown and added a 2 point conversion later, but his most outstanding contribution to the game may have been the number of blitz pick ups he made to keep Trevor Harris upright on big passing plays.
4. Chris Ackie, WLB, Montreal Alouettes (Wilfrid Laurier)
Stats: 9 Defensive Tackles
Ackie has been an absolute revelation all year and simply continues to rack up tackles as the league leader. The Alouettes’ defence is struggling more than most expected and Ackie seems to be the only one consistently making plays around the ball.
3. Llevi Noel, WR, Toronto Argonauts (Windsor AKO Fratmen)
Stats: 2 Receptions, 81 Yards
Llevi Noel earned his first start of the season and proved to be the deep threat that the Argos’ offence was missing. He was known as a burner entering the draft a couple years ago and he proved it Saturday by leaving Maurice McKnight in his wake.
2. Andrew Harris, RB, Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Vancouver Island Raiders)
Stats: 12 Carries, 109 Yards, 4 Receptions, 22 Yards, 1 Touchdown
Passing the century mark against his former team seemed to be easy for the league’s most consistent playmaker. Harris sliced and diced his way through the holes his O-line provided for him and was given a well-deserved rest for most of the second half.
1. Brad Sinopoli, SB, Ottawa Redblacks (Ottawa)
Stats: 11 Receptions, 148 Yards, 1 Touchdown
Look, I’m a fan of a rule that would give this league more Canadian quarterbacks, but what a shame it would’ve been if that rule had come in a few years ago and prevented us from seeing Brad Sinopoli catch passes. He owned the field on Friday night, dragging in every ball in his vicinity and keeping Ottawa’s offensive machine marching onward.