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Finally...A CFL game to watch

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Said it before and I’ll say it again: I hate these CFL bye weeks where there are only two games while one division takes a knee.

It seems like an eternity since there was a game on the tube, but it does heat up tonight with Week 9 action (Calgary at B.C, 9:30 p.m. with Saskatchewan at Edmonton Saturday at 6 p.m.).

Some questions that beg for answers as the action resumes:

  • Can Casey Printers breathe some life into the Lions? He is scheduled to return to the lineup tonight for B.C., but they’ve still got some issues along the O line. My belief is the Lions will be significantly better coming out of the bye... but just not good enough to knock off a talented Stampeder squad.
  • Just how good are the Stamps? They’re 6-1 right now and have three straight games against the two worst teams in the CFL with tonight’s game in Vancouver followed by the annual home-and-home series with Edmonton. They could very well be 9-1 before a Sept. 17th game in Regina. And won’t that be a dandy.
  • Is Eskimo QB Ricky Ray good to go? Remember, he didn’t finish his last game after injuring his chest and while he has taken some reps this week, Jason Maas and Jared Zabransky have also seen a lot of work. As much as fans in Edmonton might be intrigued by Zabransky, it says here the Esks are hooped unless Ray is back at the controls.
  • What kind of impact, if any, will new LB coach Mark Nelson and new OL assistant Tim Prinsen have on the Esks? Nelson replaced Dan Kepley, who stepped down, while Prinsen moves in for Jeff Bleamer, who was fired. But the real heat in Edmonton is on head coach Richie Hall and O coordinator Kevin Strasser. Many in the Alberta capital liken the moves the Esks made in the wake of a 1-6 start to shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.
  • As good as Roughrider QB Darian Durant is – and he certainly got a lot of love from me this week when I suggested he’d be my Most-Outstanding-Player vote on the Huddle page -- can he cut down on his mistakes? He and Calgary’s Henry Burris are tied with the most interceptions in the CFL, with 9?
  • On a related matter, what’s with those readers who posted comments on our website on the Huddle page story that ‘If I love Durant so much I should move to Saskatchewan?’ and ‘Where are the Bomber stories?’ A response: the Huddle page is supposed to be for bits and pieces about the rest of the CFL and the Bombers are on a bye this week and are not making any of their players available to the media. So there.

Two names I keep hearing as the Bombers look to add help at OT, DT and WR – Gerran Walker, the former Rider pass catcher and Ryan Grice-Mullen, ex of the B.C. Lions and a CFL free agent receiver/returner. And, yes, I was surprised, too when Bomber assistant GM Ross Hodgkinson said the team was looking at import D tackles what with Dorian Smith and Moton Hopkins having been decent this year. Word is Bomber brass are looking for a big body to line up beside Doug Brown to generate more up-field push.
--Ed Tait.

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