There was a lot of good quarterback play to unpack following week 7. QB rankings ahead of week 8 as well as the 3 Stars of the Week from week 7.
Stars of the Week:
1st Star: Chad Kelly
27 attempts, 20 completions, 74% completion, 306 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 4 rushes for 18 yards and a touchdown.
2nd Star: Dustin Crum
29 attempts, 23 completions, 79% completion, 257 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 2PT convert, and 9 rushes for 63 yards and 1 2PT convert.
3rd Star: Zach Collaros
24 attempts, 20 completions, 308 yards, 83% completion, 1 interception, and 2 touchdowns.
Previous QB Rankings:
The purpose of these rankings is a fun way to follow along weekly and discuss who has been the best in the season and who is likely to continue to do well. I am going to do something controversial here and put Chad Kelly in 1st as he has now been the 1st star of the week for the last 2 weeks and is on a tear right now. The way I see it, Chad Kelly, Zach Collaros, Cody Fajardo, and Vernon Adams Jr. are all very close to the number 1 spot and this is a very close race.
1. Chad Kelly, Toronto Argonauts, Previous Ranking #QB1
Kelly completed 20 of his 27 passes (74%) for 306 yards and 2 touchdowns in the win over Hamilton. He also picked up 18 rushing yards and a touchdown on 4 carries.
Chad Kelly continues to impress this season. He looks extremely comfortable in the pocket. He plays with good footwork and steps into his throws even in the face of pressure. His decision-making has been very good the last few games and he’s been very quick going through his progressions. So far this season Chad Kelly has been excellent at going through progressions visually scanning for the open receiver. Kelly has not shown tendencies to rely solely on 1 or 2 receivers and has distributed his targets pretty evenly among the Argonaut receivers. A receiver may have a lot of targets in one game and then very few the next. If a defense identifies an Argonaut receiver as one who needs to be isolated and shut down, Kelly just throws to another open receiver.
2. Zach Collaros, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Previous Ranking #QB1
Collaros completed 20 of his 24 passes (83%) for 308 yards and a touchdown in the win over Edmonton.
On the interception thrown Collaros was really focused on Kenny Lawler and did not seem to survey the field for other options. Lawler was unable to separate from Marcus Lewis and Collaros forced the ball while under pressure resulting in an interception.
Collaros does not get enough credit for his mobility as uses it to extend the play to pass rather than appear on the stats sheet picking up rushing yards. He had a great play in which he spun a defensive end off of him who had 1 hand on him before making a good read quickly to make a pass that picked up a 1st down on a 2nd and 8. On another play while being pursued he was rolling to his right and made a great pass to Dalton Schoen who caught the ball on the sideline inside Edmonton’s 10-yard line. Collaros has been extremely good at being accurate on plays in which he has been rolling to his right the last few seasons.
3. Cody Fajardo, Montreal Alouettes, Previous Ranking #QB2
Was on the bye week in week 7. Fajardo is currently 2nd in yards per game and 3rd in quarterback efficiency. He has been the most frequently sacked quarterback and has made some magical plays escaping pressure this season recycling dead plays into positive gains.
4. Vernon Adams Jr., BC Lions, Previous Ranking #QB3
Not much to say about Vernon Adams Jr. this week. He left the game early due to an injury that is not considered severe and should not result in much time being missed. He threw 2 passes completing one for 8 yards before leaving the game following a sack in the 9th minute of the game. Prior to this game, VA was leading the league in yards per game at over 300.
5. Dustin Crum, Ottawa RedBlacks, Previous Ranking #6
You could say Dustin Crum’s day was not very crummy. You might say Crum caused a crummy ending for Calgary in the win against the Stampeders but that’s just how the cookie crumbles.
The RedBlacks are pushing for Crum puns on social media but it’s no excuse and I apologize for participating.
The Cookie Monster completed 23 of his 29 passes (79%) for 257 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also put in work on the ground adding 63 rushing yards on 9 rushes including a 27-yarder. He also scored a 2-point conversion on the ground and passed another 2-point conversion to Nate Behar to win the game in overtime. For the 2nd week in a row, Crum has scored two 2 point conversions.
The 24-year-old product of Kent State is really looking like a future star so far. The injuries to Jeremiah Masoli and Tyrie Adams are still very unfortunate but they do hurt a little less with the level of play Crum has delivered the last 2 games.
Crum has completed 71 of his 49 passes for 518 yards and 2 touchdowns with 1 interception over his 2 starts. In those games, he also added 166 rushing yards on 18 rushes and 2 touchdowns. Both of his starts Ottawa has won in overtime which were against Winnipeg and Calgary.
6. Jake Maier, Calgary Stampeders, Previous Ranking #QB5
Jake Maier had a pretty big game in the loss to Ottawa as he completed 28 of his 38 (74%) passes for 450 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Mayor had some help from his posse as his receivers had 188 YAC. He did however continue to have some struggles with interceptions as has been the trend for him at times this year as he threw 2 interceptions, 1 of which was a pick-six. There was also a fumble on a play that looked like a run pass option where I presume Maier was faking the handoff to Dedrick Mills and the ball came out resulting in an Ottawa fumble recovery.
There was still a lot to like in Maier’s game such as when he hit an open Clark Barnes setting him up to score his first CFL touchdown on a 54-yard play. Or an excellent pass to Marken Michel dropped just over coverage for a 33-yard touchdown. Jake Maier made so many big plays in this game and dropped a lot of dimes throwing receivers open. He does however now lead the league in interceptions with 9 and that must be improved upon as turnovers will kill you.
7. Dane Evans, BC Lions, Previous Ranking Unranked
Dane Evans came in with 4 minutes left in the first quarter after Vernon Adams Jr. left the game to injury. He played a pretty good game completing 16 of his 25 passes for 219 yards with 1 interception and 1 touchdown. You might say he got a little help from the referees as there was a Saskatchewan sack taken off the board due to a roughing the passer call due to an arm catching him in the head to tackle him. It did seem like enough contact to the head to be the right call in my opinion. Evans ended the 94-yard drive with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Alexander Hollins with a Riders blitz charging at him.
Vernon Adams Jr. is not expected to miss much time if any. If BC does need Evans to play more in his absence they can feel confident that they have a backup who is capable of starting at quarterback.
8. Mason Fine, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Previous Ranking #QB7
Mason Fine played a decent game but was up against a BC defense that was playing very well. He completed 32 of his 41 passes (78%) for 284 yards with 2 interceptions. He had a good completion percentage but BC held him to just 6.9 yards per attempt. BC has held their opposing quarterbacks to under 200 yards in 3 of their 6 games so this is not a poor reflection on Mason Fine but rather the result of him taking what the defense is giving him, which was not much. Fine also did not have much run support as BC kept Jamal Morrow to 11 yards on 12 carries for just 0.9 yards per carry.
9. Taylor Powell, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Previous Ranking Unranked
Taylor Powell did not look like a quarterback playing his first career start in the loss to Toronto. He completed 27 of his 41 passes (66%) for 282 yards and had 1 interception. He also had 4 rushes for 37 yards including a 15-yard touchdown.
I really liked the way he played and thought he did a very good job of getting the ball quickly and making good decisions on where he threw the ball. He looked comfortable under center for Hamilton which is highly impressive for a quarterback in their first start. The product of Eastern Michigan showed a lot of promise in the loss to Toronto.
Taylor Powell had the most passing yards of anyone in the preseason as he completed 29 of his 41 passes (70%) for 420 yards with 1 touchdown over 3 interceptions.
Powell is not the only Eastern Michigan quarterback to play well in the preseason as Mike Glass III orchestrated a game-winning drive for Montreal completing 5 of his 7 passes for 47 yards to set Montreal up for a field goal in the Alouettes’ first preseason game. Despite playing well, Glass was not given any playing time in the 2nd preseason game. Glass could be an interesting player for a CFL team to sign with all the quarterback injuries.
10. Taylor Cornelius, Edmonton Elks, Previous Ranking #QB9
Cornelius completed 17 of his 29 passes (59%) for 220 yards and a touchdown with 2 interceptions.
Taylor Cornelius gets a lot of the blame for Edmonton’s record and has at times played poorly. Cornelius does have a lot of upside in his game. Cornelius demonstrated this on a play early in the 1st quarter in which he spun away from Winnipeg’s defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat who had 2 hands on him turning a would-be sack into a 20-yard rush that put Edmonton at Winnipeg’s 8-yard line.
The red zone drive set up by Cornelius’ 20-yard run ended on interception as he threw the ball behind Kevin Brown and it was tipped up for an interception. It was the 2nd week in a row where a ball was thrown behind the targetted Elk by Cornelius resulting in a tipped ball that was intercepted in the red zone. It also looked like there would have been a good window to throw Maurice Ffrench open in the end zone for Edmonton rather than to Kevin Brown who was in position where had he caught the ball Edmonton would have likely settled for a field goal the next play.
Cornelius threw a nice long ball to Dillon Mitchell who got open on the sideline in the third quarter resulting in a massive 81-yard touchdown and putting Edmonton within 2 of Winnipeg.
Cornelius’ 2nd interception came in the final minute on 3rd and 25 trailing by 14 points. It was desperation time and a desperate throw was heaved down the field as that was the only thing to do at that stage of the game.
I’m a big believer in General Cornelius’ potential and think he can be a lot better than he has been. It was a pretty good game overall for Cornelius but it could have been better and Edmonton has little margin for error right now.
Players with long-term injuries are not included in this ranking but are listed below with their previous ranking.
(IR) Trevor Harris, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Previous Ranking #QB3
Trevor Harris completed 16 of his 22 passes (73%) and 115 yards before leaving the game due to an injury in week 6. He will need to undergo surgery to repair a tibial plateau fracture and it is not yet clear if he will return later this season.
(IR) Jeremiah Masoli, Ottawa Redblacks, Previous Ranking #QB5
Masoli completed 6 of his 10 passes for 37 yards and an interception before going down with a non-contact injury. Masoli’s season was ended by a ruptured achilles in week 5 which was his only game played this season.
(IR) Bo Levi Mitchell, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Previous Ranking #QB8
On the 6-game injured list following the week 2 loss to Toronto. BLM did practice in a limited capacity on Monday. If he plays in week 8 then his salary will retroactively count towards the salary cap as he has been on the 6-game injured list for 5 games so far. Still good news to see him practicing again.
(IR) Matthew Shiltz, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Previous Ranking #QB8
Shiltz completed 10 of his 17 passes (59%) for 184 yards in week 6 before leaving the game in the third quarter and was later placed on the 6-game injured list.
(IR) Tyrie Adams, Ottawa Redblacks, Previous Ranking #11
In his week 4 start he helped end Ottawa’s 14-game at-home losing streak. He completed 14 of his 20 passes in that game for 185 yards. Unfortunately, he suffered a season-ending injury during the game.
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