CFL Preview - Montreal (0-0) at Calgary (0-0)|
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Sunday, July 1, 7:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: Another year of Canadian Football and another season for Anthony
Calvillo to defy the odds and continue to rewrite the CFL record books. The
ageless signal-caller didn't see much action during the preseason, but he will
be the one calling the shots on Sunday night when the Montreal Alouettes hit
the field against the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium.
As has been the case now since 1998 when he came over from Hamilton, Calvillo
is the catalyst once again for the Als. As someone who now owns almost every
major passing record not just in the CFL, but in all of professional football,
the Utah State product was used sparingly during the preseason this year
because head coach Marc Trestman already knows what he has in this national
Even though he took a few more hits than usual last year and saw his completion
rate drop to 61.8 percent, the lowest since 2003, Calvillo again threw for more
than 5,200 yards and tied for the league lead with 32 TDs. Say what you will
about growing old, this football player just gets better with age.
Because of the efforts of Calvillo, Montreal led the league in scoring with
28.6 ppg, but the Als struggled down the stretch as they dropped their last
three regular-season bouts and then came up short in a 52-44 overtime affair
in the playoffs against Hamilton. Needless to say, Calvillo and company have
something to prove right out of the gate this year.
Helping to make Calvillo's job a bit easier is slotback Jamel Richardson, a
four-time East Division All-Star who erupted for a staggering 112 receptions
for 1,777 yards and 11 TDs in 2011. Richardson has now posted four straight
1,000-yard campaigns and has landed in the end zone 43 times during that span.
Even though he recorded just four majors through the air last year, S.J. Green
is another valuable weapon for the Als who posted career highs with 87 catches
for 1,147 yards and is poised to put up similar numbers again this year.
The Stamps, led by head coach John Hufnagel, have made a major change heading
into this season, trading quarterback Henry Burris in order to give either
Kevin Glenn and/or Drew Tate more time under center.
Glenn, acquired from Hamilton in the trade that sent Burris to the Tiger-Cats
in early January, has plenty of experience and should be a valuable asset for
Calgary moving forward, but a career quarterback rating of 88.5 isn't all that
impressive in a league that is predicated on the pass almost exclusively.
Tate doesn't have as many miles on him from a CFL standpoint, but that's partly
due to being a backup and having worked through injury last season which had
him on the sidelines for the first five games.
The player who should be taking the majority of the hits coming through the
line of scrimmage for the Stamps is running back Jon Cornish, who finished
fifth in the league last season with a career-best 863 yards and nine
touchdowns. Averaging better than seven yards per carry, the good news about
Cornish is that he is someone who takes great care of the football, fumbling it
away just four times in 256 career carries.
A former rookie of the year and a CFL All-Star in both 2010 and 2011, receiver
Nik Lewis has spent his entire career with Calgary and has registered no less
than 1,000 receiving yards every season since 2004 when he broke into the
league. A clutch possession receiver who may not make the flashy plays or
always end up in the end zone, Lewis will help the Stamps transition to life
The bigger question for the offense is how well receivers like Ken-Yon Rambo
and Romby Bryant will respond. Rambo, who spent some time in the NFL early in
his career, isn't getting any younger so he'll need to step up his efforts in
order to remain a key part of the offense for the Stampeders moving forward.
Bryant, someone who has never missed a CFL game due to injury, registered a
modest 51 catches and five touchdowns a year ago. He will need to elevate his
play to continue to get looks down the field.
The teams met twice last season, with the Stamps claiming both matchups. The
first, held in late August, turned into a 38-31 victory for the hosts and then
two months later, Calgary again took care of business on the road with a 32-27
Dating back to 1946 and only taking into consideration regular-season
meetings, Calgary owns a slight 32-31-1 advantage in the all-time series with
the Alouettes, taking three of the last four and five of the last eight
Montreal, which is set to host Winnipeg and then the Stamps in the coming
weeks, need to get a strong performance out of Calvillo in order to restore
the confidence that the team has had in one of the greatest players ever to
suit up in the CFL.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Montreal 37, Calgary 28
06/27 11:17:00 ET