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  • Writer's pictureNoah Beausoleil

CFL Special Teams Power Rankings - A Week 2 Review

Updated: Jun 20

I always forget just how exciting CFL Football is. Can you believe the parity in the league this year? Almost every game has been decided in the last 2 minutes of regulation. From game-winning field goals to surprise onside kickoffs, Week 2 featured many big-time special teams plays. Let's discuss how the CFL Special Teams units performed in this week's review;

 

Special Teams Player of the Week

Brett Lauther - West Division

When the Saskatchewan Roughriders entered the third quarter losing 27-17 to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, many thought the game was over. This is when Brett Lauther does his best work. He got the Riders within 7 points with a 46-yard field goal, which was quickly nullified by Marc Liegghio. Lauther came back and nailed a 34-yard field goal to make it a 1-score game. The Roughriders forced a stop, marched down the field, and scored a major. When Lauther's PAT sailed through the uprights, the score was tied 30-30 with just 43 seconds left on the clock. By some miracle, Saskatchewan intercepted a tipped pass and ended up with the ball on the Hamilton 35-yard line. Brett Lauther was tasked with a 43-yard field goal, and as time expired in the fourth quarter, Jorgen Hus snapped the ball perfectly to Adam Korsak, who placed it exactly where Lauther needed it. The ball went between the goalposts, and the Saskatchewan Roughriders stole a victory from the jaws of defeat. Lauther finished the night going 4/4 on field goals, including a long of 49 yards. He also made all 4 of his convert attempts.

 

DeVonte Dedmon - East Division

After a Week 1 bye, DeVonte Dedmon and the REDBLACKs hosted the Blue Bombers for the Ottawa home opener. Dedmon set the tone early in the first quarter with a 49-yard kickoff return to the Winnipeg 27-yard line, eventually resulting in a touchdown. Across his 6 punt returns, Dedmon averaged over 13 yards per attempt and consistently provided Ottawa with great field position, ultimately leading to the REDBLACKs winning the game 23-19

 

Kickers

   Kickers went 17/18 on field goals (94%) and 16/19 on PATs (84%) this week, outdoing their Week 1 performance by a wide margin. There was 1 field goal over 50 yards, and the CFL had its first game-winning kick. Here are the CFL Week 2 Kicker Power Rankings;

  Standouts;

  1. Marc Liegghio (HAM) went 3/3 on field goals this week, including a long of 41 yards. He extends his field goal streak to 4 consecutive makes and now has 3 field goals over 40 yards. Liegghio also made all 3 of his PATs, bringing him to a perfect 5/5 on the season.

  2. Lewis Ward (OTT) started his season in the pouring rain but didn't let it affect him, finishing the night completing all 3 of his field goal attempts, including a long of 34 yards. He also made his only convert attempt.

  3. David Côté (MTL) made a 53-yard field goal this week, a new career long for him. In previous seasons, any field goal over 50 yards made me nervous, but it is obvious that Côté has put in the work this offseason and improved his leg strength.


  Slip-ups;

  1. Sean Whyte's (BC) protection did not do its job this week, allowing 2 of his 3 convert attempts to be blocked.

 

Punters

Punters averaged 46.8 yards and 35.7 net yards across 53 punts this week, which are both slightly lower than the Week 1 average. Only 12 punts (23%) remained inside the 20-yard line, an 8% decrease from last week. Punters were able to punt the ball over 50 yards 19 times (36%), and a 70-yard punt set the record for the longest punt of the 2024 season. There were 5 penalties handed out to punters this week, an increase from the 1 received in Week 1. Here are the CFL Week 2 Punter Power Rankings;

  Standouts;

  1. Jake Julien (EDM) took on Montreal returner James Letcher Jr. this week and did a good job keeping him in check. He punted 5 times for an average of 46.4 yards and 38.6 net yards per punt. He had multiple punts land between the numbers and sideline, and his hang time allowed his coverage unit to get downfield and limit any return.

  2. Joseph Zema (MTL) punted 6 times, averaging 47.7 yards and 40.2 net yards per punt. He had 2 punts inside the 20-yard line, including 1 downed inside the 10-yard line. Zema did receive a penalty for an illegal punt out of bounds that hit a referee in the face. That will teach the refs to penalize him!

  3. Cody Grace (CGY) averaged 43.2 yards and 35.3 net yards per punt, across 6 punts this week. He had 2 punts (33%) inside the 10-yard line.


  Slip-ups;

  1. Richie Leone (OTT) punted 7 times, averaging 43 yards and 28 net yards per punt, including 1 punt (14%) downed inside the 10-yard line. He struggled to keep the ball in the field of play, receiving an illegal punt out-of-bounds penalty and scoring a rouge when he should have pinned his opponent deep. Speaking of penalties, Leone received an unnecessary roughness penalty that resulted in 15 yards being taken off his punt.

 

Kickoff Specialists

  Kickoff specialists are starting to find their stride in Week 2, averaging 66.5 yards across 29 attempts. While they matched the Week 1 number of kickoffs travelling over 70 yards (10 kickoffs), there was a significant increase in the number of kickoffs remaining inside the 30-yard line. Kickoff specialists improved their hang time and placement so much that there were 10 kickoffs that pinned their opponents deep, a 20% increase from Week 1. There were no rouges scored and no penalties handed out. Here are the CFL Week 2 Kickoff Specialist Power Rankings;

  Standouts;

  1. Brett Lauther (SSK) stands out as the best kickoff specialist in the CFL through 2 weeks, with over 65% of his kickoffs remaining inside the 30-yard line. This week, he kicked off 4 times, averaging 70.3 yards per attempt, including 2 kickoffs (50%) that travelled further than 70 yards and 3 kickoffs (75%) that remained inside the 30-yard line.

  2. Richie Leone (OTT) kicked off 4 times in his Week 2 debut, averaging 63.5 yards per attempt. He did not have any kickoffs travel further than 70 yards but got lucky facing an inexperienced Winnipeg returner. Leone recorded 3 kickoffs (75%) inside the 30-yard line.

  3. Boris Bede (EDM) was the only kickoff specialist to attempt an onside kick this week, tricking the receiving team by contorting his body and wrapping his foot behind his plant leg to launch the ball in the opposite direction he was facing. The trick worked, and Montreal had trouble fielding the kick. Unfortunately, the Edmonton coverage team was unable to recover the loose ball, and Montreal regained possession.


  Slip-ups;

  1. Rene Paredes (CGY), David Côté (MTL), and Lirim Hajrulahu (TOR) have yet to have a kickoff remain inside the 30-yard line.

 

Long Snappers

There were 29 total long snaps showcased in CFL highlight packages this week, including 21 field goal snaps and 8 punt snaps. Long snappers remained accurate, with only 2 balls recorded as off-target, leaving them with a strike percentage of 93%. Two long snappers recorded a tackle on coverage teams. Unfortunately, there were 2 blocked kicks this week, both blocked from the middle of the line. Here are the CFL Week 2 Long Snapper Power Rankings;

  Standouts;

  1. Louis-Philippe Bourassa (MTL) continues to perform at an elite level on both field goal and punt snaps. This week he had both of his field goal snaps recorded as strikes and a single punt snap that was a strike as well. He recorded his first tackle of the 2024 season.

  2. Gordon Whyte (HAM) played well with an increased workload in Week 2, with all 3 of his field goal snaps and both of his punt snaps recorded as strikes.

  3. Luke Burton-Krahn (EDM) recorded a tackle, his first of the year. He also had 2 field goal snaps recorded as strikes.


  Slip-ups;

  1. Riley Pickett (BC) struggled with blocking this week, as Calgary was able to overload the middle of the field goal protection unit and come away with 2 blocked PATs. He was still accurate, with all 4 of his field goal snaps recorded as strikes.

  2. Kyle Nelson (BC) received a penalty for grabbing the jersey of an opposing player and pulling him to the ground early in the game. It remains unclear what the BC Lions are doing at the long-snapper position.

 

Kickoff Returners

For the second consecutive week, there were 30 kickoff returns, averaging 22.2 yards per return. There were 3 kickoff returns (10%) that travelled further than 30 yards, including a new season-long of 56 yards. Here are the CFL Week 2 Kickoff Returner Power Rankings;

    Standouts;

  1. Terry Williams (BC) continues to be the most consistent kickoff returner, with 3 returns this week, averaging 25.7 yards per return.

  2. Javon Leake (EDM) returned 4 kickoffs for a total of 118 yards, averaging 29.5 yards per return. His longest of the night was a 56-yard return with just 24 seconds left in the first half, resulting in a field goal for the Elks.

  3. Geoffrey Cantin-Arku (MTL) recovered Boris Bede's fancy onside kick. If he had fumbled or missed the ball, the Elks would have had a chance to come back and win the game.


  Slip-ups;

  1. Mario Alford (SSK) struggled this week, with 4 kickoff returns, averaging 20.8 yards per return. His longest return of the night was 26 yards, and he had 2 returns travel for less than 20 yards.

  2. Myron Mitchell (WPG) had the lowest average of any kickoff returner in Week 2, averaging 18.3 yards across 4 kickoff returns. His only return over 20 yards was his longest of the night, a 29-yarder, which is the longest return of his career.

 

Punt Returners

There were 41 punts returned in Week 2, with punt returners averaging 9.5 yards per return. There were 7 punt returns (17%) that travelled for more than 15 yards. For the second consecutive week, there was a single fumble recorded; however, this week, it was recovered by the return team. Here are the CFL Week 2 Punt Returner Power Rankings;

  Standouts;

  1. Lawrence Woods III (HAM) returned 7 punts for a total of 89 yards, averaging 12.7 yards per return. He had 2 punt returns (29%) over 15 yards, including a long of 18 yards.

  2. Malik Flowers (EDM) returned 2 punts for a total of 30 yards. He recovered his teammate's fumble, a heads-up play from someone who is supposed to be blocking upfield.

  3. Myron Mitchell (WPG) recorded his first punt return over 15 yards this week.


  Slip-ups;

  1. Javon Leake (EDM) did not impress this week. He fumbled his first punt return of the night and immediately gave up on the play, forcing his teammate to recover the ball. If Leake wants to have the same type of production as last year, something needs to change.

 

Missed Field Goal Returners

  There were only 3 missed kick returns this week, with returners averaging about 9.3 yards per return. Here are the CFL Week 2 Missed Field Goal Returner Power Rankings;

  Standouts;

  1. Loucheiz Purifoy (EDM) returned his first missed field goal of the season from 15 yards deep in his end zone. While he didn't give up a Rouge, it might have been better to concede a single for better field position, as he only brought the ball to the 8-yard line.

 

Coverage Teams

Coverage teams allowed an average of 9.5 yards across 41 punts and 22.1 yards on 30 kickoff returns, nearly identical to the Week 1 stats. Teams across the league struggled with penalties, receiving 26 for a total of 283 yards. There were two blocked kicks this week, the first we've seen all year. Here are the CFL Week 2 Coverage Team Power Rankings;

  Standouts;

  1. The Ottawa REDBLACKs allowed an average of 6.3 yards on 4 punt returns and 18.3 yards across 4 kickoff returns. While they received 3 penalties for a total of 35 yards, their performance during the returns was enough to enter the top position in the Power Rankings.

  2. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats improved in both facets of the return game, drastically reducing the total average number of yards allowed. They allowed an average of 7 yards across 6 punt returns and 20.8 yards on 4 kickoff returns.


  Slip-ups;

  1. The Montreal Alouettes struggled to keep returners in front of them, allowing an average of 10 yards on 4 punt returns and 29.5 yards across 4 kickoff returns. They also received 4 penalties for a total of 29 yards.

  2. The Saskatchewan Roughriders were lucky to leave Hamilton with a win after receiving 8 penalties on special teams, totaling over 110 penalty yards.

 

Individual Special Teams Tackles

  There were a total of 67 special teams tackles recorded in Week 2. Penalties were a cause for concern, with 22 being handed out for a total of 212 yards. Through 2 weeks of play, there have been 36 penalties on special teams, accounting for a total of over 330 yards. Here are the CFL Week 2 Special Teams Tackles Power Rankings;

  Standouts;

  1. Maxime Rouyer (BC) recorded 4 special teams tackles this week.

  2. Rolan Milligan Jr. (SSK) also recorded 4 special teams tackles this week, the most we've seen from a single player in 1 game.

  3. James Vaughters & Julien Howsare (CGY) managed to get hands on a convert attempt and recorded a blocked kick each.

  4. Tyson Middlemost (CGY) recorded 3 special teams tackles.

  5. Scott Hutler (EDM) recorded 3 special teams tackles.

  6. Adam Auclair (SSK) recorded 3 special teams tackles.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my work.


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