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  • Writer's pictureNoah Beausoleil

CFL Special Teams Power Rankings - Labour Day Edition (Week 13)

With highlights, analysis, and more, let's discuss how the CFL Special Teams units performed on Labour Day in this week's review;

 

Kickers

Kickers were 23/25 on field goals this week, which is good for 92%. This is an improvement for their season average which now sits at 89%. Both misses resulted in Rouges and 1 field goal was good from over 50 yards. Kickers were also able to go 18/19 on PATs. It is worth noting that Kickers have not been 100% on PATs since Week 4. Here are the CFL Week 13 Kicker Power Rankings;

  • Sean Whyte was 2/2 on field goals this week with a long of 41 yards. His 32-yard field goal was a game-winner and pushed the Lions ahead of the Al's by 2 points!

  • René Paredes went 4/4 on field goals this week, with a long of 48 yards. His 48-yarder to close the first half of football was the catalyst the Stampeders needed to come back from their 11-point deficit and win the game 35-31 in a come-from-behind victory against the Elks.

  • Brett Lauther was a perfect 5/5 on field goals and 1/1 on PATs this week, raising another 1000$ for the KidSport Foundation! While his longest of the night was from 53 yards out, tying his season-long, his most impressive kick was an 18-yarder to tie the game with just 30 seconds left in regulation. The Roughriders would continue to beat the Blue Bombers in Overtime 32-30! Brett has now hit 18 field goals in a row; Rinse, Lauther, Repeat!

  • Boris Bede played fine, making both his field goals (long of 28 yards) but missed 1 of his 5 PATs.

  • Dean Faithfull was 3/3 on field goals and 3/3 on PATs this week. He set a new season-long of 46 yards with this beauty in the 4th Quarter. Faithfull has now made his last 20 kicks and is now 35/39 on the year, which is good for 90% of his kicks (FGs + PATs).

  • Marc Liegghio was 2/3 on field goals this week, but his miss came from 57 yards out and, for what it's worth, he had the distance just not the accuracy and it was good for a Rouge.

 

Punters

There were 44 punts this week, averaging 48.2 yards (above the season average of 47.4 yards) and 33.9 net yards (below the season average of 36.7 net yards). Of these 44 punts, 11 of them (25%) were downed inside the 20-yard line with 3 staying inside the 10-yard line. This is slightly below the season average of 26% of punts remaining inside the 20-yard line. Punters were also able to kick 18, or 41%, of their punts over 50 yards. Punters may have had more punts remain inside the 20/10-yard line but they had 5 punts travel into the endzone for Rouges. Here are the CFL Week 13 Punter Power Rankings;

  • Cody Grace averaged 51.5 yards per punt on 4 attempts with 1 Rouge in the Stampeders win over Edmonton.

  • Boris Bede punted for the second week in a row with John Haggerty listed out with an injury. Bede continues to play well and I'll keep him in the 2nd Position. This week, he punted 4 times for an average of 42.5 yards with 2 of his punts (50%) staying inside the 20-yard line. His longest punt of the night was a 65-yarder that went through the endzone for a Rouge. While he had a good game, his Net Average, just 25.5 net yards per punt, was negatively affected due to the single.

  • Adam Korsak averaged 53.4 yards per punt over 9 attempts, with 6 of them (67%) travelling over 50 yards. He also had 1 remain inside the 10-yard line. Even though he had 2 Rouges, his net yardage didn't suffer too much, averaging a net of 38 yards per punt.

  • Joseph Zema had 3 punts averaging 43 yards and 39 net yards per punt. He was able to keep 2 of them (67%) inside the 20-yard line and had 1 downed inside the 10-yard line.

  • Jamieson Sheahan punted 8 times for an average of 48 yards and 38 net yards per punt. He was able to keep 3 punts (38%) inside the 20-yard line and 1 inside the 10-yard line. Sheahan also had 3 punts travel over 50 yards. Sheahan has been playing extremely well over the last 3 weeks and my opinion of him is steadily improving.

  • Jake Julien faced Calgary's breakout returner, Tommylee Lewis this week and played excellent, in my opinion. He punted 5 times for an insane average of 55.6 yards per punt. Jake had 4 punts (80%) travel over 50 yards with 2 punts (20%) remaining inside the 20-yard line.

 

Long Snappers

After having a perfect week in Week 12, I was hoping Long Snappers would be able to recreate their performance in Week 13. Unfortunately, this didn't happen. We were treated to 39 Long Snaps shown in the CFL Highlights this week (the 2nd most we've seen in any given week), but only 34 were marked as Strikes, given a Strike Percentage of 87%. For reference, about 88% of Long Snaps shown have been called strikes throughout the season thus far. Here are the CFL Week 13 Long Snapper Power Rankings;

  • Jorgen Hus was a perfect 8/8 on Long Snaps shown this week, propelling him into the 1st Position in our Power Rankings. He has only had 2 bad snaps all year!

  • Aaron Crawford was 3/4 on Long Snaps being called Strikes, with his only Ball being a punt snap that was a bit high. He's been extremely consistent while bouncing back from injury and I expect he will continue to compete for our 1st Position.

  • Riley Pickett had his first Ball in over 25 snaps this week. Otherwise, he was 3/4 on Long Snaps with a Strike Percentage of 75%.

  • Mike Benson is struggling. Over the last 3 weeks, we've seen 12 Long Snaps in the CFL Highlight Packages. Only 8 of them (67%) have been Strikes.

 

Kickoff Specialists

There were 31 kickoffs this week for a total of 2098 yards, an average of 67.7 yards per attempt. This is the highest average we've seen from Kickoff Specialists all year! Further demonstrating Kickoff Specialists' great placement skills, 10 of the kickoffs (32%) remained inside the opponent's 30-yard line. We even saw a recovered Onside Kickoff! Here are the CFL Week 13 Kickoff Specialist Power Rankings;

  • Boris Bede had yet another stellar night, averaging 75 yards over 7 kickoffs. Yeah, you read that right. He showed excellent placement abilities with 3 of his kickoffs (43%) remaining inside the opponent's 30-yard line. My favourite kickoff was right after Aj Ouellette was penalized for excessive taunting after a touchdown Celebration. The 10-yard penalty moved Bede's kickoff from the 30-yard line to the 20-yard line. Aj must have asked Bede if that would matter, where I assume Bede said "No I can make that work" because he kicked the ball 84 yards on the following kickoff. I don't know what else to say. It's unfair to other specialists at this point.

  • Brett Lauther was the other kickoff Specialist to have a field day on Labour Day. He opened the game with a surprise Onside Kick, which he managed to recover himself! What's more, is that he had 2 normal kickoffs where he averaged 74 yards per kickoff. Both of these kickoffs remained inside his opponent's 30-yard line. This was certainly his best game kicking off.

  • Stefan Flintoft averaged just 63 yards over 5 kickoffs but was able to keep 2 of them (40%) inside his opponent's 30-yard line.

  • Marc Liegghio was relieved of his Kicking Off duties this week and was only allowed to attempt 1 onside kick, which was not recovered. Kaare Vedvik averaged 64 yards per kickoff over 2 attempts and also tried an onside kick but it was not recovered either.

 

Kickoff Returners

Kickoff Returners had, statistically speaking, their best week yet in the 2023 CFL Season. There were 31 kickoffs that were returned for an average of 25 yards per return (Season average is 22 yards per return). They also had 10 of their returns (32%) of their returns travel for more than 30 yards, which is the highest percentage we've seen! Here are the CFL Week 13 Kickoff Returner Power Rankings;

  • Mario Alford showed why he was the best to do it in the CFL, returning 4 kickoffs for a total of 155 yards, or 39 yards per return. Each of his 4 returns went for more than 30 yards and he had a long of 47 yards. His highlights can be found here and here.

  • Tyreik McAllister also had an amazing week, returning 7 kickoffs for 237 yards, or an impressive 34 yards per return. His longest of the night was a 63-yard return and he was able to return 3 of his punts (43%) for more than 15 yards.

  • Janarion Grant. It looks like the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have extended Grant on the Injured List until late October meaning he will be coming off of the Injured List one day before the Bomber’s final Game on October 27th. I was hopeful after hearing reports of him running sprints during practice but maybe he aggravated his injury? I’m not sure. I do not believe we will see him returning in the 2023 Season. On a positive note; The Blue Bombers also moved Greg McCrae to their practice roster earlier this afternoon, a change I have been demanding for weeks now. McCrae was not getting the job done and was always near the bottom of the Punt/Kickoff Returner Power Rankings. So where do they go from here? The Bombers just recently signed WR/R Ronnie Blackmon out of Toledo (I think) who was brought in on the MTL practice squad. This guy has some wheels. They could let him try his hand, and feet, at returning to see where that goes.

  • Tommylee Lewis is back! He was able to return 3 kickoffs this week for 68 yards, with a long of 36 yards.

  • Javon Leake returned 1 kickoff for 36 yards this week, slowly increasing his average yards per return.

 

Punt Returners

Punt Returners also had a great week, averaging 13.7 yards per return over 31 attempts. This is the 2nd highest average they've had since the start of the year and when compared to the season average of 11 yards per return, it's easy to see that they didn't struggle to produce this week. We also saw an impressive 29% (9 punt returns) of returns go for more than 15 yards. So far this season Punt Returners have only managed to have 20% of their overall returns travel for more than 15 yards. Here are the CFL Week 13 Punt Returner Power Rankings;

  • Javon Leake continues his impressive year, returning another 3 punts for 75 yards, an average of 25 yards per return. All 3 of his returns were over 15 yards.

  • Tommylee Lewis also had a good week as well, returning 3 punts for 59 yards. His best of the night was a 54-yard punt return.

  • Chandler Worthy returned 5 punts for 78 yards and an average of 15.6 yards per return. He had 2 returns (40%) go for more than 5 yards and is starting to bounce back from his dry spell.

 

Coverage Teams

Coverage Teams struggled for the 2nd Week in a row and actually had a worse week than last. During Week 13, Coverage Units allowed an average of 13.7 yards per punt (31 attempts) and an average of 25 yards per kickoff (31 attempts). For reference, this is about 3 yards higher than the season average for both categories (11 yards allowed and 22 yards allowed respectively). On a brighter note, only 12 penalties were handed out, which is very low for Coverage Teams this year. Here are the CFL Week 13 Coverage Team Power Rankings;

  • The Montreal Alouettes played well allowing an average of 6.5 yards on 2 punt returns and 19 yards on 3 kickoffs. They only received 2 penalties this week, much lower than the 7 penalties received last week.

  • The Edmonton Elks had their worst week yet, allowing an average of 19.7 yards on 3 punt returns and an average of 20 yards on 4 kickoffs. They're lucky that they've played so well thus far in the season.

  • The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are on thin ice. They allowed an average of 25 yards on 3 punt returns and 28.5 yards on 2 kickoff returns. They also received 2 penalties. I'm not impressed with their performance and if things don't improve soon, they could find themselves a the bottom of the Power Rankings.

  • The Saskatchewan Roughriders played great football, allowing an average of 8.1 yards over 7 punt returns and 13.5 yards on 2 kickoff returns. They also only received 1 penalty, which coupled with their incredible performance accounts for their rise in the Power Rankings.

  • The Toronto Argonauts allowed an average of 14 yards on 2 punt returns and 34 yards on 7 kickoffs. While they struggled in the Coverage department, they at least played clean football, with no penalties being given out. They continue to be the most disciplined Coverage Unit in the CFL.

  • The Winnipeg Blue Bombers Coverage Team is not doing well. They allowed an average of 13.7 yards on 6 punts and 39 yards on 4 kickoffs. Just poor play at this point. Something needs to change.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my work.


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