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  • Writer's pictureNoah Beausoleil

CFL Special Teams Power Rankings - A Week 7 Review

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

Week 7 has come to a close, leaving normal football fans and Special Teams enthusiasts alike buzzing with excitement. Let's discuss how the CFL Special Teams units performed in this week's review;

 

Kickers

In Week 7, kickers performed well, going 20/21 (95%) on field goal attempts but struggled a bit on PATs, making just 11/15 (73%) of their attempts. There were no attempts over 50 yards, and the longest field goal was made from 47 yards out. Here are the CFL Week 7 Kicker Power Rankings;

  • Sean Whyte came back off the Bye Week and went 4/4 on field goals and 1/1 on PATs this week. He continues to perform at an extremely high level, adding another 2 field goals over 40 yards, bringing his season tally to 8.

  • René Paredes was 3/3 on field goals this week, passing a huge milestone of 2000 career points scored! For context, his 2000th point came from a clutch, 47-yard, game-tying field goal with 21 seconds left to keep the Stampeders in the game.

  • Lewis Ward continues his dominant season going 2/2 on field goals, with a long of 36 yards, and 3/3 on PATs. He continues to be extremely consistent, only missing 1 kick over 24 total attempts.

  • Sergio Castillo struggled this week, going 2/3 on field goals, missing a 45-yard field goal in the Second Quarter. He did come back early in the Third Quarter and make a 46-yarder but he is no longer 100% on the season. Speaking of misses, he also went 2/3 on PATs this week.

  • Marc Liegghio was 3/3 on field goals this week, with a long of 32 yards. He did, however, miss a PAT, meaning he has now missed 2 PATs in 3 weeks.

  • Boris Bede also missed an extra point this week and is no longer kicking at 100%.

  • Brett Lauther hit his first from 40+ yards since Week 1, making a 44-yard field goal.

 

Punters

Punters in the CFL punted the ball 52 times in Week 7, averaging an impressive 48.2 yards and 37.4 net yards per punt. They had 13 of their punts (25%) remain inside the 20-yard line, with 4 of those remaining inside the 10-yard line. We did see a season-high 46% of punts (24 punts) going over 50 yards with 3 travelling into the endzone for a Rouge. Here are the CFL Week 7 Punter Power Rankings;

  • Cody Grace had another great week, punting 3 times for an average of 51 yards per punt. He is the only kicker to keep his average yards per punt in the 50s.

  • Adam Korsak has shown that he is able to pin opponents deep with 2 of his punts remaining inside the 20-yard line, something he hasn't done particularly well since Week 1. He also had a fun onside punt/fake field goal attempt, which was recovered in an unconventional fashion.

  • Jamieson Sheahan continues to perform well, punting 4 times for an average of 16 yards per punt! With all 4 of his punts travelling over 50 yards, and one going out of bounds inside the 10-yard line, it seems clear to me why he won their punting job.

  • Stefan Flintoft averaged 49.6 yards over 8 punts with 4 (50%) of them travelling over 50 yards.

  • Bailey Flint had a bad week again, averaging just 41.6 yards over 8 punts. This may have been forgiven if he pinned a high percentage inside the 20-yard line, but he only had 2 punts in that category. He needs to figure some things out if he wants to validate why he won the Ticat's starting position.

  • Richie Leone performed well, averaging 52.4 yards over 5 punts, the best he's done all season. He is trending in an upward direction, with 3 of his punts (60%) travelling over 50 yards and 2 of them remaining inside the 20-yard line. He did have 1 punt blocked and accrued a penalty on a punt return when he was flagged for unnecessary roughness.

 

Kickoff Specialists

There were 29 kickoffs this week with specialists accumulating 1,859 yards, or an average of 64.1 yards per kickoff attempt. We saw 7 of those 29 kickoffs remain inside the opponent's 30-yard line, which is an increase of almost 10% from last week (5/33). Here are the CFL Week 7 Kickoff Specialist Power Rankings;

  • Boris Bede continues to dominate Kickoffs, averaging 70.8 yards on 5 kickoffs with 2 more remaining inside the opponent's 30-yard line. He leads the league in kickoff average and its benefits are extremely apparent as Bede is able to keep his opponents deep in their own territory 45% of the time. He deserves more love for this statistic.

  • René Paredes is suddenly figuring out the trick to kickoffs, averaging 68.8 yards per kickoff with 4 of them (66%) remaining inside the 30-yard line. If he can consistently get 67+ yards on his kickoffs I suspect he will remain in the top of our Power Rankings.

  • Brett Lauther had his only kickoff go for 64 yards but was helped by his coverage team and it was kept inside the 30-yard line. He also had 1 onside attempt that ended up not being recovered by the kicking team.

 

Kickoff Returners

We also saw 29 kickoff returns in Week 7, averaging roughly 20.4 yards per return. There were 4 "big" returns of over 30 yards, with the long of the week being 71 yards. Here are the CFL Week 7 Kickoff Returner Power Rankings;

  • Tyreik McAllister returned 4 kickoffs for an average of 38.3 yards per return. He had a long of 71 yards and 2 of his punts go for more than 30 yards. An impressive night for the CFL newbie.

  • CJ Sims didn't play super well, dropping him in the Power Rankings, as he returned 3 punts for an average of just 19 yards per return.

  • Clark Barnes averaged 22 yards per return over 5 kickoffs. He had 1 go for 34 yards and is starting to show some flashes of greatness at the returner position.

 

Punt Returners

For the third week in a row, there were 41 punt returns. Quite the coincidence. This week returners were able to accumulate 439 yards, averaging 10.7 yards per return with 6 returns (14.6%)being longer than 15 yards. Here are the CFL Week 7 Punt Returner Power Rankings;

  • Tommylee Lewis has been one of the most exciting returners to watch in the last two weeks. He returned 5 kickoffs this week, for an average of 17.8 yards with 2 returns (40%) going over 15 yards.

  • Terry Williams had another return fumble that was lost during one of his 7 punt returns, where he averaged about 12.3 yards per return.

  • Mario Alford had a quiet game, returning 7 punts for just 53 yards, with an average of 7.6 yards per return.

 

Coverage Teams

Coverage Teams allowed an average of 10.7 yards over 41 punt returns, which is the exact average for units across the CFL through 7 weeks. They allowed an average of 20.4 yards on 29 kickoff returns, which is slightly lower than the average of 21 yards allowed per kickoff thus far. There was 1 blocked punt, as well as 15 penalties handed out during the 4 games. Here are the CFL Week 7 Coverage Team Power Rankings;

  • The Calgary Stampeders allowed just 1 yard on their single punt return and an average of just 16.2 yards on 6 kickoff returns. While they had a blocked punt recorded, they accrued another 3 penalties during the game. I would like to see them limit the number of yards allowed on kickoff returns before we see them climb in the Power Rankings.

  • The B.C. Lions completely shut down one of the CFL's best returners this week; Mario Alford. They allowed an average of just 7.6 yards on 7 punt returns and an average of 16.3 yards on 3 kickoff returns. If they can start to put together more games like this while keeping their penalties allowed, they will surely climb the Power Rankings.

  • Ottawa REDBLACKS had their worst game of the 2023 Season, allowing an average of 17.8 yards on 5 punt returns and an average of 22 yards on 5 kickoff returns. While their yardage allowed is high for them, it sits at roughly the league average, which shows just how well they've been performing all year.

 

Long Snappers

The league highlighted 33 Long Snaps this week, which is above average for the CFL, who have shown 188 long snaps through 7 weeks, an average of 27 snaps per week. Of the 33 long snaps that were reviewed, 32 of them were considered Strikes (97%) which is the highest Strike Percentage we've seen since the start of the CFL! Here are the CFL Week 7 Long Snapper Power Rankings;

  • Aaron Crawford was the only Long Snapper to record a Ball this week, which is surprising.

  • Jorgen Hus recorded another perfect 5 snaps this week. He continues to be extremely reliable for the Roughriders.

  • We need to see more snaps from Louis-Philippe Bourassa and Adam Guillemette before we can accurately rank them.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my work.


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