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  • Writer's pictureNoah Beausoleil

CFL Special Teams Power Rankings - A Week 9 Review

From season-record-tying field goals to new Long Snappers, Week 9 was an absolute treat to watch. Let's discuss how the CFL Special Teams units performed in this week's review;

 

Kickers

Kickers made 22 of their 26 field goal attempts (84.6%) this week and went 13/14 on PATs. The 5 misses in Week 9 match the record-high for missed kicks in the 2023 CFL Season. With that being said, Kickers across the CFL are 170/191 on field goals (89%) and have made 17 field goals of 50+ yards. Here are the CFL Week 9 Kicker Power Rankings;

  • René Paredes extended his field goal streak to 15 after going 2/2 this week. This is the second-longest active streak in the CFL through 9 weeks.

  • Lewis Ward unfortunately went 5/6 on field goals and 1/1 on PATs this week. He had a long of 51 yards and his only miss on the night was from 54 yards. Not only did he score 16 of the REDBLACK's 24 points, but he also made an 8-yard field goal when it mattered most to put Ottawa up 24-23 with only 1 minute left on the clock, for which he was rewarding 1 "Clutch" point.

  • Sean Whyte continues to impress, going 2/2 on field goals this week with a long of 47 yards.

  • David Côté had another large workload this week, going 4/6 on field goals and 1/1 on PATs. While he did miss 2 field goals, he also scored 13 of the Alouette's 24 points in their comeback win against Hamilton and matched his season-long of 51 yards! He is now 2/2 on 50+ yard field goals this year.

  • Marc Liegghio's reign of terror on opposing teams has finally been snuffed out as he goes 2/3 on field goals. He has missed for the first time this season (from 50+ yards) and not a single kicker is left at 100%. His 16-straight field goal streak has sadly come to an end.

  • Brett Lauther was a perfect 4/4 on field goals and 2/2 on PATs. While 2 of his field goals were "gimmies" from under 20 yards, his long on the day actually tied the 2023 Season Field Goal Record! With just 10 seconds left on the clock, Jogen Hus snapped the ball cleanly to Adam Korsak, who had no issues with the hold, and Lauther nailed a 54-yard game-winner against the REDBLACKs. While I have criticized Brett Lauther in the past for his 5 missed field goals if there's one thing you should know about Brett Lauther; it's that he hits the ones that count. By my tally, he now has 5 Clutch kicks on the season, which leads the CFL. He also had this fun 18-yard Fake Field Goal Attempt that got his team a first down!

 

Punters

There were 46 punts in Week 9, the lowest number of punts we've seen in a single week thus far. The Punters around the league made sure to make their opportunities count, as they averaged a season-high 49.7 yards and 39 net yards per punt. With such a high average, it isn't surprising to see that they also had a season-high number of 50+ yard punts at 24, which equates to roughly 52% of all punts. There were 17 punts (37%) that landed inside the 20-yard line with 8 of those landing inside the 10. Here are the CFL Week 9 Punter Power Rankings;

  • Cody Grace averaged an impressive 52 yards and 41.7 net yards across 7 punts. He had 2 punts (28.6%) remaining inside the 20-yard line, including a punt that remained inside the 10-yard line. It's plain to see how Grace was able to have such a high average of yards per punt when you consider that over 70% of his punts were over 50 yards. He also leads the league in average yards per punt with 49.9 yards.

  • If you thought Grace had a good night; Richie Leone somehow averaged 56.7 yards and 47.9 net yards per punt, across 7 punts. An incredible 4 of his punts (57%) remained inside the 20-yard line, including 2 punts remaining inside the 10-yard line. Leone only had 1 single, which is impressive as he was able to put the ball exactly where he wanted it the majority of the time. He also had 6 of his punts (85.7%) travel over 50 yards. Look, Leone has been having an incredible few weeks. I don't know what happened at the start of the season but ever since Week 6, he has been trouble for opposing teams averaging the most net yards per punt in the CFL at 40.9 net yards

  • Jamieson Shaehan averaged 46.5 yards and 37.8 net yards per punt over 4 punts this week, with 2 of them remaining inside the 10-yard line.

 

Long Snappers

While we didn't get to see 40 Long Snaps this week but we were treated to 34 of them. Of those 34 snaps that were highlighted, I counted 29 of them as strikes (85%) which is below average on the season. Here are the CFL Week 9 Long Snapper Power Rankings;

  • Riley Pickett has been incredibly consistent in the past 3 weeks with all 14 of his highlighted long snaps being marked as strikes. His kicker is performing well and his punter is playing decently enough to justify him moving up into the Second Position.

  • Jogen Hus is back to form, with all 5 of his snaps being marked as strikes after his first "ball" in 25 attempts.

  • Aaron Crawford was listed as questionable early in the week and so the Calgary Stampeders brought in ex-Argonaut Long Snapper Maxime Latour. Latour is only in the Ninth Position because of how little film we have on him. He is wearing #53 and here is his first long snapping highlight with the Stamps. I really like Maxime and think he is a good short-term solution for Calgary. If he does well, I suspect they may even keep him around on the practice squad.

 

Kickoff Specialists

We only saw Specialists make a season-low 18 kickoffs this week, averaging 66.2 yards per attempt. Of those 18 kickoffs, only 3 of them (16.7%) remained inside the 20-yard line. Here are the CFL Week 9 Kickoff Specialist Power Rankings;

  • Boris Bede averaged 73 yards on 2 kickoffs with 1 remaining inside the 30-yard line.

  • Brett Lauther averaged 67.3 yards on 4 kickoffs and had 2 of those remaining inside the 30-yard line.

  • Sean Whyte came in for an onside attempt late in the game against the Bombers this week. It was not successful. He was also accredited 1 kickoff but I was unable to verify if it was truly him performing. I will credit him with this kickoff at this time.

  • Lewis Ward was notated for 3 kickoffs but after reviewing the game tape I can confirm this is an error by the CFL. Richie Leone did all 3 kickoffs.

  • Jake Julien is being done a disservice if he isn't allowed to take over kickoff duties from Dean Faithfull. He has a huge leg and averaged about 67 yards in his latest private workout.

 

Kickoff Returners

Kickoff Returners had one heck of a week, averaging 25.5 yards per return on 26 attempts. They had 8 returns (30.8%) go for more than 30 yards and had a long of 62 yards. Here are the CFL Week 9 Kickoff Returner Power Rankings;

  • Mario Alford averaged 32 yards on his 2 returns, with a long of 37 yards.

  • Terry Williams averaged 32.5 yards per kickoff return on 6 attempts. He had a long of 62 yards with 3 of his returns (50%) going longer than 30 yards.

  • Tyreik McAllister was held to just 21.3 yards per return on 3 attempts. He did get 1 return over 30 yards. McAllister leads the league in average kickoff yards, averaging about 29 yards per return. Here is some backstory on Tyreik from Sarah Said.

 

Punt Returners

This week we saw some Punt Returners elevate themselves to elite status and some others get completely engulfed by the opponent's coverage team. On 36 punt returns, Punt Returners averaged 10.4 yards per return, with 7 of those returns (19.4%) travelling further than 15 yards. Unfortunately, we did see 3 different Punt Returners fumble the ball. Here are the CFL Week 9 Punt Returner Power Rankings;

  • Javon Leke is officially the best Punt Returner in the CFL. Despite his 1 fumble this week, he still averaged 10.3 yards per return and is averaging 14.3 yards per return on the year. I love to see him continue to thrive.

  • Mario Alford was kept in check by a stout Ottawa Coverage Team and was only able to muster an average of 3.7 yards and a long of 7 yards on 6 returns.

  • Janarion Grant is not healthy yet, but Winnipeg is surely anxiously waiting on his return. He looks to be healing up well and is no longer wearing a walking boot on his foot.

  • Tommylee Lewis averaged 10.6 yards per return on 7 attempts with 2 of his returns (29%) going for more than 15 yards.

  • Tobias Harris had his PR debut for the REDBLACKS this week and was able to average 16.8 yards per return with 2 of those returns going for more than 15 yards. We'll have to see if this is a pace he can keep up.

 

Coverage Teams

Coverage Teams across the CFL played decently against punt returners, allowing an average of 10.4 yards per punt across 36 attempts. They had their worst week yet against Kickoff Returners, allowing an average of 25.5 yards per kickoff on 26 attempts. There were also 11 penalties handed out this week, which have been re-weighed to matter a bit more in the Power Rankings. Here are the CFL Week 9 Coverage Team Power Rankings;

  • The Ottawa REDBLACKS is starting to get back to form, allowing an average of just 3.7 yards per punt return (from Mario Alford might I add) but struggled on kickoffs, allowing an average of 29 yards on 3 kickoff returns. With only 1 penalty given to them this week, they will remain in the First Position.

  • The Toronto Argonauts allowed an average of 10.6 yards on 7 punt returns and an average of 22.5 yards on 2 kickoff returns. They also only received 1 penalty this week. Jack Cassar was able to recover a fumble and get the ball back for the Argos.

  • The Hamilton Tiger-Cats allowed an average of 11 yards on 5 punt returns and an average of 21.7 yards on 3 kickoff returns. They received another 3 penalties and are now the most penalized coverage team in the CFL.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my work.


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