NFL experience doesn't translate

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:11 AM ET

Call it yet another failed NFL-related experiment.

When suspended NFL running back Ricky Williams signed with the Toronto Argonauts, someone suggested that he would rush for as much as 4,000 yards this CFL season. Williams had 231 yards on 57 carries in five games before suffering a fractured arm. And the presence of the Miami Dolphins' property, who once tore up the NFL, has not even translated to increased attendance at the Rogers Centre.

That had some recalling the days when the Montreal Alouettes signed such high-profile NFL types as quarterback Vince Ferragamo, receiver Billy (White Shoes) Johnson and running back David Overstreet. Not only did that experiment also fail miserably, the Als declared bankruptcy the following season (1982).

"A lot of people underestimate how good our game is," ex-Als receiver Peter Dalla Riva told the Montreal Gazette recently. "It's much more wide open and you have to be a better all-round athlete (than an NFLer) ...

"They thought all the NFL guys were going to come up here and tear up the league. It's the American way to always think they're the best."

Williams has actually had a negative effect on the Argos, Dalla Riva suggested.

"He upset the apple cart in Toronto," he said. "They're a veteran team that won the Grey Cup two years ago and I think his arrival disrupted the team."

YAWNERS: Having said that, the plays that excite crowds have been fewer and farther between this CFL season, resulting in more NFL-like outings.

"You just don't have the big plays on offence any more because it's hard to go over the top," Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris told the Calgary Herald. "There's a lot of 10- and 12-play drives and that's what defences want you to do. They're playing a lot of that Cover 4 (four men deep) -- not allowing the deep stuff.

"In the CFL game, your percentages dip when you have to go 10, 12 plays because you get impatient. There's so much field to work with and you want to take that shot."

Both passing yardage and passing touchdowns per game are down from this point last year.

HASHMARKS: Hamilton offensive co-ordinator Joe Paopao suffered a sprained ankle when a player fell on him on the sidelines during the loss to the Roughriders in Regina. Ironically, Paopao had come down from the spotters' booth for the second half ... Argo WR Shockmain Davis (knee) is likely gone for the season ... Toronto QB Damon Allen was allowed to call his own plays the last two games, both wins.


Videos

Photos