August 14, 2012
CFL Blitz: Boyd makes rare switch in CFL mid-season
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
CALGARY - So what can we expect from the Edmonton Eskimos now that they added a power running back who consistently puts up 1,000-yard seasons?
The last time they added one mid-season, it worked out well for those in Eskimoland.
Back in 2005, the Eskies made a massive trade to land Troy Davis from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
All Davis did that season was rush for 359 yards in four games with the Esks and then for another 202 in three playoff games as the club captured its second Grey Cup in three seasons.
With the Eskimos getting Cory Boyd off the scrap heap this week, they are adding to their offence without giving up a bounty like they did in '05.
If Boyd continues doing what he did for the Toronto Argonauts over two-plus seasons -- chewing up yardage -- he could be the first in CFL history to win a rushing title and play with two teams in the same year.
Only Davis (with 1,147 yards between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Eskimos) and Richard Holmes (with 1,016 yards with the Argos and the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1977) have played with two teams in one season and still hit the magical 1,000-yard barrier.
There are many instances when No. 1 running backs have switched teams and failed to maintain their level of success. The most recent example is when Joe Smith (B.C. Lions) and Charles Roberts (Winnipeg Blue Bombers) were traded for each other midway through the 2008 season.
It is much more common for receivers to switch teams and still hit the 1,00-yard mark, but it's still rare.
The most notable one was David Williams getting traded from the Esks to the Argos in September 1991. Williams had 552 yards and 6 TDs for the Argos in seven late-season games, helping them win the Grey Cup.
The other players to hit the 1,000-yard mark in receiving and switch teams (a feat Arland Bruce came within 141 yards of doing last season between the Tiger-Cats and the Lions) are Ron Robinso, who did it twice in 1983 (the Roughriders and the Montreal Concordes) and '84 (the Concordes and the Lions), Larry Willis ('90 with the Lions and the Esks), Larry Thompson ('95 with the Ticats), Nigel Williams ('98 with the Montreal Alouettes and the Argos) and Chris Armstrong ('98 with the Als and the Bombers).
What is crazier, the nine players the Eskimos have from the state of Louisiana or the nine former Toronto Argonauts now suiting up for the Edmonton club? With the addition of RB Cory Boyd this week and DL Claude Wroten last week, the Esks are chock full of former Boatmen, so Boyd should fit in well with the team. That number would be 10 if you include Damaso Munoz, who was on the Argos practice roster before being included in a trade to the Eskimos. The other former Argos now with the Eskies are Kerry Joseph, Steven Jyles, Etienne Legare, Grant Shaw, Brian Ramsay, Delroy Clarke and Tyler Scott ... SB Nik Lewis will never get to find out how much he could have commanded on the open market. The Calgary Stampeders locked up their leading receiver last week, so the veteran won't be going to free-agency next February. His new deal likely means he will retire with the Stamps, as Lewis has often stated he only has three or so years left ... The Stamps could have a future star in their making. Jimmy Ralph, the younger brother of Brock and Brett, caught two TD passes in his junior football debut with the Calgary Colts. Jimmy is a spitting image of Brett but may even be better than the five-year Stampeders receiver who retired in 2010. Jimmy is currently running routes at Stamps practices ... The Stamps are now 6-0 coming out of bye-weeks since 2007. Make note for next year ... Good news out of the CFL office. Referee Andre Proulx, who collapsed on the field with a mild heart attack June 30 in Edmonton, is doing well and should be back in action by the end of the month.
FOUR RENEGADES REMAIN
And Obby Khan makes four.
While the majority of former Ottawa Renegades have been weeded out with time, there are now four remaining on active CFL rosters.
Even six years later, there are connections to the defunct team that had a four-year run ending in 2006.
Khan's signing with the Calgary Stampeders on Tuesday brings back one of the Gades who was in retirement.
The number was seven just last year, and it the current count could increase if defensive lineman Matt Kirk and/or offensive linemen George Hudson and Alex Gauthier were to return from 'retirement.'
Current Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Kerry Joseph is the most successful former Renegades player, having captured the CFL's most outstanding player award in 2007 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but one could argue that cornerback Korey Banks has enjoyed a better career. Banks is a perennial all-Canadian with the B.C. Lions.
The other former Renegades player left has landed closer to Ottawa than ever before. Offensive lineman Marc Parenteau signed with the Toronto Argonauts this season after years with the Roughriders.
Of course, there is one connection to the Ottawa Rough Riders, a team that went under after the 1996 season.
Paul McCallum is the lone former Riders member left in the CFL, but the veteran kicker is better known as a former Roughriders star.
BOOTS BIG THIS SEASON
This might be the golden age of kicking, which is fitting because the standard was set by a player in his golden years.
A year ago, Paul McCallum had a dream season for the B.C. Lions. At age 41, the wily veteran missed just three field-goal attempts all year, and none of them were within 40 yards of the goal-posts.
McCallum easily won CFL special-teams player-of-the-year honours, and he raised the bar for kickers around the league.
The youngsters have stepped up to the challenge.
There are three players on pace for just three misses this season in Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Justin Palardy, Calgary Stampeders' Rene Paredes and Hamilton Tiger-Cats' Luca Congi.
Back 10 years ago, McCallum and his 82.4% efficiency would have him easily leading the league at this point in the season. Now "¦ he's sixth.
Over the past few years, there's been turnover in the kicking department, but the league looks like it's in good hands now.
Palardy was a draft pick in 2010 by the Ticats, but he was released and quickly caught on with the Blue Bombers, setting the team record for accuracy that season by booting 86.7% of his field-goal attempts.
Paredes won an open tryout last year with the Stamps after Rob Maver went down with injury, and his first attempt was good from 50 yards out. This year, he's been even better, as his only miss is from 51 yards out.
Congi has only attempted nine kicks, but he's made eight of them in a great comeback story after missing last season with a knee injury.
Montreal Alouettes' Sean Whyte, who was McCallum's understudy for four years, has missed on 49- and 54-yard attempts this season or he would be perfect, as well.
Even Grant Shaw, who the Edmonton Eskimos picked up in the Ricky Ray trade, has only missed once from inside the 45-yard line -- from 31 yards out -- as he's solidified that position in E-town.
Even teams that were struggling to hit field goals -- the Toronto Argonauts and the Saskatchewan Roughriders -- made moves to shore up their situations. Import Swayze Waters has missed a pair of 46-yarders in going of 7-of-9 in three games.
And the Riders went out and replaced Chris Milo with the league's most accurate kicker of all-time, Sandro DeAngelis.
All these players with great averages have a long ways to go to equal what McCallum did last year, but the future of kicking looks bright.
On Twitter @SUNIanBusby