CFL Team of the Week – Preseason Week 1

For the first time this season, we bring to you the CFL Team of the Week! Admittedly, doing this for the preseason is exceptionally difficult with just one game being broadcasted this week, but there were some obviously great performances that deserve to be shouted out!

Each week, 13th Man Sports will nominate 12 players to be named to the CFL Team of the Week. It will feature five players on offence; one quarterback, one running back, two receivers, and one offensive line, decided by a whole team, not individual players. Five more players come on defence, with two defensive linemen, one linebacker, and two defensive backs. The final two spots belong to special teams players, with one kicker and one kick/punt returner being featured each week.

Quarterback

Nick Arbuckle (Edmonton Elks)

Nick Arbuckle, Edmonton Elks – John Woods / THE CANADIAN PRESS

For a player who wasn’t listed as the starter when the Edmonton Elks released their depth chart, Nick Arbuckle put on one hell of a performance. Despite being listed as the second quarterback, Arbuckle started the game with the first-stringers in Winnipeg on Friday night. In a battle for the Elks’ starting job, Arbuckle likely gave head coach Chris Jones some confidence, as he completed nine of his 10 passes for 145 yards, throwing two touchdowns, and critically, no interceptions. On the ground, Arbuckle contributed six yards on two carries.

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Running Back

Jackson Bennett (Ottawa Redblacks)

Jackson Bennett, formerly of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats – Via Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Jackson Bennett may not have had the best numbers out of all the running backs to take the field in the first week of the preseason, but when push came to shove and the Ottawa Redblacks needed a big play to help win them the game, Bennett was there. On just seven rushes, Bennett picked up 62 yards, with his biggest play of the night coming on a 40-yard run late in the game to get the Redblacks down to Toronto’s one-yard line. His run featured plenty of broken tackles and juke moves, and essentially won Ottawa the game. In the air, Bennett was only called on once, catching one ball for nine yards.

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Receivers

Jalin Marshall (Edmonton Elks)

Jalin Marshall, Edmonton Elks – Via Buckeye Sports

It’s not too frequently a receiver is called on as many times as the Edmonton Elks called on Jalin Marshall in the preseason. The former Ohio State Buckeye was targeted seven times in the Elks’ win over the Blue Bombers, hauling in six of them for 83 yards. The small-bodied receiver does have experience in the CFL previously, with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, so perhaps this is the start of a breakout season for Marshall.

Krishawn Hogan (Montreal Alouettes)

If you thought seven targets was a lot for Marshall, how about 12 balls being thrown the way of Krishawn Hogan in the Montreal Alouettes loss on Saturday night? The six-foot-three rookie receiver caught 11 of the passes thrown his way, finishing the game with 102 yards, but no touchdowns. It’s clear that Hogan was open more often than not, and for the Alouettes, there could be yet another weapon at their disposal if this game was any indication of what’s to come.

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Offensive Line (By Team)

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

With the Winnipeg Blue Bombers resting a large portion of their starters in the first week of the preseason, they got back to doing what has made them back-to-back Grey Cup champions; protecting the quarterback. Between Dru Brown and Dakota Prukop, Bombers’ quarterbacks were sacked just one time, showing that even with backups playing in the preseason, the Blue Bombers know how to protect their pivots.

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Defensive Line

Tre Hornbuckle (Ottawa Redblacks)

Tre Hornbuckle, Ottawa Redblacks – Frankie Benvenuti / 13th Man Sports

Another member of the Ottawa Redblacks cracks the list. This time, it’s defensive lineman Tre Hornbuckle, who made life difficult for Argonauts’ quarterbacks all night long. Hornbuckle won’t wow you with his stats this week, registering just two tackles and a sack, but his presence was felt every time he was on the field. He made the Argos’ backfield his territory, and there were more than a couple of times he forced the quarterback to make his decision before he would have liked to.

Cole Adamson (Winnipeg Blue Bombers)

Not only did the Winnipeg Blue Bombers protect their quarterback, but they also got after the opposing quarterbacks. Cole Adamson was one of the Bombers’ key contributors when it came to the pass rush, finishing the game with two tackles and one sack.

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Line Backers

Malik Clements (Winnipeg Blue Bombers)

Another member of the Blue Bombers cracks the list, this time, it’s linebacker Malik Clements. Clements finished the game as the team’s leading special teams tackler with two, but also pitched in heavily on the defensive side. He ended the game tied for second on the team in defensive tackles with two, and also got into the backfield, sacking the quarterback once.

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Defensive Backs

Jamal Peters (Toronto Argonauts)

Jamal Peters did work in the Toronto Argonauts’ defensive backfield in Ottawa on Friday night. Unquestionably the highlight of the night for the 25-year-old came when he picked off Redblacks’ quarterback Tyrie Adams and took it to the house for a touchdown. Peters wasn’t quiet outside of that play either, as he picked up four tackles, including a quarterback sack.

Scott Hunter (Edmonton Elks)

Unless you are a hardcore fan of the Edmonton Elks’ special teams, you might not be too familiar with Scott Hunter. Hunter has spent the past two seasons in Edmonton, primarily playing special teams, but on Friday night, he got the chance to make an impact on the defensive side of the ball. The former member of the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks secured an interception, while also picking up seven tackles, and two more tackles playing his familiar role on kick coverage.

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Kicker

Gregory Hutchins (Edmonton Elks)

There are definitely a couple of kickers around the league that you could make the argument of deserving to be on this list, but Gregory Hutchins tops the list. On three field goal attempts, Hutchins converted on all of them, with the longest coming from 44 yards out. Not only was Hutchins good on his placekicks, he also did a good job of punting, finishing the game with three punts, averaging just over 46 yards. Hutchins also added a couple of kickoffs to his preseason resume.

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Kick/Punt Returner

Shawn Bane Jr. (Calgary Stampeders)

Shawn Bane Jr., Calgary Stampeders – THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jeff McIntosh

It was an easy choice to pick a kick returner this week. There was only one player in the league who broke one for a touchdown, and it was Shawn Bane Jr. of the Calgary Stampeders. Bane was busy during the Stamps’ beatdown of the Lions, returning two punts, a kickoff, and a missed field goal. By far his most productive return was his touchdown, coming on a punt return. On his two punt returns, Bane averaged 42 yards and scored a touchdown.


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