The Canadian Football League is back and the conversations around the offensive line units around the league have already started to swirl, of course, I have to jump in on the conversation.
9. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
I feel like I don’t need to explain my position on this, but I will. If you didn’t see, the Tiger-Cats had a disastrous start to the season against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The Ticats’ offensive line gave up a whopping eight sacks to seven different players, and three of the eight sacks resulted in three fumbles by Dave Evans (two) and Matthew Shiltz (one) throughout the game. Add the sacks to the team finishing with a total of 26 rushing yards on 11 carries, it was not a good week for the Ticats offensive line.
Hamilton looks to redeem themselves Saturday when they host the Stampeders at 6:30 pm eastern.
8. Edmonton Elks
Elks fans should be thankful that Hamilton’s offensive line had such a bad game or they would be at the ninth spot on this list. A plethora of issues plagued the offensive line for the elks that resulted in them giving up four sacks and only 52 rushing yards on 12 carries, but none as damaging as the four Interceptions that were caused by the BC Lions defence getting pressure on either Nick Arbuckle or Tre Ford.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Elks, as they host the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday.
7. Montréal Alouettes
The Alouettes didn’t have the worst game statistically speaking Thursday night in Calgary, only giving up three sacks as they were able to generate 109 rushing yards on 10 carries between Jeshrun Antwi and William Stanback, but if it wasn’t for Vernon Adams Jr.’s ability to move out of the pocket, that sack number could look a lot different.
With Stanback out with injury for the foreseeable future, the Alouettes will need to do a better job at giving more time to Adams going forward.
6. Saskatchewan Roughriders
The Roughriders got the win Saturday night against Hamilton, but it was in spite of their offensive line. The unit didn’t surrender any sacks but that was more because of Cody Fajardo rushing 10 times for 42 yards than their ability to keep pressure away.
The unit consistently got pushed back in run blocking and had gap control issues the majority of the night. With no true number one back, they will need to gain more push or teams will be able to sit back and force Fajardo to win games.
5. Toronto Argonauts
Week one bye has the Argonauts’ offensive unit in limbo. With veteran lineman Philip Blake and Dariusz Bladek leading the unit, they should be an aggressive and physical unit.
The first test comes Thursday when they host Montréal.
4. BC Lions
Honestly, if you told me that the BC Lions would put up five total rushing touchdowns and 187 total rushing yards, I wouldn’t believe you. The team’s biggest question mark heading to the season delivered against the Elks. No sacks given up and dominated consistently in both pass and run blocking, this offensive line could end up being a lot better than people thought.
With a week two bye, we will have to wait until week three to see this unit back in action, but right now, there are a lot of reasons to be cautiously optimistic about this offensive line if I was a Lions fan.
3. Calgary Stampeders
The Stampeders gave up only one sack and helped the running back duo of Ka’Deem Carey and Dedrick Mills generate a total of 88 rushing yards on 15 carries. Bringing back Derek Dennis at left tackle to pair with third-year left-guard Zach Williams has paid early dividends, and should only continue to improve with more reps.
No matter who is at quarterback in week two, this offensive line will be the difference-maker all year long.
2. Ottawa Redblacks
What more do I need to say? The 2022 Ottawa Redblacks have four linemen who made their Ottawa debut on Friday night when they visited the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Ottawa shook a little bit and got caught on some stunts, but the overall play was very impressive, giving up only one sack to a defence that features Adam Bighill and Willie Jefferson.
With a week one rematch in week two, they have their hands full to try and continue to contain Jefferson, but the growth of this unit is going to be noticeable week to week.
1. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Arguably the best offensive line unit since the 2019 season, led by left-tackle Stanley Bryant struggled to get going in the run game but dominated in the passing game. Giving up zero sacks on 29 pass attempts is a solid confidence boost to start the season.
In week two, the Bombers pay a visit to the nation’s capital, where they will look to re-establish their run dominance and continue to force teams to send the house to get to the quarterback.
The offensive line power rankings will be updated every week and stay tuned for more offensive line content coming your way throughout the season.
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