CFL Team of the Week – Week 2

Week two in the Canadian Football League was possibly one of the most exciting weeks of regular-season action that we have seen in a very long time, with the combined margin of victory across all four games being just 21 points, with the biggest margin being 10 points in any game. It left us with plenty of great performances to choose from, and unlike last week, the Team of the Week isn’t dominated by BC Lions players. Here’s who our deserving picks are!

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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

Bo Levi Mitchell (Calgary Stampeders)

Bo Levi Mitchell, Calgary Stampeders – Jeff McIntosh / CP

With the Calgary Stampeders trailing 24-3 at halftime against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, it seemed like we were closer to Jake Maier being named the starting quarterback than we were seeing Bo Levi Mitchell make the Team of the Week. Mitchell helped the Stampeders in their massive comeback, winning the game 33-30 in overtime. He completed 28 of his 42 passes for 313 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, but what gets him on this list was his ability to take over in the second half of the game. We got to see the Mitchell of old, and if that’s how he is going to play for the rest of the season, buckle up, it’s going to be a hell of a year for the Stampeders.

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Running Back

Jamal Morrow (Saskatchewan Roughriders

Jamal Morrow, Saskatchewan Roughriders

In week one, Jamal Morrow was absolutely gobbled up as the Saskatchewan Roughriders failed to establish any kind of running game. In week two, however, Morrow ran roughshod over the Edmonton Elks, piling up 126 yards and a touchdown on just 17 carries. Morrow averaged 7.1 yards per carry, and with his longest run of the night being just 19 yards, you can tell, even just by looking at the stats, that he was picking up chunks of yardage nearly every single time he touched the ball. His ability to pick up chunk yards on the ground helped add an additional wrinkle to the Riders’ offence, and if that can continue, it will only make them a more complete offensive football team.

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Receivers

Tim White (Hamilton Tiger-Cats)

Tim White was an absolute animal for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in their loss to the Calgary Stampeders. His quarterback, Dane Evans, threw the ball 51 times as the Cats were unable to establish a running game, but the added pressure didn’t stop White from having a big game. Evans targeted White 14 times, and the second-year receiver hauled in 11 of those passes, amassing 131 yards and a touchdown. Still, the effort wasn’t quite enough to score the Tabbies their first win of the season.

Kenny Lawler (Edmonton Elks)

Kenny Lawler, Edmonton Elks

One of the highest-paid players in the Canadian Football League was largely held off the stat sheet in week one against the Lions, but in week two with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in town, Kenny Lawler showed everyone exactly why the Elks backed up the Brinks truck in the offseason. Lawler was targeted an astounding 17 times by his quarterback Nick Arbuckle, and hauled in 12 of those passes for 149 yards. He also scored a touchdown on a fantastic catch at the back of the endzone in the second quarter that, at the time, helped give the Elks the lead on the ensuing extra-point attempt.

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Offensive Line (By Team)

Calgary Stampeders

One of the reasons that Mitchell is this week’s quarterback of the week is his offensive line. Coming into the season, there were some questions surrounding them, after a pair of players retired before the season started, but so far, they have proven those doubts wrong. Anchored by veteran presences like Derek Dennis and Sean McEwan, and with some talented youth in Julian Good-Jones and Ryan Sceviour, they have been just fine so far. They allowed Mitchell time in the pocket, and they allowed Peyton Logan a chance to figure things out on the ground. All in all, this was a tidy week for the Stampeders’ big boys.

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Defensive Line

Shawn Lemon (Calgary Stampeders)

Shawn Lemon, Calgary Stampeders – Candice Ward / Stampeders.com

If you can’t tell by now, it was a good week for the Calgary Stampeders. Shawn Lemon has clearly found his home after being released by the Edmonton Elks just weeks before the start of the 2021 season, and once again on Saturday, he was a force. Lemon finished the game as the only member of the Stampeders to get into the Tiger-Cats backfield and sack the quarterback. Not only did he get the sack on the play, but he also stripped the ball from Evans, before it was eventually recovered by the Tiger-Cats. Lemon added another tackle, to finish the game with two.

Nick Usher (Montreal Alouettes)

For the Montreal Alouettes, it was a night to forget in Toronto on Thursday, but for Nick Usher, that isn’t the case. Usher was swarming the Argonauts’ offensive line, and was shutting down their run game whenever the chance presented itself. The play of the night, however, came when Usher easily snaked his way into the Toronto backfield, punishing McLeod Bethel-Thompson with a massive (and very clean) hit, popping the ball loose. It was recovered by Montreal. Usher’s night ended with four tackles, one sack, and that forced fumble, although he’s probably not too thrilled with the game as a whole.

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Linebacker

Larry Dean (Saskatchewan Roughriders)

If there’s a better story than Larry Dean’s return to the CFL, I dare you to find it. Dean missed the entire 2021 season due to an Achilles injury before training camp, meaning he had missed two full years of football when he finally stepped back on the field for the 2022 season. Now, he’s back out there flying around and being effective for the Riders. In week two, Dean sacked Arbuckle, stripping the ball before it was recovered by Saskatchewan. He was also making plays in the open field, securing seven tackles. It’s really good to see him back on the field, although I don’t think opposing offences would feel the same.

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Defensive Backs

Tunde Adeleke (Hamilton Tiger-Cats)

Hamilton Tiger-Cats Tunde Adeleke is seen during a practice prior to the 107th Grey Cup in Calgary, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. (Nathan Denette/CP)

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats made Tunde Adeleke one of their top priorities in the offseason, and so far this season, it’s really not hard to see why. In week two, the Carleton alum was a monster on the defensive side of the ball. Adeleke wracked up 10, yes, 10 tackles in the contest, and mixed in a massive hit to break up a pass. It was a high-impact hit that looked questionable at first, but upon further look, it was clean, and was one of the most textbook breakups you will see this season. If that wasn’t enough for you, how about an interception to boot? What a week it was for Adeleke.

Titus Wall (Calgary Stampeders)

When you get contributions from your rookies as the Stampeders did from Titus Wall on Saturday, it makes your life a lot easier. Wall’s week two performance is somewhat of a statistical anomaly, as he finished the game with six tackles, an interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a touchdown to boot. Tiger-Cats fans didn’t like that the officials didn’t rule forward progress had been stopped on Wall’s strip where he ran back for a touchdown, but what’s done is done. What can’t be denied is how well Wall played for the Stamps when they needed it the most in this game.

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Kicker/Punter

Rene Paredes (Calgary Stampeders)

Rene Paredes, Calgary Stampeders – Geoff Robins / CFL.ca

Rene Paredes caps off what is the second big week in a row for Stampeders on this list. Their fifth player ties the record for most players on the team with five, the same number the BC Lions had in week one. Paredes hit all four of his field-goal attempts, including a critical one in overtime that eventually proved to be the game-winning points. That feat becomes even more impressive when you consider the innate challenge of kicking those field goals at Tim Horton’s Field, where the winds are notorious for changing directions and being unpredictable. Still, one of the best kickers in CFL history was perfect on the night, giving the Stamps the edge in what ended up being a really close game.

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Kick/Punt Returner

Janorion Grant (Winnipeg Blue Bombers)

For the second time in as many weeks, the kick returner spot was a difficult one to decide. There was no clear-cut favourite, and no one really did much to separate themselves from the pack, but after some consideration, Janorion Grant was the only man for the spot. Grant was effective whenever he got the ball, returning a punt for 10 yards, a kickoff for 29 yards, and a missed field goal for 49 yards. He flipped the field quite well for the Bombers while the offence spun its wheels, but he gave them a chance.


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