The dust has pretty much settled on free agency. So this morning I thought I would take a look at how each team stacks up on paper at this point in the offseason. We will look at a strength and potential weakness heading into the season.
Strength – BC was 3rd in sacks. They didn’t really lose anyone from that D-line and could potentially add Steven Richardson to the mix, who missed all of last year due to injury.
Weakness – Pass protection stands out for me. BC allowed the 5th least sacks but that stat is very skewed by who the starting QB was. They allowed 10 sacks in 10 Rourke games but 29 in 8 Adams games. At that pace had Adams played the full year they would have been 2nd only to the Riders in sacks allowed. While they upgraded at centre with Couture they lost Joel Figueroa at tackle in the offseason.
Strength – Chris Jones year 2 is generally a good enough reason for me but while its just generally assumed the D will continue to improve, the Elks caught everyone’s attention with what they did on offense. Despite having stud rookies in RB Kevin Brown and WR Dilon Mitchell, they didn’t stand pat. They went out and got Geno Lewis, Steven Dunbar and Kyran Moore. That’s a lot of firepower if Cornelius can start playing with some consistency.
Weakness - Outside of the D-line (which is coming along nicely) I’m not convinced Jones has enough horses yet on D. They will certainly be better but the secondary really only has Purifoy and Grymes and the Linebackers aren’t super impressive. The D will certainly continue to improve under Jones but he may be one season away from the dominant D we typically associate with him.
Strength – That is a damn good defense and I see no reason that won’t continue. You would think losing Ormiolade, Thurman and Banks would be an issue but they added Howsare, Vaughters and Awe to offset.
Weakness – I’m not sold on that passing attack. Their run game is scary but they were 7th last year in passing and did nothing to address that. In theory you should be good with Begelton, Henry and Philpot but it didn’t work great last year and they also lost one of their tackles in Julian Good-Jones. They also have no one to fall back on if Maier falters.
Strength – Depth is a concern but assuming the starters are healthy the defense is shaping up nicely. Micah, Lanier and Robertson up front. Teitz, Dean and Moncrief at LB. Secondary has Marshall, Milligan and Clark. Plus we will have a damn good D-Coordinator in Shivers.
Weakness – Going to reserve judgement on OL but obviously that remains a giant question mark but even if we get that back to mildly competent I don’t think we have a bonafide #1 receiver. Pretty much every other team does. I think we have a lot of solid #2’s like Lenius, Wieneke and Bane. Schaefer-Baker is the only guy with the potential to step up into that #1 spot. But at this point there is no one that defenses have to game plan for specifically.
Strength – Collaros + Lawler + Schoen + Bailey + Demski. Good luck defending that passing attack.
Weakness – Winnipeg is a team getting old quickly. Jefferson, Bighill, Jeffcoat, Bryant, Hardrick, Neufeld all are 32 or older. D-line was still good but amazingly second last in sacks and now they lost Casey Sayles who had 6 sacks last season. I still expect Winnipeg to be good but they are approaching the end of the window with this group. Just remains to be seen if they can squeeze one more year out.
Strength – Their D-line features Ja’Gared Davis, Casey Sayles, Dylan Wynn, Ted Laurent and Kwaku Boateng. Assuming Boateng is back to full health that’s an intimating front 4.
Weakness – I remain firm in my belief that Bo Levi Mitchell’s body can’t stand up to a full season. I expect him to look like a world beater for 4 games but then what? You are either rolling with a broken Mitchell or hoping Matt Schiltz can carry the load.
Strength – Toronto does not have an OL older than 29. That group includes proven players like Ciraco, Hunter, Bladek and Allen. They are in an enviable position with the youth and depth they have there.
Weakness – Going to ignore the obvious (the unknown at QB) and go with pass defense. In 2022, they were the 2nd worst against the pass. They lost their best DB in Jamal Peters to the NFL and didn’t add anything really. They have an impressive front 7 but that back end could continue to be an issue for them.
Strength – Jason Maas. Haha just kidding. But he does have a significantly better OL at his disposal. Guys like Lawrence, Lestage, Rice, Matte and Jameison. Lots of question marks in Montreal but OL is in a pretty good place.
Weakness – Even if Jason Maas manages to get his offensive groove back and even if Fajardo can regain his form, I’m not sure who they are throwing to. Their best receiver is a 34 year old Ellingson (who hasn’t played a full season in a while) and then ?? Reggie White maybe. Lot of question marks with that offense. Their best asset is the running back and Jason Maas has no use for that.
Strength – You have to go back to 2018 to find a time Ottawa did not have exclusive possession of last place in the East. Is there hope of a change in fortune on the horizon? I’m not so sure. I honestly struggled with this. I think Bob Dyce will bring some much needed stability to the coaching there. But the closest thing I could find to a strength was the D-line led by Mauldin and Laing.
Weakness – While I expect a healthy Masoli to boost the O, I don’t hold out as much hope for the D. They allowed the most yards and 2nd most points last season and I don’t see any offseason upgrades. I don’t see Santos-Knox and Brooks being the solution when their addition is offset by the loss of Pruneau and Williams.