November 15, 2010
Borrowing an idea from Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski, we're going to be selecting three stars for each weekend of the CFL playoffs. We're going to combine the NHL ranked-star mentality with the traditional football approach of choosing offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week, so this will feature one player from each unit, but ranked in accordance with their contributions. We'll include players who were also considered for each unit's award as well. Here's this weekend's picks:
First Star/Defensive Player of the Week: Lance Frazier (defensive back, Saskatchewan)
Frazier's defensive backfield teammate James Patrick, the CFL's interceptions leader, had drawn much of the praise heading into this weekend, but it was Frazier who came up with an incredible performance Sunday in Saskatchewan's 41-38 victory in the West Division semi-final. He recorded six tackles, second only to teammate Omarr Morgan, and also came up with two sacks, an interception and a forced fumble from B.C. quarterback Travis Lulay (the play pictured above). The former West Virginia Mountaineer was flying around and making plays all day, and his performance was critical to the Riders' eventual victory. Frazier has played everywhere from the Baltimore Ravens to the Seattle Seahawks to arena football's New Orleans VooDoo, but he's found a niche in the CFL since joining the Roughriders in 2006 and has steadily become a key presence on their defence. His play was crucial to their victory Sunday.
Second Star/Offensive Player of the Week: Weston Dressler (slotback, Saskatchewan)
Dressler had a solid regular season with 1,189 receiving yards (eighth in the league) and six touchdowns, but his contributions were somewhat overshadowed by the fantastic season teammate Andy Fantuz (the league's receiving leader with 1,380 yards) turned in. The roles were reversed Sunday, though; Fantuz saw heavy coverage from B.C. all night and only caught two passes for 11 yards, while former University of North Dakota star Dressler found ways to get open and hauled in eight catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns. It was former Lion Jason Clermont who eventually caught the winning touchdown for Saskatchewan, but Dressler's performance was key to putting the Riders in position to win the game.
Also considered: Travis Lulay (quarterback, B.C.), Cory Boyd (running back, Toronto), Emmanuel Arceneaux (wide receiver, B.C.)
Third Star/Special Teams Player Of The Week: Paul McCallum (punter/kicker, B.C.)
McCallum turned in a tremendous performance against his old team, drilling all five of his field goal attempts (including one from 45 yards out), booming three kickoffs for 162 yards and delivering a solid punting performance as well (averaging 42.1 yards on seven punts, including some excellent directional ones). The frequent winds and incessant crowd noise at Mosaic Stadium can often make it a difficult place to kick, even for those who have as much experience there as McCallum, but he was able to tune out the crowd and deliver a clutch kicking performance. He showed why he was a worthy choice for the Lions' most outstanding player this season, and why he remains the league's top kicker/punter.
Also considered: Grant Shaw (kicker, Toronto), Yonus Davis (kick returner, B.C.)
Agree? Disagree? Have your own choices? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!