With the regular season wrapping up, team nominees for each CFL award are approaching.
For the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, their nominee for each award is pretty obvious, except for one – Most Outstanding Rookie.
The Bombers have nine eligible players for the award: running back Johnny Augustine; receivers Daniel Petermann and Rashaun Simonise; offensive linemen Cody Speller and Qdar Spooner; defensive backs Tyneil Cooper, Robert Priester, and Marcus Sayles; and quarterback Chris Streveler.
The Bombers nominee, who could also be the West Division’s nominee, is between Sayles and Streveler.
Both have had very different roles, and both have legitimate cases.
After a Matt Nichols injury, Streveler started Winnipeg’s first three games, becoming the first rookie quarterback to start opening day since someone named Anthony Calvillo.
Streveler’s only started three games but has handled short-yardage duties throughout the year while continuing to be involved in Paul LaPolice’s playbook.
On the other hand, Sayles has started 13 games, the majority at boundary halfback, and has been very consistent.
Why Chris Streveler should Win
Accumulating 18 touchdowns (10 passing, eight rushing), Streveler is sixth in the league in majors and is ahead of teammate Matt Nichols (17).
Streveler sits seventh in passing yards (944) and 15th in rushing yards (343) – only Mike Reilly and Jeremiah Masoli share that accomplishment this season.
Led by Streveler, Winnipeg’s 56 points against Montreal in Week 2 mark the highest team total to date in 2018.
Very few negatives have come from Streveler lining up in short-yardage situations. Three times this season Streveler has thrown a touchdown in short-yardage or the play after, highlighted by a 65-yard strike to Ryan Lankford Week 11 at Calgary.
The 23-year-old pivot provides a whole new element to the Bombers offence. When he’s on the field, defences often don’t know what to expect.
Passing: 77/125, 944 yards, 10 touchdowns, 5 interceptions.
Rushing: 62 CAR, 343 yards, 8 touchdowns.
Why Marcus Sayles should Win
Playing arguably the hardest position in the secondary, Marcus Sayles has held his own and then some.
Sayles has been targeted 76 times, the third-most on the Bombers (Chris Randle, 99; Kevin Fogg, 78). Below are Sayles’ more detailed statistics.
Sayles’ 61% completion rate is respectable, but his 472 yards given up stand out.
While the 472 yards is also third-most on the team behind Fogg and Randle, he’s given up those yards on 46 catches.
Randle has given up 663 on 54 catches and Fogg 703 on 51 catches. Sayles has over 10 more tackles (59) than both Fogg (40) and Randle (45) too, which indicates that Sayles is giving up shorter completions (10.2 yards per catch) and then making the tackle, as well as making plays on throws not towards him or run plays.
Here are Sayles’ statistics in comparison to T.J. Heath’s (Winnipeg’s boundary halfback last season) 2017 statistics.
Heath was a West Division all-star last season.
Playing in Heath’s position in the same defence, Sayles has better statistics than Heath. Last season Heath had 64 tackles, 0 special teams tackles, 5 interceptions, and 1 forced fumble, which is pretty similar if not weaker than Sayles current statistics below.
That being said, Sayles is in the conversation for being a West Division all-star this season alongside Loucheiz Purifoy, Brandon Smith, and T.J. Lee.
59 tackles, 4 special teams tackles, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery.
The Last Word
Twelve days ago TSN 1290’s Darrin Bauming sent out the following Twitter poll, and Streveler barely edged Sayles out with 54% of the vote.
Who is the #Bombers‘ Most Outstanding Rookie for 2018?
— Darrin Bauming (@DarrinBauming) October 13, 2018
Streveler has the flashy statistics but has seen limited action since Week 3. Sayles debuted in Week 3 and has been a starter ever since, playing exceptionally well.
So should the well-known quarterback be Winnipeg’s nomination for M.O.R.? Or should the quietly sound halfback get the nod?
Chris Streveler’s statistics are slightly more impressive to me, and he should be the Bombers nominee for Most Outstanding Rookie, in my opinion.
Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images