Calgary QB Jake Maier has near-perfect game: Maier was the victim of a couple of poor receiver plays but still recorded a ridiculous adjusted completion rate of 91.7%. He did that while also being one of just three quarterbacks this week to have an average depth of target above 11.0 yards.

All-around dominant game for Hamilton RB James Butler: He was the only running back in the CFL to break 100 yards in Week 1 and led all backs with an 83.9 rushing grade. 

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The 2024 CFL season is officially underway, kicked off by an explosive Week 1 that featured some dominant and surprising performances.

Montreal wide receiver Tyson Philpot and Edmonton cornerback Kai Gray built on their strong finishes last season to come out firing this year, while Hamilton left guard Brandon Revenberg and Toronto edge defender Folarin Orimolade continued the elite level of play that they are known for.

Every team had at least one player make the Team of the Week, with the Toronto Argonauts leading the way with six players. 


OFFENSE

QB: Jake Maier, Calgary
RB: James Butler, Hamilton
Outside WR: Tyson Philpot, Montreal
Slot WR: Alexander Hollins, BC
Slot WR: Dalton Schoen, Winnipeg
Slot WR: Justin McInnis, BC
Outside WR: Shawn Bane Jr., Saskatchewan
LT: Isiah Cage, Toronto
LG: Brandon Revenberg, Hamilton
C: Justin Lawrence, Montreal
RG: Gregor MacKellar, Toronto
RT: Hunter Steward, Edmonton


DEFENSE

DI: Jared Brinkman, Toronto
DI: Mustafa Johnson, Montreal
Edge: Jake Ceresna, Toronto
Edge: Folarin Orimolade, Toronto
LB: Wynton McManis, Toronto
LB: Nyles Morgan, Edmonton
Cover LB: Brian Cole, Winnipeg
CB: Kai Gray, Edmonton
CB: Nelson Lokombo, Saskatchewan
HB: Rolan Milligan, Saskatchewan
HB: Kobe Williams, Calgary
S: Jayden Dalke, Saskatchewan


SPECIAL TEAMS

K: Rene Paredes, Calgary
P: Jake Julien, Edmonton
Returner: Mario Alford, Saskatchewan


QUARTERBACK OF THE WEEK: QB JAKE MAIER, CALGARY

It was a near-perfect season opener for the Stampeders quarterback, as he finished the day a very efficient 21-of-26 for 252 yards and two touchdowns. Maier was the victim of a couple of poor receiver plays but still recorded a ridiculous adjusted completion rate of 91.7%. He did that while also being one of just three quarterbacks this week to have an average depth of target above 11.0 yards.

Maier finished the game with a league-high 93.8 passing grade. Entering his fourth season in the CFL, Maier is looking to take that next step into the top echelon of CFL quarterbacks. Games like this show he’s very capable. Now, it’s just a matter of consistency. 


OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: RB JAMES BUTLER, HAMILTON

It seemed like every time Butler touched the football, good things were going to happen. He gained 119 yards and picked up seven first downs across 13 carries. He forced a couple of missed tackles and had six explosive runs. He was the only running back in the CFL to break 100 yards in Week 1 and led all backs with an 83.9 rushing grade.

Butler also had an impressive day in his blitz pickup, finishing with an 80.3 pass-blocking grade that ranked second among running backs. He is one of the most complete backs in the CFL, and he showcased all of that in Week 1.


OFFENSIVE LINE OF THE WEEK: MONTREAL ALOUETTES

While there was some discussion about how the Alouettes’ offense would look going into their championship defense season, there was never any doubt about the strength of this offensive line.

They backed up that notion in Week 1 with an impressive display. The Alouettes’ run-blocking unit ranked second in the CFL in rushing yards gained before first contact this week. Even more impressive was the fact that Montreal dropped back to pass 35 times, and a lineman was defeated on just four occasions. They didn’t allow a sack and led the CFL with a measly 2.3% pass-block defeat rate. 


PASS RUSHER OF THE WEEK: EDGE JAKE CERESNA, TORONTO

The Argonauts traded away a top receiver in Kurleigh Gittens Jr. to get Ceresna from the Edmonton Elks this offseason, but it already looks like a great move.

Ceresna was a monster rushing the passer on Sunday night, finishing the game with three sacks and seven quarterback pressures overall. Both numbers led the league in Week 1, as did his 88.4 pass-rushing grade. Ceresna was one of the highest-graded pass rushers a year ago, and moving to an already stacked Toronto defensive line seems to be paying dividends already. 


RUN DEFENDER OF THE WEEK: DI JARED BRINKMAN, TORONTO

Toronto’s run defense was virtually unblockable this weekend against the BC Lions. The Lions gained just 37 yards on 18 designed runs, with every single one of those yards coming after first contact.

The whole defensive line was a force, but it was Brinkman who led the way. The big interior defender led the CFL with a 92.1 run-defense grade this week thanks to his strong play. He tallied a couple of tackles, a solo stop and a forced fumble against the run.  


COVERAGE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: COVER LB BRIAN COLE, WINNIPEG

While it wasn’t a great game for the Winnipeg secondary as a whole, Cole stood out on his own. The backup Sam linebacker ended up playing 25 coverage snaps and led the CFL with a 77.4 coverage grade. He was targeted twice and allowed just one catch for nine yards on a screen while picking off the other pass that came his way. He also had a nice defensive stop on a second-down quarterback scramble near the goal line.

Cole has played very limited snaps over the past two seasons, but games like this show that he should be seeing plenty of field time in 2024. 

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