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The Rouge: Assessing early season trends around the league

Ben Fisher, TSN.ca

7/9/2013 9:42:58 PM

Two controlling wins by the Roughriders to start the season and the province of Saskatchewan is giddy with belief their team is for real in a year they're hosting the Grey Cup.

But while some fans in Saskatchewan may already be thinking Grey Cup, the players are making sure not to get ahead of themselves. Quarterback Darian Durant and slotback Weston Dressler each told the team's official website players are keeping their fast start in perspective; they aren't looking for any accolades this early in the season.

But maybe they should be. A two-game win streak is modest, but in a year when the Roughriders stocked up to make a run at the Grey Cup they're hosting, it could also be foretelling.

Two week stretches can often go unnoticed mid-season, but since that's all we have to work with to kick off the season, let's assess the (very) early trends and separate the ones that could be authentic and the ones that will likely peter out.

If we're evaluating Saskatchewan, we too should look at Durant, the man orchestrating their success on the field. The 30-year-old has strung together two solid performances off the hop, completing more than 70 percent of his passes and throwing for a combined five touchdowns and no interceptions.

After four years of hovering around a quarterback rating of 90, can the eight-year veteran keep up the stellar play all season?

Durant and the Riders' Week 2 win came against a Calgary team hoping early season events don't become a trend, although in their case there's evidence it could be just that.

Stamps QB Drew Tate left Friday's game with what was later revealed as a strained forearm muscle that has the 28-year-old questionable for Week 3. While the injury doesn't appear too serious, it's concerning as part of the bigger picture. Can Tate stay healthy for a full season?

Out east, a quick look at the stats shows Henry Burris, like last year, is leading the league in passing yards while the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are again in the standings basement. Will Hamilton suffer through another season in which their high-powered offence is let down by their porous defence?

And in Montreal, the Alouettes have looked uncharacteristically uncomfortable early on. From a flustered Anthony Calvillo to a leaky offensive line, the Als don't much resemble the team Marc Trestman coached for five seasons. Can the veterans figure it out, or will the Dan Hawkins era in Montreal get off to a forgettable first year.

The Rouge asks: What early season trends will hold true all season and what ones will prove just to be phases? You've heard what we've had to say, now it's your turn.

As always, it's Your! Call.