Alberta’s offence is centered around eight year IPFC veteran Derrick Lane who was taken from Ottawa during the expansion draft. (Lane originally went to Ottawa from Saskatoon but Ottawa chose not to protect him during the draft.) Lane has a decent arm and vision but is known for his explosiveness on the run. Through the air, Lane’s top target will be former London WR Antonio Dailey. Dailey brings decent speed to Alberta’s offence, but lacks Red Zone poise. WR Corbin Keyes, SR Rico Montanez and SR Bryn Campbell round out Alberta’s young starting receiving core.
Former Halifax RB / KR Corey King was signed to control much of Alberta’s ground game. Leading the way for King is a familiar face – nine year veteran and former Halifax teammate FB Eric Rogers. If King doesn’t work out, pass catching RB Garrett Harrison or rookie RB/FB Kevin Pierce are prepared to take over. The OL is anchored by six year journeyman and former London C Henri Oliver. On Oliver’s left side will be run blocking rookie Tyler Sullivan.
All-Pro DT Rayshawn Miles was also selected during the expansion draft from Saskatoon. Saskatoon chose not to protect the fan favorite due multiple up and coming younger players. During the rookie draft, Alberta selected All-Canadian and Montreal native OLB Jean-Francois Giguere. Giguere is the “real deal” and expected to terrorize opposing QBs. Former Vancouver DT Rich Hughley made significant growth over the past two seasons and will use his bulk to stop opposing runners.
Pass Rank: 6/7, Offence Run Rank: 7/7, Defence Pass Rank: 7/7, Defence Run
Hall-of-Famer QB Craig Kelley is slowing fading after seventeen years in the
league. However, he is still efficient
and has at least one more year in him. Looking towards the future, Halifax signed free agent / former Quebec QB
Mark McClellan. McClellan has the skill
set to start in the IPFC. He just needs
the opportunity. Halifax has a strong
receiving core consisting of veterans SR Jermaine Holt, SR Gordon Porter, WR
Ray Owens and two-year WR Kirk McCord.
Sophomore RB Ntwannu Nyamadi is showing further advancement and has the abilities to one day lead the league rushing. In the backfield next to Nyamadi is FB Jhari Darnell. Darnell is considered the best run blocking and pass blocking FB in the league. The OL is highlighted by run blocking T Laurence Patterson and well-versed C Frankie Ivankovic.
Halifax’s defense has developed to be more effective against the pass than the run. CB / PR Reggie Chapman and DB Lamar Beck are some of the best coverage men in the league. Pass rushing OLB Dorian Summers had a remarkable rookie season and looks to have a similar season in 2014. Summers has a new counterpart – former Ottawa OLB George Palazzi. Palazzi is an upgrade from last year’s aged OLB Jeff McDonald. Defensive Captain DB Nick Hayes returns for his seventeenth and last season. S Tyrone Good will be Halifax’s best defender against the run.
Pass Rank: 5/7, Offence Run Rank: 4/7, Defence Pass Rank: 3/7, Defence Run
Last year’s rookie sensation, QB J’Marcus Urban, is back and ready for another season. Considered a younger version of Alberta’s Derrick Lane, Urban will punish opposing teams with QB Draws, QB Sweeps and his mobility in the pocket. Urban will have a plethora of All-Pro type passing targets. Returning receivers include: SR Jabari Harper, WR Kyle Laurence, SR Eric Wexler, and SR Lynn Fields. Joining London’s potent air attack is former Vancouver / sure handed WR Joe Barnett and former Quebec SR/WR Leodis Perry.
Three-year RB Cedric Foster, who runs with speed and power, will see most of Urban’s handoffs. Foster is also a double threat and a great pass target for Urban. Filling the backfield is FB Tim Sullivan who can carry the ball, catch passes and block. As for the OL, C Henri Oliver left for Alberta leaving two-year C Dylan Albarado some big shoulder pads to fill. Luckily Albarado is surrounded by All-Pro T Gene Hart, run blocking G Robert Nelson, dependable G Pete Miniacci and veteran Danny Gutierrez. London’s OL may be the most talented in the IPFC.
The heart and lungs of London’s defence are veterans DT Rickey Harvey and ILB Brad Carr. Harvey is considered the best overall DT in the league and Carr is known for punishing RBs. CB Gerard Riley returns as a starter and shown substantial improvement in his overall abilities. Although the defence lost five starting players, London signed shutdown DB Jumelle Duran. Duran returns to London after spending a year with Quebec. Run stopping rookie S Brent Burroughs, balanced rookie OLB Drew St. Pierre and former Football America pass rusher DE Luke Schofields will also help London fill the starting voids.
Pass Rank: 3/7, Offence Run Rank: 2/7, Defence Pass Rank: 4/7, Defence Run
Former Saskatoon QB Bruce Kennedy was signed by Quebec mid-2013 season to replace the injured Serge Yarelian. When Yarelian became healthy, Kennedy earned the starting position and was signed to a long term contract. Kennedy has an accurate cannon and good vision across the field. It is a mystery why Saskatoon never re-signed him. Entering into his seventeenth football season, former Football America QB Serge Yarelian remains as Quebec’s back-up and is ready to start.
Quebec is believed to have the best receivers in the IPFC. All-Pro WRs Lonnie Peterson and Jerome Bell are joined by former London All-Pro SR Ian Hamilton. Combined they will be a nightmare for opposing teams to cover. Finishing out the receiving core is free agent SR Mel Matthews. Matthews has been away from the IPFC the past two years while in rehab overcoming drug addiction. If he can stay out of trouble, he too has potential to be an All-Pro.
Seven-year veteran RB Darren Ward will control
the ball out of Quebec’s backfield despite his regression. Quebec native FB Pierre Levesque improved
after his rookie season and should provide some key blocks for Ward and
Kennedy. Quebec’s blue collar OL is
anchored by C Taylor Yarbrough.
With the loss
of QB Derrick Lane, Saskatoon looks to the future with former Quebec prospect
QB Sean Miller. Miller possesses a
powerful arm and has the ability to lead the IPFC in several passing categories. Besides being able to throw the ball, Miller is
lethal on the run and will call his own number. Miller’s passing attack will focus on getting SR Chase Patterson the
ball. In only his third season,
Patterson has developed into one of the league’s elite pass catchers. Patterson’s counterpart, nine-year veteran SR
Julius Gardner, has lost some speed but still has good hands.
On the ground, veteran Gordon Wendell has not lost a step and is again expected to lead the league in rushing. FB Evan Spencer will lead block for Wendall as he has done for last seven seasons. The OL is looking strong with the addition of former London G DeAngelo Fox and former Halifax G Jerry Simpson. Simpson and Fox were both selected to the All-Pro team last year. On the left side of the line, scouts are reporting T Mike Daecher is stouter and more confident.
Although some fans were upset about losing All-Pro DT Rayshwan Miles to Alberta, they won’t be upset with his replacements. DTs Leonard Bishop and Jon Ikeda are young, big, and are true run stoppers. If runners somehow get past Bishop and Ikeda, ILB Ross Mills will hammer them. Fourteen-year veteran OLB John Jackson decided not to hang up his cleats and returns for another year. This works well for Saskatoon because they need his pass rushing presence. During the off-season, Saskatoon signed former London stand out DB Maurice Pearson. Pearson joins already potent shutdown coverage men CB Seth Dixon and DB Toby Justice.
Pass Rank: 2/7, Offence Run Rank: 1/7, Defence Pass Rank: 5/7, Defence Run
It appears QB Max Carter is out and first year Ronnie Monteverde is in. Monteverede was originally drafted in 2011 by Chicago (Football America). In Chicago, he backed-up legendary Mike Trocano but never got a chance to play. After his rookie season, he left Football America for Football Europe and immediately became a star. Monteverde brings a well-rounded game to Vancouver. He is not flashy, but he is resourceful and well-organized. Monteverede will have three main options down the field: Former Football America (Memphis) WR Anthony Peace, second-year SR Alex Bosch and veteran RB Jabari Shelton. Peace and Bosch are the league’s likely leaders for all receiving categories. Shelton will lead IPFC RBs with receptions.
Vancouver’s go-to in the ground attack. He is sure handed, has speed on the
outside, and doesn’t fumble. However,
don’t expect Vancouver to hand the ball off too often. There is only one change to the OL; G Blake
O’Connell is replacing the aging Norm Murphy. In total, the OL looks strong and should be able to keep Monteverede
from taking too much damage.
Vancouver has the top ranked pass defence in the IPFC. This is attributed to CB Dontel Curtis, DB Duane Lambert, and CB John Little’s abilities to cause havoc on receivers. Free agent (Saskatoon) DB Aatifa Smere was signed to replace Mack Tatum who will focus his efforts on Special Teams Returning. After a good rookie season, S Eric Wenke is progressing into an elite run stopper and good pass defender. Young OLBs O.J. Cofield and Matt Jayne return for another season of pestering opposing QBs. Rookie DE Nathan Swinton was drafted to replace journeyman Woodrow Magee who was less than impressive last year.
Pass Rank: 1/7, Offence Run Rank: 6/7, Defence Pass Rank: 1/7, Defence Run
Scouts and fans alike believe veteran QB Hugo Hale is best in the league. He’s accurate, has a good arm, can find receivers down field, has great vision and is mobile. However, Windsor’s receiving core has become stale and lacks luster. Seven year veteran SR Terry Martin suffered a nagging injury during the off season. WR Josh Hollander has become Hale’s favorite target but lacks the ability to gain yardage-after-the-catch. The only actual receiving threat to opposing teams will be WR Jameel Ashrod. Ashrod has speed and a strong desire to hit Paydirt. He may be Hale’s best option.
RB Rodney Allen returns for his sixth IPFC season. Allen may be asked to carry a large portion of the offence’s burden. The weakest point of the Windsor offence is probably the OL. Despite having three-time All-Pro T Parker Pinchot and last year’s standout rookie G Jack Range, the line lacks the ability to protect Hale. Furthermore, to make adjustments for OL players lost to free agency and retirement, Jack Range moved to RT, Brandon Van Zell moved to LG, Jordan Duff became the starting RG and Jordan Mahoney became the starting center.
Windsor’s defence lost four key players to retirement: former All-Pro DE Darren Miller, former All-Pro DT Andre Johnson, former All-Pro / Defensive Player of the Year S Jerrod Gregory and quality veteran OLB Willie Cox. With too many voids to fill, Windsor’s defence is expected to be picked apart.
Pass Rank: 7/7, Offence Run Rank: 5/7, Defence Pass Rank: 6/7, Defence Run