Interprovincial Pro Football Conference

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Alberta Grizzlies

Alberta is slowing transitioning to be a more balanced offence with the addition of #1 overall pick RB Kevin Blanchard. Blanchard is the perfect combination of speed, strength and good hands. Opponents should expect QB Derrick Lane to look Blanchard’s way on the ground and through the air. 

As much potential Blanchard has, don’t expect any drastic changes to the offence’s performance in 2015. The offence will again be focused around nine-year veteran QB Lane. Lane still has a strong arm and is dangerous in the open field. However, his decision making in the pocket is questionable at times. 

With the loss of speedster WR Corbin Keyes to Niagara in the Expansion Draft, Alberta picked up free agents (SB) Kirk McCord and (WR) Anthony Peace. Peace provides extra speed while McCord is a Red Zone threat. With Peace, McCord, WR Antonio Dailey, SB Rico Montanez and RB Kevin Blanchard, Lane will have plenty of targets. 

The most significant weakness for Alberta is their offensive line. The lines only real talent is center Henri Oliver and sophomore guard Tyler Sullivan. Oliver has moments of greatness and Sullivan is a great run blocker. However, Sullivan has a weakness; he won’t be able to Lane. On the flip side, eight year veteran guard Vince Watson is a steadfast pocket protector who can’t run block. As for the tackles, they are a mess. Aaron Wocjiechowski shows signs of life on occasion and Sal Pietro is mundane at best when he is not injured. 

Alberta’s defence looks better than their offence. Montreal native and 2014 IPFC Defensive Rookie of the Year OLB Jean-Francois Giguere is back and ready to torment quarterbacks. To help stop the run, Alberta selected DT Jeremy Snyder in the second round of the Collegiate Draft; scouts believe this was the steal of the draft. Playing next to Snyder will be poised Defensive Captain Rayshawn Miles. 

A key additional to the defense is free agent DB James Floyd. Starters CB Eddie Forbes and DB Rashad Powell were previously teammates with Floyd in Quebec. If their chemistry comes back, they could be dangerous. 

Pass Offence: 6th (11) 
Run Offence: 8th (7.5) 
Pass Defence: 5th (12) 
Run Defence: 7th (9) 
Overall: 7th (39.5) 
2014 Record: 2-10

Halifax Schooners

Future IPFC Hall-of-Famer QB Craig Kelley is taking a back seat to 26 year old gun slinger Mark McClellan. McClellan is a pocket quarterback with impressive arm accuracy, strength and vision. The IPFC Journal has ranked McClellan the #1 QB coming into the 2015 season. The key for Halifax is surrounding him with enough pass blocking o-linemen to keep him safe and give him time to find the open receiver. 

Halifax starting receiving core has been fully dismantled. Veteran SB Jermaine Holt went to Saskatoon, SB Kirk McCord went to Halifax while SR Gordon Porter and future HOFer WR Ray Owens retired. Filling Holt’s spot will be IPFC Journal’s top ranked SR Chase Patterson. Not only does Patterson have plenty of speed and great hands, he can run block. Patterson and McClellan spent their entire college careers together. 

On the ground, RB Ntwannu Nyamadi has further progressing and is considered one of the best in the league. He is looking to take the rushing crown from aging Saskatoon RB Wendell Gordon. With the loss of blocking FB Jhari Darnell to Saskatoon, FB Ron Lapointe worked hard in the off season and is ready to start. Unlike Darnell, Lapointe can run the ball and will see some carries. Halifax’s OL is looking solid. However, T Laurence Patterson suffered a back injury during the off season which appears to be nagging him. 

Even with the loss of DB Nick Hayes to Niagara, CB Dunta Green and S Tyrone Good to London, Halifax still have one of the best pass defenses in the league. CB Reggie Chapman and DB Lamar Beck are experienced and considered two of the best in the league. CB Kyle Roderick, DB Josh Fisher and S Eric Arnaux will fill in the vacancies left by Hayes, Green and Good. 

DEs Brandon Watt and Matt Coulson have shown a lot of promise and should ranked high on the sack leader board. Due to the depth at DE, Halifax moved recently signed Paul Lundy to DT. Lundy replaces Kevin Neal whose whereabouts are still unknown. OLB Dorian Summers is still one of the best in the league; he’s young, can rush the passer, he punishes runners and can drop back in coverage. 

Pass Offence: 5th (12.5) 
Run Offence: 5th (8.5) 
Pass Defence: 3rd (15.5) 
Run Defence: 6th (10.5) 
Overall: 5th (47) 
2014 Record: 7-5

London Lumberjacks

Phenom QB J’Marcus Urban leads the most vibrant passing and running offence in the league. Over the past two seasons, Urban has made improvements to his arm accuracy and vision. However, his greatest strength is his ability to destroy defenses when fleeing from the pocket. With the loss of RB Cedric Foster to Quebec, Urban will likely lead London in rushing yards. 

To help fill the void Foster left, London selected RB Blake Thornton #4 overall in the Collegiate Draft. Although Thornton has potential, he is will not be an All-Pro anytime soon. This means veteran FB Tim Sullivan will have to carry some of the burden of the ground game. 

Through the air, Urban still has four starting potential All-Pro receivers. WR Jabari Harper, SB Kyle Laurence and sure handed SB Joe Barnett are back. Speedster Leodis Perry bumped Eric Wexler for the second starting WR role. Wexler is still a dependable back-up who will be primarily used as a return player. 

As for the OL, they are possibly the most gifted in the IPFC. With the loss of Danny Gutierrez, Pete Miniacci moved from guard to tackle and Rawlson Bennett moved up the depth chart to start at left guard. This dynamic set of offensive linemen gives London pocket protection and holes to run through. 

The heart, lungs and brains of London’s defence are veterans ILB Brad Carr, CB Gerald Riley and DT Rickey Harvey. To accompany Harvey, who is considered one of the best DT in the league, London signed big man DT Rich Hughley. Hughley is a genuine run stopper. With the combination of Carr, Harvey and Hughley opposing runners won’t have a chance running in the middle of the field. Sophomore OLB Drew St. Pierre is developing nicely and could lead London or the league in Sacks. 

Pass Offence: 1st (16.5) 
Run Offence: 1st (12) 
Pass Defence: 4th (12.5) 
Run Defence: 3rd (11.5) 
Overall: 2nd (52.5) 
2014 Record: 7-5

Niagara Night Fall

QB Hugo Hale was left unprotected by Windsor during the Expansion Draft. This was partially due to his unhappiness with the football club and the fact younger Jeff Fountain appeared ready to start. This worked out well for Niagara who selected the experienced quarterback first overall in the Expansion Draft. Hale is considered to have the most accurate arm in the IPFC, championship vision and plenty of mobility. To protect Hale, Niagara drafted a decent core of o-linemen anchored by Left Tackle Danny Gutierrez. 

Hale’s backfield will be composed of his former Windsor teammate RB Myles Roe and former Halifax FB Milt Smyke. Roe and Smyke were both back-ups at their former clubs and have a combined three years of experience. Roe is a mixture of speed and power. Smyke is a power runner who can also pass block. Niagara coaching staff will use both to run the ball. 

Niagara’s receiving core is adequate. WR Corbin Keyes and SB Josh Seitzer were taken from Alberta. Keyes is one of the fastest in the league and his hands are improving. Seitzer will get a chance to start in his sophomore season and should be a solid target. Niagara used their first pick in the Collegiate Draft on well-rounded SB Von Barber. 

Niagara’s biggest challenge will be their defence. It is comprised of mediocre players captained by seventeen year veteran Nick Hayes. The only real glimmering shine of hope are former Vancouver DT Rogers Paquette and aging LB Ricky Sutton. Paquette is a dependable run stopper. Sutton has twelve solid years under his pads and believes he has at least one more left in the tank. 

In reality, when all is said and done, Niagara’s inaugural season is going to be a disaster. The IPFC Journal has ranked them last in every category except for Run Offence. Niagara is projected to lose every game this season. 

Pass Offence: 8th (9) 
Run Offence: 5th (8.5) 
Pass Defence: 8th (8) 
Run Defence: 8th (5.5) 
Overall: 8th (31) 
2014 Record: N/A

Quebec Liberte

“Offence wins games, defence wins Championships.” This will be Quebec’s motto for 2015. Quebec’s defence is stacked with experienced talent. 

In the defensive backfield, they have four true shut down coverage-men: Cornerbacks Rodarius Spencer, Demetrius Price and Defensive Backs Jumelle Duran and Glen Jenkins. Well rounded DB Ray Porter moved up the depth chart and will be starting at Safety. This is a posse opposing QBs, RBs and receivers need to be terrified of. 

As for multiple All-Pro, run stopper Cody Richardson, he moves from safety to inside linebacker. Richardson’s addition to linebacker core, will allow OLB Jovan Ridgely and Gil Escalante to create a hell storm on opponent QBs. On the d-line, DE Darrell Campbell, DT Zander Wallace and newly acquired DeLonn Parker will hold down the stronghold. 

Entering into his eighth season, QB Bruce Kennedy still has the strongest arm in the IPFC. However, he is getting a reputation of being reckless in the pocket at times. For insurance, Quebec signed free agent Sean Miller. Miller was the starting Quarterback for Saskatoon last year and had a concrete season. However, Saskatoon’s 2014 5-7 record was not enough to keep his young talent around. If Kennedy starts turning the ball over to opposing defences, Quebec fans will see Miller behind center Taylor Yarbrough. Yarbrough is ranked the #1 center by the IPFC Journal. 

All-Pro veteran Wide Receivers Lonnie Peterson and Jerome Bell are back for their tenth seasons. Peterson still has wheels and Bell is clutch. Slotback Mel Matthews was named the IPFC Comeback Player in 2014 and has stayed on the straight and narrow. If they can remain healthy, any or all three of them could be one-thousand yard receivers. The forth receiver position is filled by Brenden Dobko. Dobko is replacing retired sure-handed Ian Hamilton. 

Another impactful retirement was Quebec staple RB Darren Ward. Ward was injury prone throughout 2014 and saw less than one-hundred carries. As Ward’s replacement, Quebec signed RB Cedric Foster. Foster has a similar playing style to Ward except he can catch passes. 

Pass Offence: 3rd (14.5) 
Run Offence: 2nd (11) 
Pass Defence: 1st (17) 
Run Defence: 2nd (12.5) 
Overall: 1st (55) 
2014 Record: 9-3

Saskatoon Meteors

Transition – that’s the only way to describe the quarterback situation in Saskatoon. Sean Miller chose not to accept Saskatoon’s new contract and went back to Quebec where he started his career. In order to be get a starting gig again, Max Carter signed with Saskatoon taking a pay cut. Carter is the third starting QB in three years for the football club. The team added aging QB Serge Yarelian from Quebec as their back-up. 

In the backfield, ten year veteran RB Gordon Wendell will give younger Halifax RB Ntwannu Nyamadi competition for the IPFC rushing crown. Since Wendell is not as durable as he used to be, Saskatoon signed top ranked FB Jhari Darnell to lead block for him. Darnell will also add protection for Carter in the pocket.

Saskatoon’s receiving core has also gone through a transition. Slot Receiver Chase Patterson left and signed with Halifax so he could play with former college teammate and gun slinger Mark McClellan. Julius Gardner, Patterson’s veteran counterpart, retired after ten seasons. This left Saskatoon with WR Seth Nowak and RB Gordon Wendell as the only real dependable targets. Looking to the future and to fill immediate voids, Saskatoon drafted WR Nicholas Frazier during the first round of the Collegiate Draft. Shortly after signing Max Carter, Saskatoon signed ten year veteran SB Jermaine Holt to complement him. Although Holt lacks speed, he is very dependable and will probably be Carter's favorite target. 

The OL is highlighted by Jerry Simpson and DeAngelo Fox, both highly ranked guards. Tackles Mike Daecher and Chase Williams are young and dependable. The real question mark is rookie center Lionel Moss. Moss was selected in the third round of the Collegiate Draft to cover for Demonnti Long who is now with Niagara. Moss has shown some promise but most scouts doubt his ability to be a starting center in his rookie season. 

On the defensive side, DT Jon Ikeda is back for his forth season and looks better than ever. Ikeda is a top-notch pass rusher and run grinder. Oscar Lindsay moved from DE to DT. With Ikeda and Lindsay in the middle, opposing running backs should probably push the ball to the outside. In his tenth season, Ross Mills captains the defence at inside linebacker. Fifteen year veteran OLB John Jackson is going to give it one more season. His locker room presence will be valuable to the team. 

Pass Offence: 2nd (15) 
Run Offence: 3rd (11.5) 
Pass Defence: 6th (11.5) 
Run Defence: 4th (11) 
Overall: 4th (49) 
2014 Record: 5-7

Vancouver Cougars

In spite of losing four starting defensive players, Vancouver’s defence is still one of the best and looking towards their second consecutive IPFC Championship. The IPFC Journal ranked Vancouver #2 in pass defence and #1 in stopping the run. In fact, even with the loss of key personnel, they should be better than last year’s championship platoon. 

A surprising loss to the defence was twelve year veteran ILB Ricky Sutton. Sutton initially signed with Quebec. However, Quebec released him soon after and he found a home with expansion team Niagara as their strong side linebacker. Former Halifax safety Tyrone Good was signed and will start in Sutton’s former position. Moving from safety to inside linebacker should be an easy transition for Good who is spectacular at stopping ball carriers. 

Outside linebackers O.J. Cofield, Matt Jayne, defensive back Aarifa Semere and safety Eric Wenke spent their off season together working on conditioning and technique. Cofield and Jayne are becoming elite pass rushers and cover men. Scouts believe Semere and Wenke are a season or two away from being selected to the All-Pro team. Semere and Wenke are added bonuses to an already All-Pro defensive backfield made up of Dontel Curtis, Duane Lambert and John “Not So” Little. 

Offensively, Vancouver’s receiving core has gone through some changes. However, SR Alex Bosch stayed around and will be QB Ronnie Monteverde’s main target. Bosch, a British Columbia native, is the entire package; he’s smart, fast, has great football IQ and has great hands. Vancouver has high expectations for two-year men WR Brian Bender and SB Kevin Fleiszer. 

A major change for the offence is the retirement of RB Jabari Shelton. Shelton holds the all-time IPFC record for receptions by a RB or FB. For 2015, Vancouver signed RB Landon Riser to fill the empty space. Riser is an average runner but not a great pass catcher. For the ground game, Riser will share carries with FB Michael Kemmer. Unfortunately, the o-line will provide second-rate run blocking; expect the team to move the ball through the air. 

Pass Offence: 4th (13.5) 
Run Offence: 7th (8) 
Pass Defence: 2nd (16.5) 
Run Defence: 1st (14.5) 
Overall: 2nd (52.5) 
2014 Record: 10-2, IPFC Champions

Windsor Ambassadors

With QB Hugo Hale being selected by Niagara, Jeff Fountain was believed to take over the starting role. Fountain is a former Football America player and Hale’s back-up last year. However, Windsor selected QB Shaun Parsons #2 overall in the 2015 Collegiate Draft. Fountain brings professional playing experience, efficiency and mobility. Parsons is an efficient pocket passer with a slightly better arm. It is still unknown if Fountain or Parsons will be Windsor’s starting QB. 

The biggest offensive threat is seven year RB Rodney Allen. Allen is explosive when running around the tackles and rarely turns the ball over. Due to his sure hands, Fountain or Parsons will look his way through the air. Tackle Parker Pinchot and guard Jack Range will be key to opening holes for Allen when running inside. 

After eight seasons, All-Pro Slot Receiver Terry Martin decided to hang up his cleats. This leaves deep threat Jameel Ashrod, SB Josh Hollander and thirteen year veteran SR Randall Wilson. In 2014, Ashrod was Windsor’s receiving yardage and receiving touchdown leader. He also led the IPFC in kickoff return yards and average. Canadian WR C.J. Dupre has moved up the depth chart and will be Windsor’s forth receiver. 

Windsor’s defence has made significant improvements since 2014. Defensive Captain DE Howard Hopkins has become an elite pass rusher who is also learning how to stop runners behind the line. Former DT Jeremy Mason has moved to the DE position due to the loss of Paul Lundy to Halifax. Mason appears much more of a balanced player for 2015. 

A huge (literally) reason Windsor’s defence has improved is the signing of DT Rich Bailey. Bailey is big, quick and strong; he demands respect and gets it. Playing next to the experienced Baily is two year player Cory Green. Green is as big and just as strong as Bailey. The combination of Hopkins, Bailey and Greenwood create a 1-2-3 punch for Windsor. 

Pass Offence: 7th (10) 
Run Offence: 4th (9) 
Pass Defence: 6th (11.5) 
Run Defence: 4th (11) 
Overall: 6th (41.5)
2014 Record: 2-10