CFL: QB’s the focus after Week 1
TORONTO – Week 1 of the CFL season is officially in the books, and there are already plenty of talking points (good and bad) at the QB position.
No Ricky Ray to start a season which sees the Double Blue play their first five games on the road? Starting a relatively unknown commodity at QB after letting a proven Zach Collaros go into free agency last season?
No prob, Bob.
QB Trevor Harris took the reins and hammered out the second-highest single-game completion percentage in Argonauts history (88.9%) and a league best 347 yards in the Argos 26-11 Week 1 victory. A few more starts like this, and there will be some tough decisions in Argo-land once #15 gets healthy.
To further emphasize the ridiculousness of his week, Harris was named the CFL Top Performer of the Week.
There was a lot made this off-season about the fact that smilin’ Hank, Henry Burris, turned 100 (or maybe 40 – same thing).
What people don’t put enough emphasis on is that the REDBLACKS went out and plucked Offensive Coordinator Jason Maas from the Argos coaching staff after two years of learning under the tutelage of Scott Milanovich’s ridiculously efficient offence. In their first real test – and despite the three INT’s – Hank had himself a relatively efficient ballgame against a very stingy Als defence (64% completion rate). That number was his best since Week 13 of last season.
Hank is going to be fine REDBLACKS fans – it’s not quite time to push a wheelchair underneath him and roll him into the sunset. New targets Earnest Jackson, Chris Williams and Greg Ellingson also don’t hurt Hank’s cause; they finished with a combined 15 receptions for 185 yards and the squads only receiving TD in Ottawa’s Week 1 victory in La Belle Province (that’s Montreal, FYI).
WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS
This is just a hat-tip to the team as a whole, with special credit going to the offensive line and RB’s for keeping QB Drew Willy clean for the majority of the ball game.
After giving up a league-high 71 sacks in 2014, the Bombers gave up one against John Chick and the Riders. ONE. The acquisitions of Stanley Bryant and Dominic Picard, along with draft pick Sukh Chungh has clearly made an impact early on.
It also helps your QB protection when you have a RB who does his best Jack the Ripper impression on the opposing defence every time he touches the ball. Paris Cotton slashed his way through every Riders defender he could find, and it looked like the men in green were on their heels for the majority of the matinee.
SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS, EDMONTON ESKIMOS & MONTREAL ALOUETTES
It’s Week 2, and these three teams are already shuffling the deck at the most important position on the field.
Re: Darian Durant
During the 2015 off-season, Riders incumbent QB Darian Durant went on record to say that he was coming into the year 100% healthy; then right before halftime against the Bombers on June 27, he ruptured his Achilles and ended his season. Cue the magic backup, Kevin Glenn, who always seems to find himself in a starting spot regardless of pre-season depth charts analysis (see: BC Lions)
Re: Mike Reilly
Arguably the league’s best double threat QB is on the shelf for a while.
In the fourth quarter of the Eskimos tilt with the Argos on June 27, Reilly got rolled up on by one of the big dudes in Double Blue. The result: a torn PCL and MCL and a 10-12 week absence from the field.
The Eskimos have a bye in Week 2, which is great news for backup Matt Nichols, who will have two weeks’ worth of first-team reps.
Re: Jonathan Crompton AND Dan LeFevour. Yeesh.
The Montreal Alouettes are about to give Brandon Bridge a good look.
In their Week 1 meeting against the REDBLACKS, the Als lost both Crompton (bruised shoulder) and newly signed backup QB Dan LeFevour (separated shoulder), forcing them to play third-string QB and Mississauga native (wooo, 905!) Brandon Bridge.
The news may not be all doom-and-gloom for the Als, as there are rumblings that Crompton could be back as early as Week 3 (Although hall-of-fame sports reporter Herb Zurkowsky suggests Crompton is headed to the 6-game IR). LeFevour, on the other hand, is faced with 4-6 months of rehabilitation, ostensibly ending his first year with the bleu, blanc et rouge.
Whew, that was a long one, and it’s only Week 2! Buckle up, Canada.
Oh, and speaking of Canada: