Wally Buono's Mistake

Jonathan HamelinCorrespondent IJuly 24, 2009

Buck Pierce or Jarious Jackson? That is the question for Wally Buono and the BC Lions

If you thought that the BC Lions quarterback controversy had ended when both Casey Printers and Dave Dickenson left, you don’t know the Lions, and you don’t know Wally Buono.

Whether Buono will admit it or not, the Lions are in the middle of a heated quarterback controversy.

The reason for this controversy? The recent play of backup quarterback Jarious Jackson.

In the BC Lions' recent game against the Edmonton Eskimos, Buck Pierce suffered a concussion early in the game and Jarious Jackson was forced into action.

Amazing, spectacular, fantastic, use any adjective you want but it is undeniable that Jackson was the star of the game. BC ended up winning the game 40-22 and Jarious Jackson threw for 362 yards including four touchdown passes.

So the situation for Friday’s tilt against the Calgary Stampeders appeared obvious. Don’t risk injuring Pierce any further, and go with the hot hand in Jarious Jackson. If Jackson maintains his high level of play, then he just may be the quarterback the Lions need to start.

So what does Buono do? He goes out and names Pierce the undisputed No. 1 starter.

“At the end of the day, I believe Buck is more proficient,” Buono said to reporters. “If everything is 100 percent, Buck will [start Friday against Calgary]. Right now, it’s got nothing necessarily to do with the performance. It’s got to do with what allows this team to function best.”

Well, at least Pierce doesn’t need to worry about playing bad, he has no competition.

Think about it, if Jackson comes into a game and throws for four touchdowns passes in not even a full game (compared to Pierce’s four all season), and is not even considered to start the next week, it just proves that Pierce has no one pushing him for the starting job no matter how bad he plays.

Back to Buono’s comments for a second. Buono says that the decision to start Pierce isn’t based on the performance, but it is a move that will help the team function the best. But if the quarterback performs well, doesn’t that mean the team will in turn function effectively?

Now Buono’s resume in the CFL is unsurpassed, but this move doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I understand that a quarterback shouldn’t lose his job due to injury, but Pierce wasn’t playing consistently well when he was healthy. The Lions were 0-2 on the season and Pierce had already thrown four interceptions. 

With Pierce, you know what to expect. He won’t always make a ton of mistakes, but he won’t usually make a lot of huge plays. If anything, Pierce’s level of play has dropped over the years.

Jarious Jackson on the other hand, has the ability to break off a big play at any time in the ball game.

With deep threats like Geroy Simon and Paris Jackson, the Lions need a quarterback who can spread the field.

When it comes down to it, I don’t think Pierce is the future for the Lions at quarterback. Buono should end this quarterback controversy before it even starts, and give the ball to Jarious Jackson.

This, however, doesn’t seem likely, as Buono always seems to draw out these quarterback controversies. In 2004, the Lions suffered through a quarterback controversy between Dave Dickenson and Casey Printers.

Printers stepped in after Dickenson was injured and had an amazing season. He was named the Most Outstanding Player and led the Lions to the Grey Cup game. Then in the Grey Cup Game, Buono decided to go with the healthy Dave Dickenson over Casey Printers. The Lions lost the game, and Casey Printers never got a chance to play.

This quarterback controversy reminds me a lot of the Printer-Dickenson debacle. Buono seems to be set on Pierce as a starter, and therefore it will likely take a lot to change his mind.

When it came to naming Pierce the undisputed No. 1 starter this week, Wally Buono was indisputably wrong.