CFL Facing a Quarterbacking Crisis

Steve ThompsonAnalyst IIIOctober 20, 2009

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 25:  Kerry Joseph #4 of the Saskatchewan Rough Riders drops back in the pocket against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the third quarter of the 95th Grey Cup on November 25, 2007 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

You can easily explain why the Montreal Alouettes are where they are this year.  Anthony Calvillo is in a class by himself.  No other CFL quarterback has delivered consistent top quality quarterbacking.

Montreal should deservedly win the Grey Cup this year, but to a large extent if they do win it, the victory will come by default.

Every other team except Hamilton which had nowhere to go but up has become weaker and it is largely due to quarterbacking problems.  There is no need to give Calvillo further comment so I'll go through a list of the other quarterbacks and illustrate the sorry state of CFL quarterbacking.


Henry Burris

Burris peaked last year when he led the Stampeders to the Grey Cup, but this year has been decidedly anti-climatic with Burris returning to the level he was at before he rose to the top last year.

Injuries to key receivers haven't helped but Burris last year found ways to win and this year the offence has struggled to find itself.  There is something missing and though Calgary and Burris should be the favorite to return to the Grey Cup from the west, I wouldn't wager money on it.


Buck Pierce

If any coach can make chicken soup out of chicken feathers in the CFL, it is Wally Buono, but all year he's been plagued by inconsistent quarterbacking.  B.C. lost a lot of talent and the quarterbacking hasn't made up for it.

Pierce has been injured and can play decently sometimes under Buono's guidance, but the Lions lost to bad teams like Hamilton and Winnipeg which in other years they would have put away.  If Buono had consistent quarterbacking, B.C. would have run away with the west this year.

Jarius Jackson

He's been better than Pierce when he's played but he's far from the consistent quarterback that Buono had in Dave Dickenson.  Who knows what he will be like when he returns from injury?  Also lurking in the wings is Casey Printers who somehow managed to lose the job in Hamilton after it was handed to him on a platter.  B.C. could advance to the Grey Cup with these quarterbacks...and then they could not.


Ricky Ray

This has been far from a vintage year for Ray who looks good when he plays Saskatchewan and almost nowhere else.  Even against the Toronto Argonauts he struggled.  Ray has been pulled in several games and Jason Maas hasn't shown the comeback capability he had in previous years.  Either Ray performs consistently, or Edmonton might not even make the playoffs.


Darian Durant

The only hope for the CFL's future is Darian Durant who has stepped in and grasped the starting quarterback job from the first game he started last year.  But the play of Saskatchewan this year has made me wonder if he has been mishandled; if there is bad coaching and play calling.

I wish Kent Austin would return and then see how Durant performs under him.  Steven Jyles hasn't convinced me that he is ready to be a starting quarterback.


Michael Bishop

They went through a whole string of quarterbacks before bringing back the streaky Michael Bishop.  He looked good against three teams at or below Winnipeg's level, but lost his last game at home to B.C. 

Bishop typifies the type of quarterbacking in the CFL outside of Montreal: good one play, bad the next three.  That Bishop was brought back and seen to be a saviour starting quarterback shows how low the quality of CFL quarterbacking this year is.


Kevin Glenn

He'll be the starting quarterback for the rest of the season for Hamilton after finally showing how all Bob O'Billovich's offensive weapons can work when they get good quarterbacking.  The problem is that Glenn has only been able to do this once.  That is why he was let go by Winnipeg and why he has never won the Grey Cup.  Glenn is simply a better version of Michael Bishop.

Quinton Porter

Hamilton thought the promise that Porter showed last year would blossom this year when he was handed the starting position and at times he seemed ready to grasp it. 

Unfortunately Glenn's performance last week shows how far he really has to go.  He won't be let off the bench for the remainder of this year unless Glenn gets hurt.  Adam Tafralis?  Maybe he should have been given a turn or two.


Kerry Joseph

Joseph looks like a spent force and nobody can tell how much is him or how much is due to bad coaching and play calling.  With all the mediocre and bad quarterbacking this year, it should have been easy for someone to rise above the rest, but Joseph has been among the worst.

Cody Pickett

With Joseph's bad play, Pickett was given every opportunity to be Toronto's saviour, but unlike Darian Durant, failed to grasp his chance.  Dropped balls and bad play calling haven't helped.  Pickett has put up deceptive looking passing statistics but not much scoring.

So there is the list of the mediocre/bad quarterbacks outside of Montreal.  I can't remember when the CFL had such a consistently sorry bunch.  Not a good thing if the CFL wants to expand or make new fans.

And the CFL says that Canadian quarterbacks aren't good enough?

All of them, with the exceptions Burris and Durant could be considered expendable when Ottawa rejoins the CFL next year.

What should the expansion team do?  Bring in new blood instead.  Ottawa once brought in two great young rookie quarterbacks at the same time, Conridge Holloway, and Tom Clements.  For the CFL's future, do it again.


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