Saturday, June 28, 2008

Quarterback Controversies are played out!

Toronto rookie coach Rich Stubler may have been happy using two quarterbacks in a 23-16 win over the Blue Bombers Friday night, but one of those QBs wasn't in a good mood after the victory

"A great win," starting QB Kerry Joseph said in a brusque voice following the game. "That's all I've got to say." When asked if he was OK, he said he was fine, healthy and repeated it was a great win.

From the Globe and Mail. It won’t take an Oliver Stone flick to fill us in on the potential outcome in Argo Land – personally I feel it won’t be that surprising should we see this one turn into a rather messy conflict.

On our way to the Hamilton-Toronto exhibition game just last week I asked my friend, a member of the “Argonotes” and quite the diehard Argo fan, what her thoughts were on the apparent quarterback controversy brewing between Kerry Joseph and Michael Bishop. Her response was along the same line that I was thinking – smoke and mirrors, nothing more. Illusions, if you will.

To her it was clear: Joseph at the helm, no question. One week later, after a platoon system at quarterback claimed a season-opening win for Toronto, Joseph has come off as initially upset, and honestly I can’t totally blame him. It’d be nice to think that after winning the Most Outstanding Player Award the previous year, your new coach would at least allow you to play out the first game, that you wouldn’t have to look over your shoulder for the back-up coming to yank you from the game.

While it may be the sexy thing to do in the CFL, having two viable quarterbacks ready to go at all times (as seen with all but 2 teams in the League), it’s very cautious ground to tread. Now is not the time for indecision; Rich Stubler, the Argos coach, who was tentative (to say the least) to announce who would start at the pivot all preseason long, must realize the time has come to lay down his hand and give the world – well, sporting world anyways - a concrete answer on his plans.

Now I can relate to this from my own experiences, on my senior high school football team we played with a very interactive platoon system at QB — at times we were swapping QBs seemingly from one play to the next! (if it was deemed necessary). One guy was a scrambler, one was a pocket passer, but they only truly worked together because they were both satisfied with their roles on the team — sure it wasn’t ALWAYS perfect harmony, but the scrambler also played safety, and was even in the backfield from time to time. There was no controversy because they not only worked as a unit, but more so because they were both fulfilled with their roles on the team, and as a result we flew through to a few city championships until one Jesse L. – naw that’s too obvious, we’ll say J. Lumsden – came along with his team and walked all over us. But we did have great success with no declared No. 1 QB, no true No. 1 QB. The platoon system worked out well in that situation.

In professional football you will never see something like my high school experience, switching up QBs so frequently, so often. If only because one player will always remain unfulfilled. Spelling out one QB for another in certain situations, in certain games, is not necessarily a bad thing…but then again, IF it works! That harmony is even more important than the calibre of the players in the platoon system.

From first glance, the Argos might not have the ability to work it out all too well. Stubler must step in and come to a clear, concise decision in this regard, because if the post-game grumblings that came from Joseph last night say anything it’s that you aren’t taking both talented QB’s and making it a smooth ride in 2008, it’s one or the other, Bishop or Joseph.

Toronto is predicted by many to continue down the rather successful path they’ve been following for a while now, they could go far and even possibly compete for the Grey Cup! However locker room skirmishes are just the kind of thing to derail success (just ask the Ottawa Senators how freshly bought-out Ray Emery served them last season!).


Dennis Prouse said...

It's odd that Kerry Joseph somehow got the reputation as being a great team guy when in fact his actions over the last few years suggest exactly the opposite. He was a "me" guy all the way in Regina. He was mad because Eric Tillman made him take a renegotiation after the '06 season, getting the crazy contract he signed with the Gliebermans in Ottawa back under control. After winning the Grey Cup this past year, (with possibly the lamest stats of any winning QB in GC history) Joseph wanted bonus money and a new contract to make up for the pay cut he had taken the year before. Tillman told him he had a valid contract already, at which point Joseph started to sulk. He tried out with the New Orleans Saints in a lame attempt to gain leverage, like the Saints were ever going to sign a 35 year old rookie. When that bluff failed, he became even more estranged than ever from the Riders. That's why they dumped him in Toronto. The Argos have a real problem on their hands, as Joseph will be a disruptive influence if he isn't the unquestioned starter each week.

sager said...

A football team unites better behind one average QB than two good ones. Why do coaches persist in believing two QBs can work?

Mike said...

I'd like to say giving the CFL another two teams would help even out the QB situation (Ottawa & Halifax/QC). I've never understood know why some QB's aren't really given an opportunity and just put on the backburner for the veteran QB's that never seem to go away, just rotate between teams.

If Joseph really IS that big a prima donna like Dennis suggests then I think the only thing Stubler can do is either play him, or have him cut altogether from the team - he likely will only distract should he be benched, not to mention the media questioning why he was brought in to be benched.

I've never liked Bishop so in my opinion Joseph is the way to go for Toronto, but could Bishop actually be the better QB? Maybe he deserves the start but obviously with Joseph comes the name and the money, so they're forcing Stubler to play him hence the platoon system?