We are heading into the 4th straight season with the same unquestioned starting QB… the last time a QB lasted that long here was back in the Kent Austin days. I suppose technically Nealon Greene lasted 4 season here but I don’t really count that since he missed all but the 1st quarter of 2004, was benched halfway through 2005… plus given his off the charts rating on the scale of sucktitude you can’t really consider him “unquestioned”
Who’s In The Mix: Darian Durant, Colt Brennan, Levi Brown, Drew Wily, JT O’Sullivan
Projected Starter: Obviously Durant starts and based on comments coming out of the offseason training camps it would seem that Brown and Wily have the early lead in the race for the back-up roles.
Thoughts: I realize that even at his best (circa ’09 and ’10) Durant gives people lots of reason to doubt him (he’s a turnover machine and prone to inconsistency) but dammit the guy wins games!!! At least he does when he has a competent offensive game plan behind him, a centre who can actually place the snaps within a 20 foot radius of his hands and receivers who have the mental capacity to run the routes they are asked to.
I think Durant is in for bounce back year... this of course assumes that Bob Dyce can devise a decent offensive attack. I’m by no means sold on Dyce given that he was our receivers coach last year and our receivers were for the most part garbage. But given what an utter gong show everything was last year I’m willing to give Dyce the benefit of the doubt and let him prove himself this year. Durant has an upgraded O-line, should have a better run game to take the pressure of him, and hopefully better receivers (lord help us if Taman manages to find anyone worse than Nunn and Robinson). He also won’t have the creepy eyes of Ryan Dinwiddie trying to steal his soul from the sidelines… so that’s a plus.
As for the back-up job. While I hope that none of our back-ups are called into duty, I am excited to see what this brand new cast of hopefuls can bring to the table. Will they be the next Durant/Tate or will they be the next Chad Freifhauf/Kent Smith/Todd Reesing.
Realistically we need just one of these guys to turn into a viable player… and an additional one to show a knack for clipboard holding. And I like those odds. That said I’m going to go ahead and preemptively scratch O’Sullivan off the list, I consider him a waste of a training camp spot and am not sure we are even bothering with him.
I also predict Colt Brennan’s career as a Rider will be short-lived. This is on nothing more than gut instinct and the fact that it seems the more hype there is surrounding a QB prospect, the less likely they are to accomplish anything in the CFL.
Prophet’s Player To Watch: Levi Brown
Outlook: Barring injury things are looking pretty good. We have a stable staring QB with an upgraded supporting cast and some exciting young prospects (minus O’Sullivan) to start building for the future. Only concern is that we are one injury away from one of these newbies who have never taken a snap in Canadian football being forced into leading our offense.
Scary as it is, after Durant, Weston Dressler is the team’s next most experienced passer.