Tuesday Morning QB (CFL Week 1)

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Football is finally back and players in the CFL were excited to get going, almost as excited as they got to go back on the field and do what they do best.

That excitement was short-lived for most fans though as the first week of the season also ended up being one that will change the league for the season.

Last year much of the league had to deal with some major injury issues that changed the look of the 2014 season.

Ricky Ray, Darian Durant, Mike Reilly, and Travis Lulay all missed time last year, Lulay missed the year, due to injuries.

This season those injuries have bitten again as four starting quarterbacks may not be ready to go for the second week of the season.

It all started in Montreal where the Ottawa REDBLACKS were taking on the Alouettes in the opening game of the season.

After starting the game Jonathan Crompton did not return in the second half as he went down at the end of the first round and the Als decided to move on to their backup quarterback in Dan LeFevour.

Then almost immediately LeFevour went down with a shoulder injury forcing the Als to their third string.

The biggest story about the two injuries was that the third string was one of the best Canadian quarterback prospects in a long time.

Brandon Bridge had been drafted by the Als this year and was expected to eventually take over as a starter in a few years, but on Thursday he found his way to the field.

Heading into Week 2 the Als have an important decision to make as LeFevour is out for the season due to shoulder surgery but Crompton is day-to-day.

If Crompton is ready he will start but the Als need to be careful about not rushing him back and risking a more serious injury.

If that is the case Bridge will become the first Canadian QB to start a CFL game since Giuli Caravatta did it in 1996.

The Alouettes were not the only team to see a quarterback go down during the first week of the season as the West was not immune.

football-sidebarThe Edmonton Eskimos were taking on a team that was already without their quarterback as Trevor Harris had taken over the Toronto Argonauts with Ricky Ray on the 6-game injury list.

What they didn’t expect was for Mike Reilly to join Ray on the sidelines as he hurt his knee in the fourth quarter of their game in Fort McMurray.

While dropping back for a pass, Reilly was hit by Cleyon Laing, who was blocked into Reilly, at a bad angle and bent his knee back.

There is no news yet as to whether Reilly will play in Week 2 but if he doesn’t it could be a big blow to a team that was thinking about a serious Grey Cup run.

Luckily for the Eskimos they have a solid back-up in Matt Nichols who can right the ship if Reilly needs some time off, but if he needs the season the Eskimos could be in trouble.

Despite these major injuries there was none bigger than in the Prairies when Darian Durant had a sense of déjà vu from the Banjo Bowl.

With the Roughriders playing their biggest rivals in the Labour Day rematch in 2014 Durant went down with a serious shoulder injury after being him in the backfield that ended his season.

This year the Riders opened the season against their rivals and just before halftime, Durant stepped wrong and hurt his Achilles.

After the game it was announced that he had ruptured his Achilles tendon and would not return for the rest of the season.

The Riders had lost their leader only one half into the season but unlike last year they had a legitimate back-up plan.

In the off-season the Roughriders signed the ultimate back-up, Kevin Glenn who has consistently been thrown into situations like this no matter what team he plays on.

These injuries create an opportunity for the back-ups to make an impression and potentially take over the starting role or prove that they might make a good starter for another team.

Trevor Harris already did it in Week 1 when he filled in for an injured Ray and ended his second official CFL start with one of the best completion percentages in the history of the CFL.

For Nichols, Glenn, and potentially Bridge Week 2 could be a coming out party or evidence of why they are back-ups.

The entire season has just been tossed on its head and some of these back-ups will be leading the way for the a few weeks if not the rest of the year in an interesting start to a new year in the CFL.

Fourth Down:
(Thoughts on Week 1 in the CFL)

Balance Restored?
Last year the West dominated the East especially through the start of the season but after one week it already looks more even with the Argos beating the Eskimos while the Stampeders barely beat the Ti-Cats in the Grey Cup rematch

The Road Trip Begins
The Argos opened up their season in Fort McMurray but it counted as their first home game in a season that sees the Argos play outside of Toronto for the first six weeks of the season as their “home game” now leads into a five-week road trip

Sam Returns to Montreal
After unexpectedly leaving training camp earlier in June, Michael Sam has reportedly returned to the Montreal Alouettes as the former SEC defensive player of the year may very well see some time in the CFL after all


Week 1 Scores:
Ottawa REDBLACKS 20 – 16 Montreal Alouettes
– In 2014 the REDBLACKS went without a road win all season but it didn’t take long to get their first in 2015 as they vowed to put the “expansion” tag behind them and proved it to be true in beating the Alouettes, who lost two QBs on the night, for an opening win

Calgary Stampeders 24 – 23 Hamilton Tiger-Cats
– The Tiger-Cats were looking for one thing and one thing only in their first game as they wanted revenge for their Grey Cup loss last November and they looked like they were going to get it until a comeback led to a last second field goal that helped the Stamps to the win

Toronto Argonauts 26 – 11 Edmonton Eskimos
– The Argos were heading into their first game without their star quarterback and everyone wondered what back-up Trevor Harris was going to do, he only had a completion percentage of just over 88% to beat the best passing defence from a year ago

Winnipeg Blue Bombers 30 – 26 Saskatchewan Roughriders
– The prairie rivalry will take place three times and they got out to it early this year as the Bombers got off to a good start to the year earning the win while the Riders took a loss and lost their starting quarterback for the year

Week 2:
Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Thursday July 2nd; 8:30 pm ET)
– The Ti-Cats are trying to recover from a devastating opening loss while the Bombers are hoping to continue a great start in an important match-up for both teams as Hamilton tries to get even while the Bombers try to keep a good year going

Calgary Stampeders vs. Montreal Alouettes (Friday July 3rd; 7:30 pm ET)
– The Stampeders barely pulled out their first win of the season with a less than great performance from Bo Levi Mitchell but he will try to recover as they take on the Alouettes who may very well make history if they start Brandon Bridge at QB

BC Lions vs. Ottawa REDBLACKS (Saturday July 4th; 6:00 pm ET)
– The Lions get their season started after a week off with Travis Lulay back and ready to lead against the REDBLACKS who have started their season better than last year and try to continue that good start by matching their win total of a year ago

Toronto Argonauts vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders (Sunday July 6th; 3:30 pm ET)
– The Argos continue their road trip as they travel to Saskatchewan with Harris trying to repeat his performance from Week 1 and the Riders heading into their new season with Kevin Glenn at the helm of the offence

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