Tuesday Morning QB (CFL Week 5)

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The CFL season continues to be one where nothing is certain as teams look great one week and terrible the next.

New players emerge and some fade while returning players shine. From week to week it is unknown whether or not a team will pull out a win or they will lose to a team that has looked worse.

Certain players have gone from being a team changer to being cut while others have emerged out of nowhere.

One of the biggest reasons for the uncertainty in the league has been the changes at quarterback for almost every team.

Most teams are heading into games with back-ups under centre, some with more success than others.

Some teams are stuck with whoever they can find for the rest of the season while others are simply looking for a stop-gap until their starters can return.

The Edmonton Eskimos are one of those teams as they lost Mike Reilly almost immediately in the season.

The injury was not the end of the season for Reilly as he will be back with a potential six-game layoff.

So the Eskimos were set to try to repeat a great season without their star quarterback but not entirely without a good pivot.

Matt Nichols was set to take over as the man under centre while Reilly recovered. Nichols was the back-up for the past few years after originally winning a quarterback battle with Reilly only to be injured in pre-season giving Reilly the chance to take over.

Since then it has been Reilly’s team but with an injury in week 1 Nichols got the call to lead the team.

This week that plan may have begun to change when the Eskimos hosted the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Throughout the first half the weather had plenty of effect on the offences as both teams couldn’t get much going.

The Eskimos could only amass four total points in the first half as Nichols clearly didn’t have anything going under centre.

Instead of riding it out the Eskimos decided that it was time to go to a new arm in an attempt to spark of the offence and get the win.

The moved paid off in a big way as CFL rookie James Franklin entered the game in the third quarter and light the fire that the Eskimos needed.

Franklin threw for three touchdowns in the second half and led an offensive explosion by the Eskimos that helped them to a dominant win against the Bombers.

Nichols has always been the back-up to Reilly on Edmonton but the switch late in the game gave plenty of fire to a debate in Edmonton.

The Eskimos have named their starter for week 6 and there has been no change as they have put their trust back in Nichols.football-sidebar

You can’t help but think though, that Franklin is waiting in the wings at a chance to get back out.

The leash has likely shortened on Nichols as the Eskimos will not wait long to bring in Franklin if need be.

In week 5 the struggles on offence by Nichols could be blamed on the wet weather in Edmonton and as such they are willing to give him another shot.

If they see him struggle again with little excuses left Franklin could be back in. If he ends up doing well again, Nichols’ job could be in jeopardy come Week 7.

Then again after all of this Reilly is returning and has been a solid starter but if Franklin gets the chance and turns the offence into a powerhouse even the starting job could be up for grabs.

Such is the nature of the CFL where there are only nine teams and nine quarterbacks that can play and teams rarely have an issue in seeing one quarterback leave if they can find another quarterback to lead the team.

Only time will tell as the pressure is likely on Nichols this week as he leads the Esks against the winless Riders in an attempt to keep his back-up role intact while keeping the Eskimos on top of the West.

Fourth Down:
(Thoughts on Week 5 in the CFL)

Willy Down Again
Drew Willy is keeping Bombers’ fans on their toes this year as he went down in the third quarter this week and did not return but is now listed as questionable with a knee injury that is not serious according to the Bombers as he seems to have survived an injury yet again

Stamps’ Workhorse Out
The Calgary Stampeders have not been the same team that won the Grey Cup last year and they will remain that way again as the staple of their team will miss 6-8 weeks with Jon Cornish breaking his thumb in week 5

Sam to debut in August
Michael Sam has returned to the Alouettes but not much has been heard since his return until this week when the Alouettes announced that he will likely make his CFL debut some time in August


Week 5 Scores:
Ottawa REDBLACKS 29 – 26 Calgary Stampeders
– The REDBLACKS had an amazing week this week as they were able to beat the Grey Cup champion Stampeders in front of a sold out crowd while also earning their third win of the season, surpassing their season total from 2014

Toronto Argonauts 30 – 27 BC Lions
– The Argonauts looked like the trip across the country effected them in a big way this week when they came out slow in the first quarter but after that it was all Boatmen as they climbed back and took the win continuing a successful road trip

Edmonton Eskimos 32 – 3 Winnipeg Blue Bombers
– A tale of two halves saw the Eskimos come out to a dominant win with both offences struggling in the first half while changes at quarterback for both teams led them in different directions with Edmonton coming out on top

Hamilton Tiger-Cats 31 – 21 Saskatchewan Roughriders
– The Roughriders were hoping that they could finally get their first win of the season in front of a home crowd but the Tiger-Cats had a different thought as C.J. Gable’s return led the Tabies to another win while handing the Riders their fifth loss of the year

Week 6 Matchups:
BC Lions vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Thursday July 30th; 8:30 pm ET)
– The Blue Bombers are still waiting to see if Drew Willy will play as he is listed as questionable but if he can’t go the Bombers have a decision as Brohm has proven not to be a great replacement while the Lions look to take advantage after a tough loss in Week 5

Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Edmonton Eskimos (Friday July 31st; 9:00 pm ET)
– The Riders are in need of a big win to get their first points of the season but the Eskimos may not be the easiest team to get that win against as they look to Matt Nichols, likely on a short leash, to lead the Esks to another win

Montreal Alouettes vs. Calgary Stampeders (Saturday August 1st; 7:00 pm ET)
– Montreal gets back to work this week as Rakeem Cato looks to continue his great run as the Alouettes’ starter and the Stampeders move on without Cornish and try to recover from a tough loss to the REDBLACKS in Week 5

Toronto Argonauts vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Monday August 3rd; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Argos will finish off their road tour this week when they travel just down the road to Hamilton and look to finish off a very successful road trip in beating their rivals who are trying to take over first place in the East with their own win

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