Tuesday Morning QB (CFL Week 12)

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The CFL is entering the final push towards the playoffs and there are some very close battles in every division.

As the season gets closer to the end every game becomes that much more important as each loss puts them closer to finding their way to an early end to the season.

As teams try to get towards playoffs they will all try to find something that will ensure that they can keep winning.

For one team that is proving to be a more interesting proposal than most.

The Toronto Argonauts started their season with plenty of promise but had one major question to answer.

It was a season where almost all of their skill players were back to full health but one big player was not.

Ricky Ray had undergone shoulder surgery in the off-season and began the year on the 6-game injured list.

He had been the steady hand that had guided the Argos for the last few years despite the constant changes on the offence.

No matter who they lost Ray gave them the chance to win games and without him there were some serious questions.

It was not the first time that the question emerged though as only two years ago Ray was injured at the start of the year.

They had to replace him with a young back-up in Zach Collaros who did a great job in keeping the Argos in contention until Ray returned.

Collaros translated that great starting stint into a contract with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and is now a mid-season MOP favourite.

This year the question was whether or not they had another Collaros that could hold the fort until Ray returned.

Turns out they did as Trevor Harris led them to the top of the East division and was the top rated quarterback in the first half.

He was doing exactly what the Argos needed and took it a step further in showing his ability as a starter.

Winning games for the Argos gave many people a thought though as a new debate began to emerge in Toronto.

Who should be the starter in Toronto when Ray was ready to return?

That question continued to get tougher to answer as Harris continued to put up wins every week while Ray tried to get to 100%.football-sidebar

The debate surrounded a fear that has been in Toronto for years as they know what it is like to not have a quarterback.

When Damon Allen retired the Argos sunk to the bottom of the league as they tried to find a new quarterback.

It lasted for years as quarterbacks came and went with none being able to bring them back to the playoffs.

When they traded for Ray they finally found their guy and returned to the playoffs in a big way, winning the 100th Grey Cup.

Ray is not getting any younger though and as he entered his 13th CFL season on the injured list there was plenty of questions about how long his career was going to last.

He is on the tail end of his time on the field. With only a few years likely left there are concerns over the future of the quarterback position in Toronto.

If Ray retires who will be there to replace him and continue to make them a contender. Harris seems like the best option as he has proven to be a promising young QB just like Collaros.

But if Harris walks away at the end of the year, his contract ends this year, will they be great enough to find another back-up in time to replace Ray.

With Ray on the sidelines and Harris carrying the load it was a debate about handing Harris the reigns throughout the season and proclaiming him as the next QB of the Argos or putting him as a back-up to Ray and likely seeing him walk away for a starting role next year.

That debate has been slightly different recently as Harris has now lost three games in a row including two against the Tiger-Cats where Collaros far outperformed him.

Harris’ weaknesses are beginning to show through as he has always started slow but been able to overcome the slow start near the end of the game.

Recently that hasn’t happened and as Ray returned to the sidelines as the third string QB the time is coming to make a decision.

It seems obvious to some that the future hall of famer needs to be the starter no matter what Harris has done throughout this season.

Still the debate carries on about whether or not this is Ray’s team when he returns or if Harris will take over the role.

They will need to make the decision soon as it could mean the difference between making the playoffs and having a second half collapse that drops them from the playoff hunt.

Fourth Down:
(Thoughts on Week 12 in the CFL)

Lulay out Again
In Week 11 the BC Lions saw their starting quarterback go down only weeks after he returned to the lineup and this week it was announced that he will miss 2-3 weeks this year with an MCL sprain as he hits the injured list again

O’Shea Taking Charge
Mike O’Shea continues to try to turn the Winnipeg season around before it’s too late as he fired Special Teams Coordinator Paul Tracey and took over the duties, a position he held with the Toronto Argonauts before becoming a head coach

Austin Fined
The rematch of the Battle of Ontario in Toronto was just as chippy as expected but nobody expected the coach to get in on it as Kent Austin was fined this week after purposefully running into Dave Stala on the sidelines

Muamba Playing the field
Henoc Muamba was one of the top CF linebackers a few years ago before entering the NFL but now without an NFL spot he is looking for a home in Canada visiting Toronto, Hamilton, and BC as plenty of teams looking to sign him

standings-w12.fw

Week 12 Scores:
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 35 – 27 Toronto Argonauts
– The first two games between the provincial rivals ended with easy wins for the Ti-Cats and the Argos were looking for some revenge and although they stayed closer than the first two games they couldn’t get the win with the Ti-Cats getting the season sweep

Winnipeg Blue Bombers 22 – 7 Saskatchewan Roughriders
– The Blue Bombers were the only team to lose to the Roughriders this year on Labour Day but in the Banjo Bowl it was a different story as the Riders lost yet another game and the Bombers took a win and got closer to a potential playoff spot

Edmonton Eskimos 27 – 16 Calgary Stampeders
– The Battle of Alberta had been on-sided in the last four years as the Eskimos had lost to the Stamps every game for the last four years but that streak was finally snapped with Mike Reilly at the helm leading the Esks to the win

Ottawa REDBLACKS 31 – 18 BC Lions
– The REDBLACKS are having a season that nobody expected and they continued it this week when they easily got by the Lions who are once again without their starting quarterback and showed how much Lulay means to the team in a poor offensive showing

Week 13 Matchups:
BC Lions vs. Calgary Stampeders (Friday September 18th; 9:00 pm ET)
– The Lions will try to recover from a lackluster performance in Week 12 but it won’t be easy as they take on the best team in the West with the Stampeders coming in angry after dropping a game to their long-time rivals in Edmonton

Edmonton Eskimos vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Saturday September 19th; 4:00 pm ET)
– The Eskimos finally got by their toughest test in Calgary but now move on to the other great team in the league as they travel to Hamilton and try to become only the second away team to pick up a win at Tim Hortons Field

Ottawa REDBLACKS vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders (Saturday September 19th; 9:00 pm ET)
– Last year this would have been a matchup where the Roughriders could have walked away easily but the REDBLACKS are a resurgent team and the Roughriders have one win all year as Ottawa looks to move into second place alone after travelling to Regina

Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. Montreal Alouettes (Sunday September 20th; 1:00 pm ET)
– The Bombers continue to provide inconsistent play but with Matt Nichols at the helm they hope to change that and right the ship as they head into Montreal where the hope is they can get out of the basement of the East

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