Tuesday Morning QB (CFL Week 18)

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There was something on the field this weekend that seemed a little strange but it wasn’t always strange.

This week the Saskatchewan Roughriders put Duron Carter on the defensive side of the ball taking the wide receiver and putting on the other side of the ball.

It is essentially unheard of these days as football players never play both ways sticking to one position.

That has become a sign of the times as the game has grown and evolved into something entirely different.

When the game first started that is all that there was with nobody playing only one position on the team.

It was a time when the best players played no matter the position because teams and coaches were just looking for the best athletes.

The system simply wasn’t there to get the best talent to bring them to football rather than any other sport that was big decades ago.

That meant when the teams found a great athlete they were going to use him as much as they possibly could.wk18

That meant giving them the ball as the running back and giving them the opportunity to create something and put up points.

They would also put them on defence where they could have an impact and shut down the other teams.

After a while things began to evolve and as they evolved the game took on a new level.

As offences began to get more complicated teams didn’t want their top players to split focus on offence and defence.

They began focusing more on one side of the ball and as teams demanded more for every position the idea of playing both ways began to fade away.

The best athletes would be placed where they were best suited and in that position, they began to get finite in their training.

Receivers looked to build their vertical to improve their catch radius while also looking to get faster.

Quarterbacks began to become the general of the offence requiring them to know everything about their offence leaving no room for defence.

Running backs began to focus on different styles of running and were considered workhorses that couldn’t be wasted on defence.

The defensive side of the ball also evolved as they continued to try to come up with new schemes to confuse offences.

That led to the same positional focus on defence where everyone began focusing on certain aspects of the game to help them do what they do best.

It created the game that is in place now where players are constantly focused on perfecting their positional play.

Many of the players in professional leagues now did begin their football lives playing multiple positions on their high school teams.

Much like the old school thinking, high school teams take their best talent and put them wherever they need it for the time being.

As these great athletes grow into NCAA players they begin to focus those natural talents into one position.

As that happens NFL teams continue the trend focusing, even more, putting players in certain situations more than ever unless they are a truly special talent.

football-sidebarThe evolution of the game has taken away that ability for players to play everywhere and make a real difference in the game.

The Roughriders are changing that though as they have suffered a number of injuries to the defensive backfield and went with the unexpected move to move one of their top receivers to the defence.

Instead of signing someone or bringing up a defensive back from the practice roster they went with an unconventional player.

It worked out for them too as the Riders won the game partially thanks to a pick-six by Carter.

It seems to be something that the Riders are willing to go with for the rest of the season as well.

Although he didn’t play both ways in the game this week he is expected to begin playing both ways next week.

If he continues to impress he might be the first two-way player in decades and if he can put up great numbers on both sides he might be one of the best.

It is just another example of teams in the CFL willing to do something different with certain coaches leading that charge.

Chris Jones is one of those coaches as he will take any chance to make his team better and with the playoffs now in sight, he will continue to make what seem to be strange decisions that might just work out.

 

Fourth Down

One of Four

It was this time last year that rumours began to swirl about Ricky Ray and the potential of him walking away from the game. After all, there wasn’t a lot left for him to do after winning two Grey Cups and putting his name among the best ever. With the hiring of Marc Trestman, Ray decided to return and it turned out to be a great decision for the future Hall of Famer. This past week Ray broke the 5,000 yard mark for the first time in his long career and those 5,000 yards put him among some select company. That would be the three other QBs in CFL history to throw for a total of 60,000 yards in a career.

Iannuzzi Hangs them Up

He has been one of the few solid Canadian talents in the league that has lasted throughout the many seasons playing the same role. He might not have been a superstar or the greatest Canadian receiver but his longevity as a Canadian in the league is enough to make him one of the great Canadians in the game. Marco Iannuzzi will leave the game though as his seven-year CFL carer will come to an end this season. Week 18 marked the moment Iannuzzi announced that 2017 will be his last year in the league after putting together one of his best seasons in the league going for more yards than ever before.

Canadian Debate

Another week and another Saskatchewan win that came in a very similar way as the game started with Kevin Glenn struggling under centre only to be replaced by Bridge for the win. It was a debate when Bridge led the Riders to a win against the Argonauts. Now it is something altogether different as the Riders have seen a young Canadian quarterback come in and lead the team to a win two weeks in a row. Now many wonder how the Riders can go with Glenn for the rest of the season when Bridge, although raw, seems like he has the ability to lead this team right now and into the playoffs.

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