Tuesday Morning QB (CFL Week 1)

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The 2018 season got underway but before the season began there were a lot of major questions with almost every team.

In the CFL everything begins and ends with the quarterback, regardless of how some might think about it.

Without a great QB, there is little to no chance that a team can take home a Grey Cup which has been proven time and time again.

Although the rule still stands that defence wins championships there is no team that didn’t have one of the best quarterbacks leading the offence.

The passing game is such a big part of the league that without a great QB, it is going to be very hard to keep up.

With that focus on the passing game, there is always a major spotlight on the position throughout the league.

Before every season it seems like most of the major questions surround the most important position in the game.

2018 was no different as some of the biggest stories in the game surrounded the quarterback position.

In Edmonton and Calgary, it was more about who could take the Battle of Alberta this year, Bo Levi Mitchell or reigning MOP Mike Reilly.

Those Albertan teams were the only ones with established quarterbacks that didn’t have a lot hanging over them aside from expectations.

Ottawa has some questions as Trevor Harris was hurt in preseason but no questions were going to be answered with the REDBLACKS on a bye in Week 1.

Toronto had Ricky Ray, a future Hall of Famer, who many see as nearing the end of his career with 2018 likely being his last year.

Heading into the season the question was the same as every other veteran quarterback to come before Ray, how much does he have left?

On the other side of the spectrum was in BC where a young QB had some questions for his upcoming season.

Jonathon Jennings was the future of the position after his breakout year in 2016 when he started the entire season and threw for over 5,000 yards.

2017 was different though as an injury to his shoulder left him less than 100% throughout the year leading to accuracy issues.

This season was going to be his chance to show that all of that promise he showed in 2016 was real and that he had what it took to be one of the best.

Another young QB got his chance somewhat unexpectedly as Chris Streveler was thrown into the starting role straight from college after Matt Nichols was hurt.

He was the great unknown in Week 1 as nobody knew what he was going to bring to the table aside from his speed on the ground.

Then there were the quarterbacks looking to prove that, despite the doubters, they were ready to take control of their teams.

In Saskatchewan, Zach Collaros was getting a second chance after struggling in Hamilton and then being traded.

His replacement was facing some serious questions too as Jeremiah Masoli has a massive spotlight with the biggest name in CFL history sitting and waiting behind him.

With Johnny Manziel serving as a back-up Masoli is playing every week to be the starter and avoid the hype that follows the former Heisman winner sitting behind him.

In Montreal, an endless line of quarterbacks was looking to end with Drew Willy who wanted to show that he still had it after looking promising in Winnipeg only to falter after multiple injuries.

All of these quarterbacks entered a new season with some major pressure over their heads and all were looking to prove something in the first week.

That is what the first week is all about in the season as teams and players all have a chance to take the first swing at answering those questions.football-sidebar

This week most of the quarterbacks did a good job of answering those initial questions showing that they can do it in their situations.

Streveler was able to hold things together pretty well for his first start throwing for 178 yards and three touchdowns in a losing effort.

There was promise in the performance and for Bombers fans a little bit of hope while they wait for Nichols.

In BC Johnson didn’t throw a lot but did go 20/24 and 183 yards while adding 57 yards on the ground while in the same game, Willy got 281 yards but threw 1 TD along with 1 INT.

Johnson showed that he certainly still has what it takes both through the air and on the ground while Willy showed that the talent is still there.

In Saskatchewan, Ray wasn’t his accurate self, making one big mistake while getting over 200 yards without throwing a touchdown while Collaros got just over 200 yards and had a 70% passing percentage.

It wasn’t a fantastic debut for Ray but without any time in the preseason, it could be more of a lack of warm-up than his age showing up.

Collaros may have been the biggest winner of them all as his career was seen as being essentially over but his performance in his debut with the Riders showed he has a lot left.

No answers were completely given in Week 1 but there are some signs of certain QBs showing that they are ready to prove the doubters wrong while others may just prove them right.

Fourth Down

The Dominance Continues

It was a week full of the matchups that have been major issues in the last few years as western teams had a full slate of games against the east. It was a chance for the east to change things and show that they could compete. That wouldn’t happen as the east suffered a bad blow in the first week. Every eastern team lost their game this week as even the defending Grey Cup Champions couldn’t get by the fourth-place team from a year ago. If this is an indication of how things are going to go the debate over the destruction of the divisions will only gain more steam.

The Longest Game

The opening game of the new season was going to be the kickoff that the CFL has been looking forward to for months. It was going to be a show with a concert planned to kick-off a new Thursday Night Football concert series planned for the season. The weather had a different idea though as the first quarter went by without a hitch but midway through the second, a thunderstorm rolled through delaying the game. After 1 ½ hours, the game was back on but only enough for a series as the game ended again for another 1+ delay. Overall it was a 2 hour and 55-minute delay making the opening game the longest in the history of the league.

Earning Your Wings

The Montreal Alouettes have struggled throughout the last few years but this year they decided to go back to basics. They are calling it “Earn Your Wings” as they try to reconnect with the history of the team in Montreal. It started with blank helmets in the preseason giving the players something to earn. They started the season with helmet designs from 1946 that included wings on the side of the helmets. They will continue to move through the history of the team throughout the season as they look to the past to bring a brighter future for the team.

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