Tuesday Morning QB (CFL Week 4)

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The biggest story before the new CFL season surrounded an infamous quarterback coming up to play in Canada.

Johnny Manziel had made a name for himself in the NCAA as a Heisman Trophy winner who was always a little controversial.

His issues off of the field concerned plenty of people in the NFL but he still got his chance with the Cleveland Browns.

Those issues off of the field continued in the NFL though and as he struggled on the field to adjust to the faster pace and extra responsibility of play calling he began to party harder off of the field.

Eventually, he was out of football altogether and the spiral continued until he checked himself into rehab for alcohol abuse.

Since getting clean Manziel has been looking for a way back but no NFL teams wanted a small QB who had off-field issues and who’s biggest issue was reading defences and calling plays.

Like so many before him, Manziel really only had one choice, head to Canada where his ability to run and improvise could be harnessed.

There were issues with his transition to the new league as he was never going to get the money he wanted and because of CFL rules never had the chance to negotiate with anyone but Hamilton.

Despite his controversy and issues with the contract rules in the league he truly had no choice and signed with the Ti-Cats.

There has never been a mystery as to what this move was all about as Manziel wanted to get on the field and prove he could still play.

If he could do that an NFL contract was likely going to come his way and he would be back to where he always wanted to be.

It was a temporary stop but still it was a stop and fans were excited to see what he could do in a league where the rules seemed to be made for his style.

In all of the excitement for a big name from the NFL coming to the Canada something was forgotten, the current starter.

In 2017 Jeremiah Masoli was slowly building his resume after Zach Collaros was hurt and he was given the starter’s role.

He made the decision tough for the Ti-Cats when Collaros came back and the rest of the season was spent as a juggling act between the two.

When Collaros was traded to Saskatchewan the door was open for Masoli to truly prove if he had what it took to be a full-time starter.

Then came the rumours and the eventual signing of Manziel and it seemed as though his shot to start was gone before he even really got it.

A combination of a coach in June Jones who wasn’t ready to just hand the ball over to the big name and the performance of Masoli in training camp kept Manziel on the sideline.

It was the smart move as Manziel still needed to learn the game and a few weeks sitting on the bench would be good.

There was still a belief that a few weeks would be the end of his time on the bench as he would take over.

Again though, that didn’t take into account that there was already a starter in place and that he was just about to get his first real shot to shine.football-sidebar

The entire season was going to be a test for Masoli who had a big name right behind him and at the first sign of struggle, the pressure to start that big name was going to grow.

So far this year, Masoli has given nobody reason to call for Manziel other than the fact that people want to see the former NFLer.

Out of all of the quarterbacks in a league with some pretty special pivots, Masoli is beginning to separate himself.

This week he threw for 33 yards in a losing effort but that 300-yard game was his ninth straight game with over 300 yards.

That tied a record for the most consecutive games with 300+ yards passing joining the likes of Sam Etcheverry and Kent Austin.

He is one of two quarterbacks to pass for more than 1,000 yards this season and is making the Ti-Cats the most feared team in the east.

His level of play this year has him as a way too early front-runner for MOP and if it continues he might just shut down the biggest story in the league.

Although the question was always about when Manziel was going to start it is beginning to turn into a question of if he will start.

The way Masoli is playing there is no taking him out of the lineup and if he keeps playing like this Manziel might never see the field, at least not in a Ti-Cats jersey.


Fourth Down

Not Much of a Chance

Brandon Bridge has spent two weeks looking to make an impact in Saskatchewan while Collaros recovers from an injury. It was supposed to be his chance to prove that he could be a starter but after struggling in his first week as the starter his chance seems to be gone. Chris Jones continues to make decisions that seem to show an affinity for Americans over Canadians under centre. Although not many have to make that choice Jones does and in Week 4 he decided against giving Bridge a second chance. Instead, he decided to rotate Bridge and David Watford not really allowing either to get into a groove. It was a strange decision that has come into question and as the season moves on many wonder if Bridge will every truly get a shot.

A Rare Backfield

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are taking a unique approach to their running game, one that has rarely happened. Although plenty of teams have split time in the backfield in the CFL it is rare to see that time be split between two players who can bust the ration in the CFL. Two Canadians in the backfield used to be how the Stampeders conducted business but it was only for two seasons. Now the Ti-Cats are looking to do the same with Burlington’s Mercer Timmis and Montreal’s Sean Thomas Erlington. Both are doing well and leading a great attack for the Ti-Cats but more importantly, they are staring in an all-Canadian rush.

Changes Continue in Montreal

The new attitude in Montreal continues to form as the team follows along their new strategy to walk through the history of the Alouettes. In June they were all about earning your wings and as a result, they went with the 1946 helmet decals putting wings on the side of the helmets. For July they are moving to their next generation from 1970. Their new helmets will now have the French horn on the sides of them for the rest of the month as they continue to take a trip through their history.

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