Tuesday Morning QB (CFL Week 9)

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Making it in the CFL is never an easy thing as the league has a surprising turnover rate for players.

It is a league where the lineup to make it is pretty big despite the fact that the CFL is not always the place that most people are aiming for when they begin a football career.

The fact is though that the CFL has become a place to play the sport that so many people love and for some, it is a way to get to the NFL.

This league has choices of players from so many different walks of life as there are the NCAA players ho never quite got a shot, former NFL players looking to continue to develop and Canadians looking at the CFL as their pro league.

There are multiple reasons for players to enter the CFL as some are hoping it is a temporary stop while others see it as their chance to play pro football.

Either way, there are a lot of people waiting for spots and a lot of those people have a lot of talent.

It makes for an interesting group of players but it also makes for a long line of talented players waiting to get the call.

As a result, the lifespan of a CFL player can be very short with the standard of play having to be very high.

One bad season can end a career in the CFL and it isn’t entirely unheard of for a player to make their way through multiple teams.

Sometimes it has little to do with performance and everything to do with a coach that just wants to go a different way.

That seems to be the case in the move that shocked everyone this week in the CFL as the Saskatchewan Roughriders released Duron Carter.

Carter’s name was never really heard of a lot this year and there is a very specific reason for that fact.

Carter had moved to the defensive side of the ball to play cornerback at the request of Chris Jones.

It was an experiment started last year as Carter got time on both sides of the ball but to begin the new year he was set to be a starting cornerback.

It was a bit of a strange decision as Carter had been one of the best receivers in the league for years and to take him out of that position was not necessarily the smartest move.

Giving the offence another target was not going to be a bad thing but for the Riders, they saw an opportunity to bring more talent to the defence.

He did well on the defensive side, especially since he had only had a limited time to learn a new position compared to everyone else playing that role.

He wasn’t a spectacular player on defence but his single interception and multiple passes defended this year was good enough to be a serviceable corner.football-sidebar

He also added 111 yards on offence including a 54-yard performance in his final game with the Riders.

It seemed like he was putting together a good season on both sides although he could have been better just focusing on the offence.

Then came the news that the Riders were parting ways with their star in a move that shocked everyone.

Not many teams are willing to give up on one of their best players but for Jones and the Riders, that has never really been a problem.

Jones has been getting a reputation for making some interesting decisions especially with full control in Saskatchewan.

It hasn’t always worked out but sometimes you have to make a risky decision to get the biggest reward.

Jones will likely have to wear this decision should the Riders not make the playoffs much like the other decisions he has made but there may be a deeper meaning for this move.

Carter has never really been the type to put out full effort all of the time as he has taken plays off and has had off-field issues.

Just this off-season he was charged with possession of marijuana in Saskatoon, although likely not the worst issue with the drug becoming legal in October.

Still, for Jones, the attitude that Carter brings might have just worn thin enough for them to let him go.

It seems unlikely that if Carter wanted to come back that he wouldn’t be able to find a place to play.

He has already seen interest from other places but there is always that big lineup to think about though.

If his attitude is the problem he could be done with the sport regardless of how talented he is because in the CFL there is always a talented player waiting for his chance.

 

Fourth Down

Diversity Taking Centre Stage

The CFL quickly launched a new campaign last season after the divide in the USA only grew during the election. While the debate raged throughout the USA the CFL decided to show what makes them such a unique league. The “Diversity is Strength” campaign highlighted the diversity that has filled the CFL and Canada. Now the league is taking another step int hat campaign highlighting the diverse history of the league. The league will honour 12 individuals who express that diversity from the son of an immigrant in Wally Buono to the first female GM Jo-Anne Polak and multiple players who were denied a chance in the USA but were welcomed in Canada. During Weeks 10 and 11 the league and the teams will honour these players and highlight the diversity of the league.

The Manziel Report

It is a weekly part of the CFL breakdown as the entire football world is watching what Johnny Manziel will do in Montreal. The Alouettes have struggled all season and they traded for Manziel in hopes that it could turn some things around. His first start was less than desirable as he threw four interceptions in the first half in another loss for the Als. The CFL world watched again this week as Manziel got his second start in the CFL and looked to improve on the poor first performance. This time around Manziel looked better and made better decisions helping the team to look better. Going 16/26 and having 168 yards he looked better but the Als still lost and he was not as dynamic of a player as they need. The Alouettes have a lot of work but if the improvement continues his comeback season might just be beginning.

The Real Comeback SZN

 Although all of the attention is on the Alouettes and Manziel there is another comeback story that seems to be taking shape. In 2011 Travis Lulay took over the league in a major surprise as he helped the Lions to the Grey Cup and took home the MOP for the league. It seemed like the league had another star QB on their hands but two years later troubles began with a major shoulder injury. Lulay missed most of 2014 and in 2015 was injured again giving way to Jonathan Jennings who established himself as one of the top young QBs in the league. It has been a long way back for Lulay who continued to struggle to stay healthy but with Jennings struggling and Lulay fully healed he was given the reigns in Week 8. He looked good and in Week9 he was impressive again. The Lions are starting to make a run and Lulay is the one leading the team in a true CFL comeback story.

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