Tuesday Morning QB (CFL Week 1)

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Another CFL season got underway and for the league, it didn’t take long for the controversy to kick in.

The CFL itself would have loved to see their first week go by without incident and without a massive debate about games or players or plays.

It is never the goal of any league to enter into a season and find controversy as they would much prefer the conversation centre around the play on the field.

Debates about who teams should play or about someone’s amazing performance is what the league wants to see.

Instead, they often see the exact opposite especially as the years have gone on in football where player safety has become a major concern.

Every year the CFL puts out more rules or tweaks to rules in order to try to protect players in an inherently violent sport.

The sport will never be entirely safe but the league is concentrating, like the NHL and NFL, on trying to reduce hits to the head.

They attempted to pass rules or make clearer definitions on rules that protect players from getting hit in the head and suffering potential concussions.

It is one of the biggest concerns in football right now as participation in the sport is at an all-time low due to concerns over head injuries.

In a sport where players are flying around the field, it is hard to prevent these injuries as someone is likely to hit their head in almost every game.

The hope for the rule changes is to make those players delivering the hit think about their actions and ensure that they play safer.

Launching themselves head-first into opposing players or making sure they target the strike zone rather than the head is essentially what these rules are trying to encourage.

Someone didn’t quite get the message though and that person has done this type of stuff before.

Simoni Lawrence has always been a linebacker who plays on the edge and it is what has made him so successful.

He always had that fire that defensive players need but in playing on that edge he can cross it sometimes.

He did it in 2015 when he directly targeted Henry Burris’ knee which he had hurt the week before in a march towards the Grey Cup.football-sidebar

It was a bad hit that seemed very obvious but nothing was done aside from a fine regarding his comments post-game.

The fact was the hit was legal but was questionable given the widely known injury history of Burris that season.

This year he was back on the wrong side of controversy only a quarter into the new season.

This time it came after a hit against Rider QB Zach Collaros as Collaros slid after taking the ball himself out of the pocket.

As Collaros was in his slide, Lawrence came through with a late hit directly to the head of the quarterback.

It forced Collaros out of the game and got the Ti-Cats a 25-yard penalty but for many, it wasn’t enough as some believed he should have been kicked out.

The CFL later said that he should have been kicked out of the game and after the week handed Lawrence a two-game suspension.

The suspension was not necessarily equal to what the Riders lost though as Collaros was placed on the 6-game injured list.

More than that, the hit itself may have put a career in jeopardy as this is not Collaros’ first time on the IR.

He has had multiple problems with injuries after suffering through an ACL injury in 2015 and 2016 then suffered a concussion in 2018.

That concussion kept him out for most of the season but he returned in time to help the Riders to the playoffs.

Then another concussion forced him out of the playoffs giving him two serious head injuries in only one season.

It only took one week for Collaros to suffer his third concussion in two seasons making his future a serious question.

Concussions are a major concern because of the future issues they have caused so many players.

Collaros will spend his time on the injured list and try to recover but as the concussions build up things can only get more complicated for Collaros.

Fourth Down

Glenn Calls it Quits

Kevin Glenn might not go down as a Hall of Famer but he will be remembered as the ultimate back-up QB. He spent his time throughout the league playing for every team aside from the Toronto Argonauts. He was always the guy that teams went to get as an insurance policy if their top guy got hurt. That might not be the best thing to be known for but for Glenn, it was his reality as teams respected that he could be the guy to fill in at a moment’s notice. They had someone experienced enough and good enough to carry a team for weeks at a time and that will forever be his legacy as he announced his retirement from the league.

Uncertain Future

The Montreal Alouettes have struggled with their play at quarterback for years as they have been the one team without a true starter since Anthony Calvillo retired. They have gone through plenty of names trying to find their guy and this year was no different. After losing Johnny Manziel they named Antonio Pipkin as their starter for 2019. Pipkin showed a lot of promise when he was in last year and he hoped to take control this year. That plan is in doubt now though as Pipkin left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury leaving even more questions as the Alouettes head into their bye week.

CFL 2.0 in the Works

Before the season began the CFL embarked on the first stages of Commissioner Randy Ambrosie’s CFL 2.0 plan. A big part of that plan is to make the league more international by spreading into markets outside of Canada and the USA. The CFL made their first moves when they signed developmental deals with Mexican and European football leagues providing a path to professional football in Canada. They took their next step just before the season began as they signed a broadcast deal with MVS to show one game a week. After a number of Mexican players made opening day rosters they have a vested interest in showing games while the CFL continues to grow beyond Canadian borders.

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