CFL Football Column: The York Report on the CFL
Strange QB Selections from Alberta Teams
I mean, Matt Nichols has been excelling on the field lately as the quarterback for the Edmonton Eskimos but head coach Kavis Reed has chosen to start veteran has-been Kerry Joseph for their Eastern Division semi-final game against the Argonauts in Toronto on Sunday.
“Kerry is a veteran quarterback who has been to the playoffs and won a championship,” said Reed. “Kerry’s experience gives him a bit of an advantage going into the post-season.”
Umm, let's take this Reed rationale just a step further: Kerry's over the hill, has been out of football because he was deemed to be done quite some time ago, has had an absolutely dreadful season and won that championship a long, long time ago. He will be pulled sooner rather than later on Sunday, after the Argos are done chewing him up, and poor young Nichols will be brought in too late to be effective enough. The Argos will know Nichols will have to throw a lot to lead his team back and their defensive players will be pinning their ears back, knowing full well that Nichols will be in passing mode.
This game, folks, could get ugly, much like the Eskimos' season has. That was a terrible, terrible trade that recently fired general manager Eric Tillman made before the season began, when he actually relinquished star QB Ricky Ray to Toronto for journeyman QB Steven Jyles, who is barely an afterthought for the Esks now as their third-stringer behind Joseph and Nichols. This was the worst trade in many, many years, and I couldn't possibly stick up for Tillman in this case. This has nothing to do with the countless times he called my bosses at various media outlets in desperate attempts to get me fired. This deal speaks for itself. He was fired because of this brutal, team-destroying trade -- and I didn't even have to call his boss once.
Good luck to you, Eric Tillman. You're done in the CFL. And your 2012 Eskimos - a brutal team that you will forever be responsible for putting together -- will be shredded by the Argos on Sunday. And you should be proud of that, perhaps, because you were singlehandedly responsible for strengthening the Argos by giving them one of the few formidable quarterbacks left in the CFL.
As for Calgary, Stampeders head coach John Hufnagel has decided to start Drew Tate at QB for their Western semi-final on Sunday against the visiting Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Folks, I'm not a big fan of Kevin Glenn, who isn't too far behind the aforementioned Joseph in the over-the-hill gang. Still, the Stamps won more than they lost this season with Glenn at QB while young Tate was recovering from an injury since early in the season. Changing QBs now, just before the playoffs, seems unwise to me.
Not that Tate is bad. Quite the opposite. His potential is unlimited, but I don't understand Hufnagel tampering with success. Why fix something when it isn't really broken?
Anyhow, unlike the Eskimos, I think the Stamps will prevail regardless of who starts as their QB, so I'm going to give Hufnagel a pass here. Unless, that is, the Riders upset the Stamps on Sunday, in which case I'll be all over him and rip him apart for one of the strangest coaching decisions I can remember.
Marty York's weekly CFL picks against the spread:
Sunday, Nov. 11, Eastern semi-final: Edmonton Eskimos vs. Toronto Argonauts
Line: Torontois favored by three points.
Marty's analysis: This will not even be close. It's a mismatch. If the Argos get even half of what Ricky Ray is capable of doing, and if Chad Owens does even half of what he's capable of doing, we're looking at a rout.
Marty's pick: Take Toronto minus the three points.
Sunday, Nov. 11: Calgary Stampeders vs. Edmonton Eskimos
Line: Calgary is favored by 4.5 points.
Marty's analysis: Tough call here so don't go nuts. Calgary has the biggest star in the game, Canadian running back Jon Cornish, who will oppose the Argos' Owens in the voting for the CFL's outstanding player. So, be careful because they may not cover, but go with the Stamps.
Marty's pick: Take Calgary minus the 4.5 points.
Marty York is the editor-in-chief of Fantrax.com. He has covered professional football for more than three decades and is internationally renowned for his countless sports scoops in newspapers, online and on the airwaves. Contact Marty at firstname.lastname@example.org and check him out live on the air every weeknight from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern at www.nssradiotv.com.
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