The win in Regina was as nice as it was unexpected in many quarters for the B.C. Lions, but another go with the Montreal Alouettes Saturday gives rise to questions about this team’s quarterbacking.
After making Kevin Glenn look like one of the oldest rookies in pro sport two weeks ago by throwing up a defence that ruined whatever suggestion of game game plan there might have been on the part of the Lions, the Als are back.
And you would certainly expect the home side to have a more effective approach planned. But until Glenn has a few effective games in a row or a healthy Travis Lulay gets back into the lineup, there are going to be questions about whether the quarterbacking on this team is good enough to get this team where it wants to go, which we all know is a Grey Cup championship.
As well as the rocky start, Glenn is saddled with the reputation of having been around since the horse and buggy without winning a Cup.
And he was essentially off-loaded by the league’s one and only expansion team when the Lions got him as an insurance policy at the outset of the season. He had to play instantly when Lulay wasn’t ready, and with some questioning whether Lulay will ever be the same or will even return, the question has to be: Is Glenn good enough, or should they begin investing time in John Beck, or perhaps even begin an airlift?
Who better to ask than Wally Buono, VP of football operations and perhaps the CFL’s best long-term finder, developer and stockpiler of quarterbacks? How did they get themselves into this situation where they were scrambling at the outset of the season to find Glenn, and were fortunate to get him?
“This happened to me once before in Calgary when we lost (Henry) Burris and (Dave) Dickenson pretty much in the same year,” said Buono, who brought in Lulay at a time of such depth at the position that the young quarterback was fighting for the No. 4 spot.
“You can’t restock that quickly. It’s not possible. We had Mike Reilly, who is winning games in Edmonton, and Thomas DeMarco, who in my mind is a competent, good quarterback, and in two years we lost them both.”
So is Glenn good enough to get you where you want to go?
“Kevin is good enough to be a part of our quarterback tree and if we have to play with Kevin for the whole 18 games then I believe that we would be good enough to win.
“Last week was a better example of how the quarterback should be utilized at this point for what we’re doing. The quarterback was not the focal point of the offence. He was just a functional person and he played a very, very good game. But it wasn’t about Kevin running around throwing the ball deep.
“In the Montreal game he didn’t have a chance. The protection broke down and once it broke down, like every quarterback it had a direct effect.
“Against Edmonton for the first three quarters everything was fine, then he made the two bad mistakes and all of a sudden the whole game changes.”
The team is leaving Lulay to work by himself, which he does these days late in the afternoon after most people have left. He is expected at practice the next two weeks, at which point they will hope he comes to them and says he’s ready.
But he won’t play until he does. That’s because they already know he’s pressuring himself and they don’t wish to add anything more.
If Glenn does struggle in any of the upcoming games, or if Lulay needs more time than the present optimistic sentiment would suggest,you might at the very least look for Beck to make an earlier appearance than was the case in Montreal.
“John Beck is a lot like Mike McCoy (the now San Diego Chargers head coach, whom Buono had briefly as a QB in Calgary in 1999), a very smart guy,” Buono said when asked about how he’ll be feeling if Glenn goes down.
“I would not be at all uncomfortable with him. Not that I could be confident, but how about in Montreal when we put him in the game? He went down and scored.
“My point is, I would have put him in the game maybe a little bit earlier, but when we did, bang, bang, he scored.”
Get Lulay back and the quarterbacking “tree” description Buono uses will be upright and strong. Until then however, the tree will be looking a whole lot more bonsai than redwood.
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