Johnson: Will Glenn -- or Tate -- get date against Riders?
We won't have to wait too long for John Hufnagel to channel his inner Alex Trebek and provide an answer to the Final Jeopardy question to the category: Calgary Stampeders' starting playoff quarterback.
Only 'til Tuesday.
Who is Drew Tate?
Or: Who is Kevin Glenn?
"Regardless of the decision ...," stammers Tate. " ... See, I know this is the story for you guys. But the story should be the Calgary Stampeders are 8-2 in the last 10, 9-2 in the last 11. And we've got a pretty good thing going heading into the playoffs.
"That should be the story."
Should be. But isn't.
On the day Americans go to the polls to determine who'll lead them through the next four years, Hufnagel has vowed to pulge who'll lead the Stamps into Saturday's West semi against the Saskatchewan Roughriders and, factoring in a positive result, all the way through the 100th anniversary Grey Cup celebrations Nov. 26 in Toronto.
Tate or Glenn? Who should, who shouldn't? Who will, who won't? If nothing else, it makes a meaty bone for the media mongrels to gnaw on.And if the principals themselves seem somewhat less preoccupied with it, well, you'd be right."I think," hollered a teasing Nik Lewis Sunday, interrupting an in-progress interview to lob a grenade into Glenn's foxhole, "we should have a players' vote on who starts!"
Glenn, standing maybe 20 feet away, shot him a glance. "Yeah," he fired back in kind, "and whoever throws the ball to Nik the most gets Nik's vote, right? If Dave (offensive co-ordinator Dickenson) promised to throw the ball to you, you'd vote for him!"As you can tell, the suspense is absolutely killing them.
"I know it's part of your gig," said Glenn diplomatically."But as a team, a player on a team, a leader on the team, we need to focus more on the game. That's what's important: The Game. Not Kevin. Not Drew. We'll let you guys obsess on all that other stuff. Whoever he names, that's it. We move on from there. But both guys are going to be prepared to play. Trust me. Bo Levi (Mitchell) will be prepared to play.
"I think we've shown you guys both guys can play well and both guys can win. Either way, I'm a team guy. You won't hear me squawking.
"Just because you maybe didn't play in the Western semifinals doesn't mean that you're not part of the success, not part of the team. And just because you don't start doesn't mean you won't finish."
The case for Kevin: Old saying goes -- You go with the guy who bring you to the dance. And Glenn, even if he wasn't first choice as prom date, is the guy who's shown up, ringing the doorbell, toting a corsage. He threw for 4,220 yards and 25 TDs and is arguably the major reason this team finished 12-6 and crowding the B.C. Lions. Such meritorial service should be rewarded. Game snaps alone make him an obvious choice.
The case for Drew: He is, in popular sporting vernacular, Da Man. The future of the franchise as the wheelhouse position. A fiery counterpoint to Glenn's calmness. Hufnagel undermined confidence by replacing him with the deposed Henry Burris at halftime of last year's West semi up at Edmonton. Don't make the same lapse-of-faith mistake again. Tate showed in his full half of football at Commonwealth Friday -- 11 for 15, 139 yards, one TD toss and 20 points -- that he's sharp enough. It's his show. Let him run it.
Compelling arguments, both ways.
"Here," said Dickenson, "is what I think is going to happen: We're going to settle on a game plan, what we want to do, we'll talk as a staff and determine who we think can execute it and give us the best chance to win. And that'll be who Huf names.
"It is a tough decision. It would've been an easier call if Drew had come in and not had good games. But he's played well. We already know Kevin had a very successful year. Very confident in him.
"Does it matter (who starts)? Sure it matters. To those two inpiduals. You get first shot at it. This isn't a half-and-a-half thing. Whoever starts gets first kick, if he plays well then he plays the whole game and hopefully takes us a ways. As a quarterback, you can get an opportunity like this and run with it."
Tate doesn't see his relative lack of on-field, game-conditions time as a serious disadvantage.
"I was talking to Huff a minute ago and he said the B.C. game and this last game was kinda like the two pre-season games, for me. And I was like, 'Yeah. Makes sense.' Because I'd only get a few drives in the first pre-season game, numbers-wise maybe like seven passes, and then a half in the next one.
"So it's relative, definitely.
"If he tells me it's my huddle then I'm gonna go play and play with all I've got.
"(In Edmonton) I did what I was supposed to do. I moved the chains, put points on the board. I mean, if that's what you're supposed to, then that's what I did.
"I'm not really worried about it. All I'm concerned about is winning the Grey Cup and whatever quarterback plays, we're gonna be fine. I'm confident in whoever's pulling the trigger."
Tate or Glenn? Just one more day to gnaw on the bone. On Tuesday, John (Alex Trebek) Hufnagel will shrewdly end the suspense early and disclose Final Jeopardy.
The Stamps are making it a true Daily Double, betting the bankroll on being right.
"One guy," said Dickenson, the voice of experience, "will be upset.
"That's just the competitive nature of the game. That's just the competitive nature of the position. But believe me, both of them understand they have to be ready, regardless.
"The disappointment will be -- can't help but be -- there. Get over it. We've got a game to win."
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