I know there are some Calgary fans upset over the officiating after some “missed” calls during their 30-25 loss to Saskatchewan. But I hope you won’t mind if I do not focus on what may have been missed.
It’s quite rare to see storylines about a running back overshadow those surrounding the quarterback in the CFL. But that is exactly what happened this weekend.
Going into the Stampeders vs. Roughriders game all the attention was on Corey Chamblin’s rather novel guarantee that Jon Cornish would not rush for 100 yards; and if by some fluke chance he did hit triple digits there would be cuts.
Personally, I loved this rather brazen proclamation, but then again I’m not a member of Saskatchewan’s defence.
While everyone was busy paying attention to how well the Riders were able to maintain Cornish, I noticed something that was somehow overlooked.
What slipped through the cracks was the mini comeback by Darian Durant. I know this is not exactly Peyton Manning coming to Denver, nor did Durant suffer a near career-ending injury but he is a former All-Star who has quarterbacked his team to two Grey Cups.
I was interested in seeing just how mobile Durant would be and what sort of game plan would Chamblin, Bob Dyce and Khari Jones implement for their returning quarterback.
» By the Numbers: Darian Durant
Passing Yards: 2,556
Passing TDs: 12
Completion %: 63.2
QB Rating: 90.3
After watching and re-watching the game, it is clear that Durant’s mobility is not even close to where it needs to be for him to recapture his 2009 form. However, it is more than good enough to win.
This was never more apparent than in the first quarter on a simple eight-yard completion to Neal Hughes. On that play Durant escaped the Calgary rush and managed to convert the second down play. The burst wasn’t there but he had enough mobility and smarts to keep the drive alive; a drive that would lead to a touchdown seven plays later.
Durant’s velocity is also there. You could see that on several long out patterns, the type of route that so often leads to interceptions, Durant looked comfortable while hitting Scott McHenry on an 11-yard strike on that same initial touchdown drive of the first quarter.
Speaking of comfort, a telling sign for just how effective a returning quarterback will be is his ability to stand in the pocket and take a hit. The moment a quarterback starts to shy away from contact is the moment he can no longer lead men, he will no longer be an All-Star. With just over two minutes to go in the game, Durant hit Taj Smith for 13 yards while taking a hit from a blitzing Eric Fraser.
Matthew Cauz is the Weekend Host for 'GAME DAY' on TSN 1050 Radio. Previously, he was a producer and football analyst for SUN TV where he appeared regularly on the “Casino Rama Grill Room” and he spent seven years working for TSN's “Off The Record”. Follow Matthew on Twitter @mcauz56.