Cauz: Is it time to turn to Brink or Elliott for the long haul? | | Official Site of the Canadian Football League

A crazy Week 3 is in the books and with Week Four mere moments away I needed to bang out my column and get it out fast. So when in doubt, focus on the glamour position, the quarterback. Here are some of the most fascinating quarterback storyline from this past week.

It’s time to bench Buck Pierce.

Is this a knee jerk reaction to his recent injuries? Maybe…probably. Now I need to stress this sentiment is nothing about his courage or his ability to lead men. It is all about his ability or more accurately his inability to stay healthy. Hey, some people are just unlucky. Remember Jesse Lumsden? His body was designed to dominate on the football field. He was a physical freak blessed with a once in a lifetime combination of athleticism and skill. Only one problem; he rarely was on the field to display his talents.

Listen, this may be unfair to say but being healthy is a skill. Or at least it needs to be treated as one. It needs to be regarded as highly as your 40-time or your prowess at reading a defence. Unfortunately for Winnipeg, it is a skill that Buck has yet to master and guessing by his history of injuries he never will.

Hey it’s not his fault. Just like Lumsden his body was not designed for the rigors of football. Buck has missed time for big hits, little hits and everything in between. A lot of which led to him being let go by the BC Lions.

For Paul LaPolice and Co. no matter what happens this week the team has to start thinking about the bigger picture. Last season’s run was terrific, fuelled by a fantastic defence and the only time Buck could remain upright for an entire season.

Looking back, maybe 2011 was the outlier for Buck Pierce, maybe his role is that of the best backup QB in the league, the change of pace guy who can wreak havoc with opposing defences.

The Blue Bombers offence is a mess and it won’t get any better until they are settled at quarterback. More importantly they need a guy who they can depend on to start; they need someone who can take all the first team reps in practice during the week. Right now you have a revolving door at quarterback. That lack of continuity is certainly hurting the ability of the offence to sustain drives, to capitalize on a nice one-two punch of Chris Matthews and Terrence Edwards at wide receiver.

So, for the good of the Bombers offence Winnipeg needs to sit Pierce down, settle on either Alex Brink or Joey Elliott.  

Drew Tate

Drew Tate made the right decision to elect for surgery over rehab. In a situation like this, dealing with the same injured shoulder the prudent move is to shut Tate down and live to fight another day. Drew is young enough where he still has a long and bright future ahead of him, no use jeopardizing that for short term gain.

On a bigger picture this injury is a massive bummer to all fans of the league. Listen I am an Argonauts fan first, everyone knows that, but I hate seeing young talent, especially at the quarterback position get derailed due to injury. I love watching the development of quarterbacks, it’s why I root for Darian Durant, the league is just so much better served when it is littered with under 30-year-old gunslingers showing off what they can do. Drew Tate’s surgery is a massive blow to a Stampeders team that easily could (and probable should) be 3-0 but it is even a bigger blow for fans of the league. Here’s hoping his rehab goes well, he comes back strong and he dominates the league…except for twice a year against Toronto.

Darian Durant

Speaking of Durant, he loses his best wideout in Andy Fantuz, he is coming off his worst season as a pro and yet through three games he is quarterbacking the only undefeated team in the league. Biggest difference: In the last three years Durant has thrown 57 interceptions and fumbled the ball 28 times, this year he is clean in both categories. On top of the turnovers his 67% completion percentage is the highest of his career, a good sign for a guy whose decision making ability has been questioned in the past.

Going back to the Winnipeg and Edmonton game for a quick second, here’s a sign you’re watching a bad game: Six, count ‘em six quarterbacks all get a chance to play.

Anthony Calvillo

He turns 40 on August 23rd and yet he leads the league in passing yards, tied for touchdowns thrown and is tops in quarterback rating. This can lead to only one conclusion, Anthony Calvillo is not a man but rather a cyborg sent from Skynet to wipeout the human race. Save us John Connor, save us!

Now going back to Calgary for a moment … I think we will be hard pressed to find a worse interception thrown than that piece of work Kevin Glenn delivered right to Jerald Brown on Thursday night. Cleo Lemon in his worst days wouldn’t have made that decision. You’re better than that Kevin.

Henry Burris

And finally it wasn’t a great day for Henry Burris but he got the job done late when they needed him. Eleven minutes to go and Toronto had stormed back from a 21-0 deficit to cut the lead to 29-27 having outscored the Tiger-Cats 27-8. Clearly Hamilton’s offence needed to respond. It couldn’t all be about Chris Williams, now could it?

Three times Hamilton faced a 2nd and long, three times Burris delivered. The first situation, a 2nd and 7, Burris audibled at the line of scrimmage, rolled out to his right, found no one open and burst free for a 23-yard gain. Two plays later on 2nd and 10, his receivers were covered so Burris ran right up the middle of Toronto’s defence, made three men miss and gained 14 precious yards en route to another first down.

Finally, his touchdown pass to Bakari Grant was a perfectly placed ball, a rocket that found its way through tight coverage being provided by Jalil Carter. 36-27, advantage Hamilton, game over. The hero on Saturday night was Chris Williams, but it was Burris that helped seal the win. Why is it that the quarterback always seems to get all the credit?

About Matthew

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.

Fan Comments
This whole article strikes me as right on the money.
July 17, 2012 - 6:48pm
Just my opinion, but I think for the Bombers the sooner they get Joey Elliott to the top of the QB depth chart, the better. I like Alex Brink a lot - he's a good passer, good mobility, but as far as I can tell Joey Elliott has outperformed him every time he's gotten an opportunity to play. Elliott, too, is a good passer but he seems to have that special confidence and leadership ability within him to a higher degree than Brink does. Brink will continue to start but it would not surprise me if Elliott is the Bombers' starter by the end of the year (provided they do decide to move away from Pierce) or even in the next couple of weeks. If they do go with Brink, I think they're going to have a solid starter for a long time.. but I think they'll be regretting it just a tad when Brink is starting in blue and gold and Elliott is starting for Ottawa/wherever he ends up.
July 17, 2012 - 11:53am
good news for the bomber as chad simpson will be inserted into the starting lineup. hopefully not too much rust will be needed to shake off but he is a great weapon that will help Brink make the transition.
July 17, 2012 - 2:57am
It is time for the Pierce ERA as a starter to end. It is not a knee jerk reaction to this season. It dates back to the second part of last season after an 8-1 start with buck pulling Rabbits out of his hat for wins it went down hill and he ran out of tricks. The Bombers were 2nd worse offense and Buck led the league in 2 and outs and he cant stay healthy.
Agree a back up would suit him he had always played better off the bench as the article said he could come in to a game when the O was stalled and pull that Rabbit out of his hat and steal a win here and there. Afterwards however right back to #2 and no QB controversy about whatif he stays healthy. Been there done that.
Buck is out Brink is in for now at least. Next season perhaps a QB competition in camp Brink and Elliot the ladder traded before the expansion draft because which ever does not win the job would be on top of Ottawas short list of QBs allowed to be selected in the expansion draft.
July 16, 2012 - 9:17pm
Let's wish Drew Tate asuccessful surgery and a speedy recovery.

Durant throws a pretty ball. Chamblin has done wonders with the Riders! Whoed thunk it? His best Receiver for the last five years is still with him, Thank the Lord, Mr.Weston Dressler!!!

Cavillo has a release like Marino. He always knows where he's going with the ball. Cuts down on INT's and hit the Receiver on the break. Precision Football.

Burris should be in Winnipeg, cause he has not lost his Swagger. His coaches needs to give him a better offense. Stala, Grant, Williams, and The Chevy can drive them anywhere.

Pierce is a mess. He's a football player's football player. No road to high, no valley to low. I don't know what to do.

Lastly, Kevin Glenn. Given some time he's good. He only gave up 7 points the defense gave up 26. Something needs fixing.
July 16, 2012 - 7:48pm
Kevin Glenn is a good passer. The thing with him is he is about as unclutch as humanly possible. Need a big drive late? May as well take that INT to the bank. I guarantee you a whole lot of Bomber fans saw that INT at the end of the Montreal game coming a mile away. He's been doing that as long as he's been a starter in this league. But he is a very good passer for the most part.
July 17, 2012 - 11:55am
Buck's health is only half the issue here. The other big question is whether Buck is even good enough, healthy or not. Even when healthy, he has shown very little, both this season and last. Thus far, he is one of the two poorest starting quarterbacks in the league, even when healthy.
July 16, 2012 - 7:19pm
When Buck is actually healthy, he's definitely good enough. He's just never actually healthy. He is one of the poorest starting QBs in the league while healthy enough to start.. but that doesn't make him healthy. He's playing hurt almost every time he's on the field and the fact that he has to leave so many games . If you gave Buck the durability someone like AC has had over his career, he'd be very good. But between only starting part of the year and missing half of every game he does start, he is playing hurt literally all the time and never has an opportunity to get into a rhythm either. That's why his stats suck so much. If he were somehow resistant to injury, he'd be good enough. But always playing with something bothering him, no.. even when he does play, he isn't good enough, I agree.
July 17, 2012 - 12:00pm
als rule
time for a change at QB in the 'peg!! QB tate yes injury proned!! QB glenn's INT was a 100% thank you from DHB brown!! burris why even bother!!
July 16, 2012 - 6:45pm
Well, well look who's back! I agree, Buck needs to be replaced with either Brink or Elliott. Teams need a QB who will be there and isn't always in danger of being injured. Glenn was Glenn and Burris saved the day with his feet, whether you like it or not.
July 16, 2012 - 8:36pm
als rule
well well look who's still singing the blues and avoiding reality!!
July 17, 2012 - 11:11am