TORONTO -- When you start doing something good in the vast world of professional sports, people begin to take notice.
In the CFL, that theory has been applied to numerous individuals during the 2013 season alone.
Kory Sheets’ blazing start on the ground earned him high praise across the nation. As has Mike Reilly’s determination and never-say-die mentality over in Edmonton.
But what quarterback Zach Collaros has accomplished over the last month with the Toronto Argonauts appears to be in an entirely different league.
Having been thrust into the starting role as a result of Ricky Ray’s shoulder injury, Collaros has been quietly keeping the Argos along the same path they were on when Ray was healthy.
In the process of maintaining Toronto's lead atop the East Division, Collaros has lead the Boatmen to three-straight wins, all of which arrived after he orchestrated late-game comebacks on the road.
To make matters more impressive, Collaros has achieved all of this without the likes of Chad Owens and Chad Kackert – two obviously vital pieces to Toronto’s offence.
Outsiders might be surprised, but team insiders like head coach Scott Milanovich are not.
“I think we have learned a little bit about Zach. We knew he had the ability to move the pocket and run the football some but I think what we are learning is he is a better pocket passer probably than he is given credit for,” Milanovich told Argonauts.ca.
“So, we don’t have to force the movements and we can try and let him drop back and scramble when the time is right.”
Though he has the athletic ability to be a scrambling quarterback, Collaros has appeared poised and in control under centre during his elongated stay starting in Toronto’s backfield.
In his four games leading the offence, Collaros has thrown for 1,147 yards with eight touchdowns and just three interceptions.
The 25-year-old Cincinnati product also boasts a steady 105.9 QB rating, a number that’s right up there with the likes of more established starters like Henry Burris, Darian Durant, Travis Lulay, Reilly and Kevin Glenn.
When an upstart pivot such as Collaros arrives onto the scene, coaches across the league along with media around the country will try to draw comparisons to his fellow colleagues – that is, other CFL quarterbacks.
In this case, Collaros has drawn the card of Lulay, whose unique ability to escape the pocket along with his precision through the air is most certainly a trait that the former employs.
While flattered, Collaros says it’s not something he’s concerned himself with.
“I really haven’t given it much thought, right now I am really focused on what we need to do to win the East and that is my main focus right now,” he said.
“I think that is something that I have to think about after the season, but for now I’m very focused on the task at hand and winning football games for this team.”
Suffice to say, the last month has been a whirlwind for the Steubenville, OH native.
And while it appears that Collaros is uncovering new strengths with each coming week, he believes he’s had it in him the entire time.
“I don’t know if I am learning totally new things about myself. Like coach Milanovich said, the staff is learning more my strengths and what I can do and if anything I am just proving to myself that I can play at a high level.
“I am not saying that I am one of the better guys in the league; I am just saying that it is nice to know that you can go out there and win games and it is something to build off of.”
This week, Collaros’ Argos head to Edmonton to face an Eskimos squad that like Zach, is slowly beginning to show its true colours.
Be sure to keep your eye under Toronto’s centre, where Collaros will most certainly be turning a few heads.
With files from Argonauts.ca