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September 26, 2016

Quarterback Index: Gale on the board after late-game heroics

Troy Fleece/CFL.ca

The CFL.ca Quarterback Index is a weekly power ranking of quarterbacks across the CFL. The ranking reflects recent performance, historical value, statistical indicators, team success and overall on-field play.

TORONTO — In the battle of the second- and third-ranked quarterbacks on the CFL.ca Quarterback Index, it was Mike Reilly holding his ground with his team’s win against Jonathon Jennings and the Lions.

Reilly has held a top-two spot all season while the young Jennings has pushed to move up, but that conversation will be for another week following the Esks’ 27-23 win over the Lions last Friday night.

Bo Levi Mitchell remains number one following his late-game magic to set up a Rene Paredes 52-yard game-winning field goal, while Matt Nichols put in a strong outing in a losing effort for Calgary.

RELATED:
» Landry: 5 takeaways from Week 14
» Steinberg’s MMQB: A new voice at the right time
» Gale leads Riders to last-second victory
» No Fly Zone: REDBLACKS spoil Willy’s debut for divisional win

Matt-Nichols

Matt Nichols put on another strong showing despite falling to Calgary in Week 14 (CFL.ca)

Further down the list, Dan LeFevour falls two spots after being pulled at halftime in the Argos’ 29-12 loss to Ottawa over the weekend. Drew Willy could be ready to make his first start as an Argonaut in Week 15 when the Boatmen take on the Alouettes, which could drastically affect both of their positions a week from now.

Finally, a second Riders quarterback has entered the equation after Mitchell Gale stepped in for Darian Durant to lead the Green and White to its second straight win.

The conditions are perfect for some big changes a week from now, but in the meantime, we look at who sits where heading into Week 15:

Bo Levi Mitchell CGY
This Week: 1 | Last Week: 1

As long as his team keeps winning, Bo Levi Mitchell’s career record as a starting quarterback, now 39-7-1, will continue to follow him. Mitchell threw for 361 yards and two touchdowns in a 36-34 win over Winnipeg, but what the numbers don’t tell you is the game-winning 52-yard field goal he only needed 15 seconds to set up after the Bombers took the lead. Mitchell remains the clear MOP favourite.

Mike Reilly EDM
This Week: 2 | Last Week: 2

Fans will point to his team’s losing record, but Mike Reilly continues to lead the CFL’s most explosive passing offence and one of the most productive units overall. Last year’s Grey Cup MVP made one less mistake than his counterpart Jonathon Jennings on Friday night, and that was the difference in the Esks’ 27-23 win over BC.

Jonathon Jennings BC
This Week: 3 | Last Week: 3

The 24-year-old sophomore passed on a chance to move up in the rankings, throwing two interceptions in a 27-23 loss to the Eskimos over the weekend. Edmonton’s defence made life difficult for Jennings in Week 14, but the up-and-coming pivot could still be more consistent. At this point he could easily move up or down in the near future.

Matt Nichols WPG
This Week: 4 | Last Week: 4

Matt Nichols wasn’t the first quarterback out-dueled by Bo Levi Mitchell and won’t be the last, but the comeback he led the Bombers on Saturday afternoon was admirable to say the least. The Bombers trailed 30-7 at one point before going on a 27-3 run to take the lead late. The Bombers’ pivot did all he could but Mitchell got the last say, sending Nichols his first loss as a starter in 2016.

 

Zach Collaros HAM
This Week: 5 | Last Week: 5

The Ticats fell to 3-4 with Zach Collaros under centre, losing to the same team the veteran quarterback lit up back in Week 9. Turns out he’s human after all, but beyond that Ticats fans have little reason to worry: Collaros continues to put up solid yardage and will look to bounce back with four of the final five games this season at home.

Trevor Harris OTT
This Week: 6 | Last Week: 6

Trevor Harris continues to move the football and complete passes with high efficiency as he did in a 29-12 win over the Argos on in Week 14. The next step will be finishing drives with greater frequency, as Ottawa has scored a touchdown on a league-low 42 per cent of red zone appearances this season while Harris has just four touchdown passes in four games since returning from injury.

Darian Durant SSK
This Week: 7 | Last Week: 7

He couldn’t finish the game due to injury, but Darian Durant still threw for 326 yards and a touchdown in the Riders’ win over the Ticats. The veteran pivot continues to produce at a high level, although his status for Week 16 when the Riders return from the bye remains up in the air.

Rakeem Cato MTL
This Week: 8 | Last Week: 9

Movement around him allows Rakeem Cato to move up a spot on the board despite the Alouettes not playing in Week 14. The 24-year-old needs to lock down the job for the foreseeable future while the Als come into Week 15 feeling refreshed off a coaching change. It’s one week at a time for Cato.

Drew Willy TOR
This Week: 9 | Last Week: 11

The Argos probably didn’t want him in there this soon, but a poor first half for Dan LeFevour led to Drew Willy playing the second half of a 29-12 loss to Ottawa on Friday night. Willy showed poise and a willingness to go downfield, hooking up with Kevin Elliott for his first touchdown toss as an Argo. It’s Willy time in Toronto.

Johany Jutras

Drew Willy could be due to make his first start as an Argo in Week 15 (Johany Jutras)

THE LONG READ: Drew Willy’s time is now

For the Toronto Argonauts and Drew Willy, success or failure in the coming years will be inexorably intertwined.

» Read More


Dan LeFevour TOR
This Week: 10 | Last Week: 8

After two impressive starts in a row, LeFevour’s bubble burst a little bit with a tough first half against Ottawa. Still, the 29-year-old showed us a little something in his first two starts and should be on CFL radars from this point forward — if he doesn’t start in Week 15.

Henry Burris OTT
This Week: 11 | Last Week: 10

Henry Burris continues to sit and watch on the Ottawa sideline and provide support where needed. Not a bad situation for a team coming off a Grey Cup appearance in 2015, having the league’s Most Outstanding Player backing up and ready to go.

Mitchell Gale SSK
This Week: 12 | Last Week: —

Mitchell Gale picked up where Darian Durant left off, completing seven of nine passing attempts for 52 yards while helping to set up the game-winning field goal against Hamilton. Gale completed five straight passes to set up Tyler Crapigna’s game-winning boot, giving the Riders their second straight win.


Injured Reserve

Quarterbacks not currently active won’t be ranked in the QB Index but will be added when healthy.

RICKY RAY TOR
THIS WEEK: IR | LAST WEEK: IR

About halfway through his 4-6 week window, Ricky Ray remains an option to play for the Argos in 2016. Whether he starts again or not could depend on a number of things, including how the quarterbacks perform in his absence and whether or not the Argos are in a playoff race.