It just so happens the Edmonton Journal is running a 3-part series on the future for Canuck passers (the first installment was a look back). Duane Forde, the TSN analyst, had a couple salient points:
"Suddenly the level of competition (in CIS football) has gone up and I think people around the CFL are starting to take notice, realizing there is some potential there.That is similar to the chance Ottawa Gee-Gees QB Brad Sinopoli had with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats this spring. Forde alluded to the fact U.S. quarterbacks are always going to be more desirous to the CFL, since they have certain inborn advantages:
"From here I think it's a matter of figuring out a system to give those kids a chance to make it in the CFL.
"Look at the situation in Toronto, where Danny Brannagan got to training camp and has ended up on the practice roster. But Danny Brannagan was an undrafted guy that went there after his fifth year of university. If he didn't make it, he has no other place to go.
"What I would love to see is for the CFL to start identifying the top quarterbacks in the country after their second or third years and give these kids an opportunity, even though they are not draft-eligible yet, to get into CFL training camps and not make up for all that learning in a two-week or three-week camp."
"You see more kids who are playing football in Canada taking advantage of the resources south of the border. Meaning going to camps, some even going to schools in situations where it means playing in warmer climates, a situation where you can throw the ball year-round, which means you're getting more reps — one of the reasons I think that have held Canadian quarterbacks back."That does not mean the CFL shouldn't at least consider some means to try and close the gap.
The lack of a Canadian QB hasn't hurt the CFL's bottom line — has it caused anyone to not buy tickets or watch on TV? It's just that the current conditions, as Forde elucidated, mean a CIS quarterback has a better chance of throwing a pass through the eye of a needle than getting on a CFL dress roster.
It would be nice, for lack of a more profound way to say it, if the league did more to help encourage the next great Canadian hope. Evaluating CIS passers earlier in their careers seems like part of the solution.
Canuck QBs' day will come; TSN's Forde thinks the key is for prospects to cast a glance to the south (Mario Annicchiarico, Edmonton Journal)