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Friday, November 6, 2015

"AIR CANADA" TO START VERSUS ROUGHRIDERS

MONTREAL (CP) - It's a meaningless game between two teams out of the playoffs, but Brandon Bridge sees it as a chance to show that a Canadian can be a regular starting quarterback in the CFL.

The 23-year-old old will start for Montreal as the 6-11 Alouettes end the regular season Sunday against the 2-15 Saskatchewan Roughriders (12 pm Sask Time kickoff, TSN, CKRM Rider Raido Network). The Mississauga, Ont., product will be the first Canadian pivot to start a CFL game since Giulio Caravatta for the B.C. Lions in 1996.

"It's a great chance for him,'' said coach and general manager Jim Popp. "It will be fun to watch.''

Saskatchewan will also have a rookie starter, with mid-season acquisition Keith Price behind centre after playing parts of the last two games as a backup to Brett Smith. Price has completed 22 of 35 passes for 267 yards and two touchdowns.

It will have taken 17 games for Bridge to even get into another game after his unplanned debut in the Alouettes' season opener on June 25. He was thrown into the fire after both starter Jonathan Crompton and backup Dan LeFevour were injured in a 20-16 loss to the Ottawa Redblacks.

Bridge, who became the first Canadian pivot to appear in a game since Toronto's Danny Brannagan in 2010, completed five of 10 passes for 62 yards with one interception, and it was thought he'd get the start in the next game against Calgary. But rookie Rakeem Cato got the call and was impressive enough to snatch the starting job away.

When Cato eventually stumbled and then got injured, a succession of quarterbacks got playing time, including Tanner Marsh and late-season pickup Kevin Glenn, but Bridge was left out of the lineup.

"It was disappointing not knowing the reason behind it, but after them bringing me in and (offensive co-ordinator Anthony Calvillo) telling me what the reason was, it kind of cleared the air,'' said the six-foot-five Bridge. "They just wanted to make sure that if I go in I'm fully prepared.''

Popp wouldn't say how long Bridge will stay in the game. Anthony Boone and recent acquisition Tajh Boyd are expected to see some action, while 37-year-old Glenn will likely be rested to keep him healthy for next season.

Bridge, picked 31st overall from South Alabama in this year's draft, sees it as an audition for 2016.

"I just have to worry about this game, but definitely next year I'll go in with the mindset that I want to be the guy,'' he said. "It's been a whole carousel of quarterbacks.

"I think they're just trying to find that one guy that can be, like, the franchise. Thank God (Glenn) came in here with 15 years under his belt. Great experience. Great guy to learn from. I'm actually happy that he's here so I can learn from him.''

Popp said Bridge is in the Alouettes' plans.

"I thought he did fairly well when he got into the first game of the season and he didn't really know what was going on,'' said Popp. "As the year went on, studying the playbook, he was antsy to get back in.

"He's handled it fantastically and now because of this situation, he gets his opportunity to go out and not just be a player and prove himself, but to be an inspiration for this country.''

The Roughriders also lost starting quarterback Darian Durant to an Achilles tendon injury in their season opener. Glenn took over before he was traded to Montreal and then Smith became the starter.

Price will be the Riders' fourth QB of the season.

(Canadian Press)

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Should be a barn burner of a game.

Randolph said...

Nice to see a Canadian is starting at the main position on the field. Guys like Sinopoli should get the chance at pivot, without concern about the ratio. Really, why can't a Canuck excel at quarterback? American bias, that's why.

Anonymous said...

Great to see a Canadian QB get a chance, but he wouldn;t have had it playing at a CIS school. That has to change!

Anonymous said...

Lucky Bugger. Gets to start against the worst D in the CFL who will no doubt make him look like a superstar.
Thank goodness this year is coming to a close and we won't have to watch this stuff much longer. It should be interesting time ahead for whom ever is the next coach and GM. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Considering the circumstances of his first appearance I thought Bridge did very well. Hopefully he is almost as good as Price.

DJR

Christopher Evans said...

Currently, Qb's do not affect the ratio. And, yes, there is a bias against Canadian QB's... they go against CIS kids who play a handful of years and have only played a handful of years themselves. QB's in American colleges play against US players who are stronger/faster (typically speaking), and have played the game for a dozen years or more! Even with the nuances of the CFL game, US prepared QB's will be a much better stock of QB. Not to mention the sheer number of US QB's to choose form vs. their Canadian counterparts. Football in Canada has improved over the last decade, but we are a far cry from the US megabeast that is American football!

Anonymous said...

Easy to change and Frustating as none are given time to develop even as Durant was for 2-3 years!

Easy fix add a Roster spot to the team for a Canadian Qb have them be paid but not count against the salary cap. Have the league share cost and promote them with tsn as Canada we are coming!!!
Then the Kicker if a Team has a Canadian Qb on the Roster they get to carry a extra American starter on the active roster for games as well.

Anonymous said...

Maybe popp can bring him with him when he comes!

Randolph said...

Good points Chris, but even with the handicaps you would think that on occasion this country could throw a standout at the position.

Anonymous said...

Those who do not know the history of the riders think it will be different next year. Same old boys club same result.

Anonymous said...

You can't tell me that a quarterback like Andrew Buckley in Calgary or Asher Hastings at MacMaster (former Thunder) would be a better 3rd string quarterback than some of the plugs in the league right now.