Thursday, 5 January 2012
Did Obie Ever Truly Want Kevin Glenn?
Did Bob O'Billovich ever really want Kevin Glenn?
I know this might sound silly at first, because it was O'Billovich who signed Glenn after he was released by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Clearly, Obie had no problem bringing Glenn to Hamilton. If he did, he never would have picked him up in the first place.
However, I don't believe Obie ever wanted, or envisioned, Glenn as the starter, and I think O'Billovich did a poor job of hiding that fact over Glenn's three seasons with the Tiger-Cats. I'm not saying that Obie explicitly undermined Glenn while he was in Hamilton, but Obie acted in a way that might suggest he was never fully behind Glenn as the starter.
For starters, Glenn, who had success as a starter in Winnipeg and was only 29 when he was signed, was brought in as a backup. Glenn, much like the role he is likely to play in Calgary, was signed to be a veteran presence behind a young starter (in Hamilton, it was Quinton Porter; in Calgary, it will be Drew Tate). It was not the intention of the team to have Glenn become the starter, and the expectation was that Porter would replicate his success at the tail end of the 2008 campaign and become the Tiger-Cats starter for a decade. It might even be possible to think that when Glenn was signed, O'Billovich didn't imagine he'd be here for as long as he was, and only stayed as long as he did because of how well he played in 2010.
Despite that magnificent season, Obie was still willing to part with Glenn immediately following the 2010 season. In the aftermath of the Ricky Ray trade to Toronto, it was reported that Hamilton nearly acquired Ray the previous off-season. It has never been divulged just who or what would have gone to Edmonton in exchange for Ray, but it seems reasonable to guess that Glenn would have been part of the deal, especially in light of the fact that Glenn was part of the package that landed Henry Burris. Ray's 2010 season was disappointing to say the least, while Glenn had one of the best seasons a Hamilton QB ever had, yet Obie was an agent's plea away from dealing his record-setting Qaurterback.
When the 2011 season started off less than ideally for the Cats, O'Billovich went public with the fact that he thought backup Quinton Porter needed to see some more playing time. Again, Glenn was coming off arguably his best season; yet just two games into the new season, and the General Manager was saying the backup needed to see game action.
As the 2011 season progressed Glenn had what could best be described as a mediocre season. As the season wound down the team decided to use both Porter and Glenn in game situations. Call it a two-quarterback system, call it a platoon, call it whatever you like, the point is that both Glenn and Porter played in team's final four games. What does this have to do with Obie, you ask? I have no proof to back this up, and this is strictly my opinion, but I believe that the idea to play both guys came from the GM. Marcel Bellefeuille said that he "generally subscribed to today's thinking that you've got a starter and you develop somebody behind them to take over someday," so it would seem that the idea to play both did not come from Bellefeuille. Obie also has a history of using more than Quarterback, doing so successfully when he was the Head Coach of the Toronto Argonauts. The move to use two Quarterbacks always felt like an Obie decision.
Glenn's time with the Tiger-Cats finally came to an end Tuesday when he was officially traded to the Calgary Stampeders, along with Mark Dewit and a conditional draft pick, for Henry Burris. Remember when Obie declined to trade for Glenn because he knew that the Bombers were going to release him? All the scuttlebutt was that the Stamps were going to ditch Burris, yet Obie still opted to trade for him. Obie wanted Burris, so he went and got him; Obie settled for Glenn, so he was willing to wait.
In the aftermath of the trade, O'Billovich said a few things that could reveal his true feelings on Glenn, the most damning being that he said some candidates for the vacant Head Coaching position told him that the team would be better with Burris than with Glenn. While that may or may not be true – we won't know how good the team will be until they take the field in the summer – the fact that he made the comment is pretty telling. Obie also stated that he believed Burris to be a better athlete and more capable of bringing a Grey Cup to Hamilton than Glenn was. I understand a General Manager trying to talk up a recent acquisition, but the compliments he gave to Burris also speaks to his feelings on Glenn.
None of us will ever know how Obie truly felt about Glenn, and perhaps all of Obie's comments and actions say more about what he thinks about Quinton Porter and Henry Burris than it does about how he feels about Kevin Glenn.
Whatever the case may be, it certainly looks like Bob O'Billovich never really got behind Kevin Glenn.