Thursday, 24 May 2012

Training Camp Preview: Quarterbacks

With training camp about to start (rookies report on May 30th, veterans on June 3rd) it's time to look at each position group as we head into the 2012 season. Today, it's the quarterbacks.

In short, this is Henry Burris' team. Barring some unforeseen catastrophe, Burris will be behind centre for the entire 2012 season. I still have some concerns over whether Burris can lead the team – no matter how hard I try I just can't shake the image of him skipping passes against the Argos last season – but he looks to be in good shape and perhaps the trade will motivate him to get back to being the player he was just two seasons ago. Reuniting with George Cortez gives me reason for optimism. Burris was at his best when he was working with Cortez, so my hope is that they rekindle that magic here.

Backing up Burris will be Quinton Porter. While I doubt he sees the field for any significant time, I do think 2012 could end up being the most important year in Quinton Porter's career. Porter and Burris are very similar quarterbacks, which means the offense that is going to be run this year will play to not only Burris' strengths, but also Porter's. It also doesn't hurt Porter that his new head coach is renowned for working with quarterbacks. This is the year that Porter will either take a step up in his development or be allowed to leave (he is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the season).

The Cats will have two players vying for the third-string job in Tate Forcier and Sedrick Harris. There is no chance that either of them see the field after the final preseason game. They are both projects and developmental guys, and neither of them are ready to be put on the field. Forcier is the more well-known name, but the team signed Harris for a reason. The team released Jason Boltus because they thought both of these guys can play. While I think the edge goes to Forcier, counting out Harris would be foolish.

The only thing that really matters when it comes to the quarterbacks is whether or not Burris can bounce back from his terrible 2011 season. If he does, the Cats will be an elite team, possibly even a Grey Cup favourite; if he doesn't, and we find out that 2011 was the beginning of the end, then the team will be lucky to make the playoffs. Cautious optimism is how I'd define my attitude towards Burris. I think he can bounce back, and I hope he does, but I'll need to see him play before I put my full faith behind him. After the first month of the season, we should know whether or not Burris is back to being Burris.

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