Davis: Collaros equipped to handle Riders’ fishbowl

New Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Zach Collaros met the local media for the first time Tuesday since being acquired from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

He was well-received. And I didn’t even attend the media conference! How do I know? Because my whole life used to revolve around Roughriders practices and media conferences, watching offensive strategies and meeting big-name signees. Rarely does anything go wrong at practice or during a media conference.

You can easily verify Collaros’ warm reception on websites and sportscasts throughout the province, where he shows off his new jersey (No. 17) and talks about his evolution from an athletic to a cerebral quarterback.

New quarterbacks, coaches, general managers and even Vince Young have all been well-received when they join Rider Nation. Social media goes abuzz with fans sending “Great to have you in Saskatchewan” messages to the newcomer on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

There’s always an extra layer of gratitude, that someone is coming to Saskatchewan to validate the Roughriders, to make them into a potential Grey Cup winner. When it’s Collaros, a six-year veteran who was once the CFL’s most-promising player, there’s also hope that despite serious injuries and a few missteps, he can re-establish himself as a dominant quarterback.

Kevin Glenn, the recently-released veteran who Collaros is likely replacing as the starter, was welcomed to Saskatchewan three times. Kent Austin, the quarterback who led Saskatchewan to its 1989 Grey Cup victory before leaving the province as an enemy when he demanded a trade, was welcomed back as the Roughriders’ head coach in 2007 and promptly led them to their next championship. Some frisky fans have even campaigned to bring Nik Lewis, once a despised receiver with the Calgary Stampeders, back for one final go-round in Green and White.

I’ve dealt with Collaros during his career, meeting him first when he temporarily became the Toronto Argonauts’ starter while Ricky Ray was injured. At first blush he seemed like a confident, young man, capable of understanding all the duties of a CFL quarterback. His confidence took a hit last season when he was winless as a starter, leading to his second-string demotion and last week being traded for a second-round draft choice to the Roughriders, who are eager to reduce his league-high salary of over $500,000.

Few things in the CFL are secrets, so players and administrators and fans and media know Collaros is bright, charming and eager to be a part of the community. Collaros has regularly shown himself, at 29, to be mature enough to handle the extra-bright spotlight of playing quarterback in the Roughriders’ fishbowl, where it’s impossible to hide from praise and/or criticism.

Quarterback Darian Durant, winner and leader of the 2013 Grey Cup team who was traded away from Saskatchewan a year ago, spoke often about the personal, some-good and some-bad interplay between the fans and players of the community-owned team. Collaros will soon get first-hand experience.

Collaros will first be trying to win the starter’s job over Brandon Bridge, a Canadian quarterback who platooned fairly successfully with Glenn and endeared himself deeper to the diehards because he re-signed with Saskatchewan before becoming a free agent. It’s a running joke in Saskatchewan that the backup quarterback is always the fans’ favourite, so at the moment Collaros is in a no-lose situation.

Darrell Davis

Darrell Davis

Darrell Davis has reported on the Riders for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2006.
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Darrell Davis
About Darrell Davis (119 Articles)
Darrell Davis has reported on the Riders for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2006.

33 Comments on Davis: Collaros equipped to handle Riders’ fishbowl

  1. GreenGiant // January 9, 2018 at 4:14 pm //

    Did I miss something about Lewis signing with Riders?

  2. He couldn’t be in a more welcoming place. When I arrived for the 2013 Grey Cup, I wondered why people in a number of cars were all waving to me. Our Ticats were playing Sask, and I had on my Ticat sweater, etc.
    They were waving as a welcome to a fellow CFL fan. What a feeling! Even their pets were in Rider Green and welcoming!!
    Treat our Zach well!

  3. Scottsask // January 9, 2018 at 4:55 pm //

    Message to all on coming posters. Talk football, don’t feed the troll. Goooo Riders!

    • Troll is a compliment for that dork. I am actually surprised I read a Davis story too. It must be a new year.

    • Blue Rules // January 9, 2018 at 5:20 pm //

      I agree with Scottsask, football related talk only! @ Mr. Lover, did you know that Zach’s 2017 stats were
      Pass % 62.8, effint 81.1, INT % 2.6, 8 TD’s & INT 7, Which is worse than Drew Willy….Hmmmmmmmm!

  4. a bit of a head scratcher….they have 6’5 Bridge….possibly a franchise player for the next decade….and he’s a CANADIAN QB (ie. a unicorn) ….butttt they’re rolling out the red carpet for a guy who lost 12 (?) in a row? and hasn’t excelled for 3 or 4 years?

    • Are you saying that because he’s 6’5″ and a Canadian that he should start ahead of Collaros? seriously?
      Bridge has shown potential but hardly a “franchise” player.
      As I said before – Burris lost 16 games in 014 but came back to win 12 and the league MOP. Same for Ricky Ray in 016, came back to win the GC.
      Good chance with the change that Collaros could be the franchise player.
      Bridge is not ready yet.

      • He may need some time but from what I saw, he looked miles better than most of the american backups.
        change the rule and let canadian QB’s be ratio busters.

  5. Let’s hope he does well. Yes he had a poor season but Henry Burris had a terrible 2014 season and came back a year later with 12 wins a Grey Cup appearance and the league MOP.
    Ricky Ray had a terrible 2016 season, looked like he was washed up but came back and had a great 2017 season.

  6. justforkicks // January 9, 2018 at 5:23 pm //

    If you listen to the Zach interview he says he expects to COMPETE for the starting position. Does it get any more clear than that? I doubt anyone is getting the starting position outside of Jones himself until after camp and preseason.
    And hope is a wonderful thing. Some teams hope they can win a grey cup but just cannot finish the job when they have supposedly everything going for them and some underdog slaps them with reality.

  7. Well done!

  8. Well done, (just for kicks)
    To MrLover-choke hehehe

  9. As a Ticats fan I have to say that that picture just looks weird! Good luck to Collaros – aside from 2 games against his old team. I think he’ll light it up again – just hope Ticats management don’t regret letting him move on.

  10. Mike Rielly finally has some real QB competition in the West. Bridge needs to play a lot better to be the starter and he will be better. Collaros needs to be better as well and I fell he will, earning the MOP for 2018. Bridge knew he was not guaranteed to start with the new contract as told by Jones, he will be given the opportunity to earn it in camp an preseason games. Glad to have both.

  11. Scottsask // January 9, 2018 at 6:28 pm //

    I’ll second that competition and depth breed success. We’re really rollin’, now we’re on our way!

    • Our Pride is showing. It’s growing everyday.
      We’ve got that Rider Pride, a feeling deep inside its Rider Pride! Second verse!

      How bad are we going to be when training camp finally starts! lol!

  12. Mr Curling // January 9, 2018 at 6:31 pm //

    Keep in mind when Bridge signed all of Saskatchewan assumed James Franklin was coming to Regina so Bridge would be naive if he thought he would be handed the starting job “for the next 10 years” especially on a 1 year contract.O’Day and Murphy are probably still looking for more quarterbacks

  13. Hamilton has trained and nurtured one of the best passers in the league only to give him away to the Riders to explode and lead the Riders into one of their best seasons in many years.Hamilton fans will have to watch and weep.

  14. BleedzGreen // January 9, 2018 at 7:02 pm //

    Just watched Collaros’ Q&A with Regina media. Seemed genuine and forthright with his responses, but what struck me is how humble and thankful he is for a fresh start, and “the opportunity to compete”.

    Manziel and his mouthpiece could learn a thing or 2 from this kid.

  15. Scottsask // January 9, 2018 at 9:08 pm //

    I’ll be checking out for the night Rider Nation, remember starve the troll, don’t respond to it, we’ll all be better for it.

  16. Let’s not forget that Kent Austin then HC simply refused to get Masoli into any games just to give him some relief. It was bizarre as Austin was never shy of playing 2 QBS in the same series.

  17. Dundas dude // January 9, 2018 at 9:47 pm //

    Collaros was having an incredible season in 2015 before the injury. He just wasn’t the same quarterback when he came back in 2016 and 2017. The guy is a class act and a fierce competitor, but the question remains whether he can play again with the same effectiveness of 2015. I know squat about football, but the guy seemed to play with the wild abandonment of a Buck Pierce (and lose a lot of time to injury too). It seems a delicate balance between playing effectively and avoiding injury. Hopefully both Saskatchewan and Hamilton benefit from this trade, but I sense Rider nation may have a little too high expectations here. Hope springs eternal as this is what the offseason is for…with or without Collaros, Saskatchewan is on the rise. I hope the TiCats build on the last 10 games of 2017, because I’m getting tired of watching the Argos, Esks, Stamps, Als and Lions win most of the Cups.

  18. What are u even basing that (ref-whiners) on horse’s ass

    • Umm. The fact riderfans blame the refs every time lose.
      Need proof? Read the comments here after the EF game

  19. We all get your a stamps fan but get a hold of yourself your team is no where near better than my beloved riders who choked and choked (09 10) until they finally won 13 .. give your ego and the rest of us a rest as your bordering on sounding like every entitled Eskimo fan known to man that I hate without prejudice.. your man crush on bo is just obscene .and gross .. .although he obviously has a hero complex he’s showed mere mortal like u and I.everyone sees it. Wake up.you lost. Move on and quit bashing like a jelous little being that your acting like

  20. Scottsask // January 10, 2018 at 9:34 am //

    Now stop!

  21. Margaret Marshall // January 10, 2018 at 11:41 am //

    I am hopeful collards will succeed. It sounds like he has problems with technique and will need to work it out. The riders are stronger as a team will a quarterback tandem. We didn’t develop a good backup while durant was here. This was not to our advantage. All eggs and one basket isn’t a good situation. Diversity is an asset to the offence.

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