I vacated my post on Commonwealth Commonwealth for a stint on the West Coast and return to my duties armed with nothing more than a hunch that the Esks will more than just survive the most recent Mike Reilly injury.
With Edmonton’s hard luck starting QB watching instead of playing for the next 10 weeks and John White, the All-Star running back gone for the season, fans can be forgiven for a decent amount of anxiety.
But the answer lies not in James Franklin, the unheralded rookie who was the breakout player at training camp.
For all the feel good stories being written by the likes of Trevor Harris and Rakeem Cato, Edmonton can and should go with the safe choice of Matt Nichols. That flies squarely in the face of the philosophies of both Chris Jones and Ed Hervey who seem to share a sensibility that there’s no time better than the present for a player to step up.
What they have in Nichols is someone playing to salvage his career, if not in Edmonton then somewhere else in the CFL next season. Highly regarded by previous Eskimo management regimes, the former Eastern Washington product has twice had his career derailed by serious injury.
There’s plenty of time for Franklin to marinate in the offensive system, much the way Harris has done in Toronto. Until then, the Esks should resist the urge to ‘go with the new guy’ and stay with a player with everything to play for.