Bryant Moniz, we hardly knew ye.
Same with you, Phillip Sims and Jacob Huesman.
Brett Smith was also on the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ protected list for awhile this year before being waived. G.J. Kinne and B.J. Coleman were on the active roster for such a short time we couldn’t discover what their initials stood for. Now it looks like Mitchell Gale and Jake Waters, both of whom spent time with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, are behind Darian Durant on Saskatchewan’s quarterbacks depth chart.
What the quarterbacking-carousel is going on around here?
Hanging on the side of Mosaic Stadium, home of Saskatchewan’s CFL team, are huge posters of Durant and Ron Lancaster. Durant is hoisting the 2013 Grey Cup he helped win inside the stadium. Lancaster, shown in action, led the Roughriders to their first Grey Cup in 1966.
In the years between Durant and Lancaster there have been hundreds of Riders quarterbacks, including Kent Austin and Kerry Joseph, the pivots on Saskatchewan’s other Grey Cup winners in 1989 and 2007 respectively.
But at no time has the team’s quarterback carousel spun as furiously as it’s being spun this season. Some of the prospects didn’t even get their names announced, they were here and gone so quickly. And the Riders are only two winless games into the 2016 season!
Of course the Riders are seeking a backup to Durant, a 10-year veteran who turns 34 this season. They want somebody who can carry the football on short-yardage plays, something the Riders have botched spectacularly with fumbles and slips and a failed third-and-inches gamble in overtime that sealed their 39-36 overtime loss to the Edmonton Eskimos.
Durant has played incredibly well, throwing five touchdown passes and no interceptions in his first regular-season action since rupturing an Achilles tendon in last year’s season-opener. His 2014 season was cut short by a torn tendon in his throwing arm. So there’s justifiably concern about Durant’s health.
In the offseason, Durant signed a contract with a substantial pay cut. He also requested a one-year deal, ostensibly to leave his options open. A great year could lead to Durant requesting a huge salary.
New Riders boss Chris Jones is rarely ebullient about his players, so it’s understandable he doesn’t rave glowingly about Durant. Some of us conspiracy theorists believe Durant — as good as he is — might not be the Riders’ long-term quarterback, that Jones instead has his eyes on free-agent-to-be James Franklin, an aspiring star who Jones coached last year with the Edmonton Eskimos. And all these other guys are simply short-term backup plans.