As the B.C. Lions get ready to play yet another crucial game in their push for the playoffs – especially after the Bombers won last night – B.C. general manager Ed Hervey has thrown quarterback Jonathon Jennings directly under the bus.
This whole piece from Ed Willes at the Vancouver Province is worth reading but this is the most damning line from Hervey:
“I’ve been around some good quarterbacks and they lived around the facility. The good ones usually do. No knock on Jonathon, but you rarely seem him around the facility enough to give you any indication that he’s ready to take it to that level.”
Jennings has started 43 games in his four-year CFL career with a 21-22 record. He’s 2-3 this season, including a 40-10 beat down at the hands of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in which Jennings threw a pick-six on the first play from scrimmage on his way to a three-interception day. His QUAR – the statistical measure created by the CFL to measure quarterback performance – is 57.0 and is the lowest of any of the eight quarterbacks with 80 possessions and 180 pass attempts. In the interest of fairness, we’ll point out that Montreal’s duo of Antonio Pipkin (35.3) and Johnny Manziel (35.4) have lower QUAR numbers than Jennings.
Work ethic is one of those things that’s tough to quantify, given that CFL players are only supposed to be under team control for 4.5 hours a day according to the CBA (including meetings and practice time.) But the elite quarterbacks are known to put in far more time and the truly great – guys like Anthony Calvillo and Ricky Ray – were legendary for their commitment level. There’s a reason that Ticat coach June Jones strongly hinted that maybe Manziel wasn’t putting in the work that Jeremiah Masoli does.
Hervey, it should be said, inherited Jennings when he took over in B.C. before last season and so doesn’t have an emotional or reputational investment in the kid. He asked him to take a pay cut before this season. And Jennings, along with pretty much every other quarterback you can think of, is set to be a free agent in February and it sure doesn’t sound like Hervey is pondering a long-term extension at the moment. More Hervey via Willes:
“You see the flashes and you know it’s there. If he can play at that level over the next couple of games, starting tomorrow, it will help us immensely. Is that going to change my opinion of him? I mean, I like Jonathon. But his play is going to be based on his commitment.”
Given his opinion of Jennings and the age and injury history of Travis Lulay – also a potential free agent – certainly not hard to imagine Hervey taking a run at Edmonton’s Mike Reilly, whose contract is also up. Hervey brought Reilly to the CFL when he was running things in Edmonton and the quarterback has family connections on the Pacific Northwest. Assuming the CFL and the CFLPA can get a deal done – not a sure thing – Hervey could put a Godfather offer on the table and get himself a quarterback with an unquestioned work ethic.