For those unfamiliar with Watford, he spent last season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in a backup role after being on the team’s practice roster the season before.
Despite dressing for all 18 games, Watford saw very little playing time with the Riders last year, completing 15-of-32 passes for 168 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also added 18 carries for 93 yards. Watford saw the most playing time in Week 3 last year when he replaced an ineffective Brandon Bridge. He completed 10 of 22 passes for 108 yards, one touchdown and two picks. As you can see, most of his career stats came from that one game.
So if Watford isn’t exactly brimming with CFL experience, why was he chosen over other players?
It’s pretty simple: the Ticats are riding with Dane Evans.
If the Ticats would have brought in someone like Kevin Glenn or Darian Durant, then as soon as Evans had a poor outing — and he will, at some point during his 12 games as the starter look like the second-year player that he is — the cries to replace him would have been deafening. By signing someone like Watford, who isn’t being brought in to compete with Evans for the starter’s role, the Ticats avoid any messiness that will arise when Evans has a poor game or two.
This move also shows that the Ticats have their full confidence in Evans to take over where Jeremiah Masoli left off. If there was any concern over Evans’ ability to execute at a high level and keep the 5-1 Ticats atop the East Division, the team would have made a move to bring in a much more experienced veteran. They chose not to do that, so we know what they must think of Evans.
Hamilton still doesn’t have a ton of experience at the quarterback position — their three pivots have thrown a combined 104 passes in the CFL, which is by far the fewest of any trio of pivots on any other CFL team right now — but they have more now than they did. With it looking like Masoli will be sticking around, perhaps acting as a de facto QB coach, the Ticats still have a veteran hanging around who can help. He won’t be able to do it on the field, obviously, but he can help in other areas.
The Ticats are now Dane Evans’ team, and signing David Watford makes that abundantly clear.