Greg Quick may be stepping away from Global scouting, but that doesn’t mean he believes in the vision of CFL 2.0 any less.
The 40-year coaching veteran announced earlier this month that he would be returning to his roots as a defensive and special teams assistant with the Montreal Alouettes, vacating his role as the CFL’s first director of Global scouting after just 14 months.
Following his anouncement, Quick sat down with American Football International for an extensive interview and shared that despite poor timing, the opportunity in Montreal was simply too good to pass up.
“At this juncture in my career, it’s important to have the opportunity to work with professionals that I can learn from and also be somewhere I feel I have an opportunity to make a significant contribution to sustainable success,” Quick said. “That’s what I see happening in Montreal.”
“I see from the president Mario [Cecchini], from the ownership, from Danny [Maciocia], from Khari [Jones], that the leadership across the board is developing an organization, a football team, that’s going to have a sustainable success. It won’t be a flash in the pan. They’re laying the groundwork with personnel and coaches that are committed to developing and sustaining success in Montreal.”
Quick will take on some personnel responsibilities in Montreal as well and could give the team a leg up in the upcoming 2021 Global Draft.
As the CFL’s top international talent scout, Quick was responsible for assembling the prospect pool for the second wave of Global talent to enter the league. The process began with an around the world combine circuit but ended mostly virtual once COVID-19 struck, with Quick scouring tape from the NCAA, partner federations and non-affiliate countries to discover talent.
He operated with the express goal of producing a player that could make a game-changing impact on day one of the 2021 CFL season and filled the Combine list with players that could develop into meaningful CFL contributors.
“I think every place we were trying to find the one person that has that goal, that has that innate ability to raise their game. It happens all the time and it’s so great. I believe that because I’ve seen it happen with players from both sides of the border before the global strategy,” Quick explained.
Throughout the process, he had a prototype in mind: former Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Rob Bagg.
“When you look at Rob Bagg and what he did an undrafted free agent, he was a phenomenal talent. He was as good as any American or any Canadian that’s played a game in the last 20 years and he came into the league and he raised his performance,” Quick said.
“That happens every single year in the CFL and it can happen with global players.”
German defensive end Thiadric Hansen was an important contributor for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2019, culminating in a highlight reel special teams tackle in their Grey Cup victory, but only a couple of Global players saw meaningful snaps in year one of the CFL’s initiative.
That led to a lukewarm reception from fans and media, but Quick believes most don’t understand just how big a jump the quality of talent will take in year two. His prospect pool is filled with players capable of competing with the Americans on CFL rosters.
“We have those players that are going to make a difference on offence and in the kicking game, those kickers that are going to help teams and those offensive players that are going to score points. The defensive players that are going to have an impact and make a disruption in the game that leads to success,” Quick insisted.
“So when you’re talking about talent, yeah, it’s there. Not talent that’s going to push the bottom, but I think talent that’s going to push the top of our league up and going to improve the game for our fans.”
The four round CFL Global Draft is slated to begin on Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 1 p.m. ET. with Montreal holding the sixth overall selection. Quick has a number of favourite players he’s particularly excited to see in the three down league, but he won’t disclose exactly who.
That tight-lipped approach isn’t to give his Alouettes an edge however. The NFL has already begun to exploit the CFL’s more extensive Global scouting program for their own benefit and he fears losing any of the talent he’s so carefully assembled for teams.
When the 2021 selections for the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program were announced, six were players on Quick’s prospect list, including a player commissioner Randy Ambrosie had publicly touted as a prospective Global star in Japanese running back Taku Lee.
That shows the CFL is on the right track, but Quick’s not looking to help the league down south.
“We’re going to keep it behind the curtain a little bit to make sure that the best players in the world end up in the CFL,” he smiles.