Glen Suitor believes Canadian Brandon Bridge could have developed into a starting QB with the Riders

TSN analyst Glen Suitor is contemplating what could have been with Canadian quarterback Brandon Bridge and the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Bridge was with the Riders for most of the three-year span while Chris Jones was head coach and general manager.

“I’ve always had great respect for Chris Jones. That doesn’t mean that I agreed with all of his approach. I thought there were times when, and I’ll just say it, I think he mismanaged the quarterback position at times,” Suitor said on 620 CKRM’s The SportsCage.

“I say mismanaged because ripping quarterbacks back and forth I think is a mistake. You’ve gotta roll with them sometimes if you see that potential.”

Darian Durant was the starter in 2016, Kevin Glenn took the lead role in 2017, and Zach Collaros had the No. 1 job in 2018. Bridge spent his time in Saskatchewan largely as a backup, but Suitor wanted to see the Mississauga native as the starter and find out what he was capable of.

“I don’t know if Brandon Bridge would have been a star, championship quarterback at the pro level, I’m not completely sure, but I don’t think he got the same opportunity as some other American quarterbacks,” Suitor said.

“Some of the situations he was put in, the team’s down by 10, down by 11, the quarterback who was the starter throws two or three picks, he’s thrown in, he rescues the day and did a bunch that year, and doesn’t get the start the next week or doesn’t get the start two weeks from then.”

The University of South Alabama product displayed intriguing potential, especially in 2017. Bridge started in Week 13 for the Riders in Hamilton and guided the team to a victory with 231 passing yards and three touchdowns. Two weeks later, he came off the bench to lead a comeback win against Toronto, finishing 20-of-28 for 292 yards and two touchdowns.

Overall that season, Bridge passed for 1,236 yards with a 66.6 completion percentage and 10 touchdowns compared to just four interceptions while adding 20 carries for 127 yards and one rushing touchdown during the 2017 season. He sparked the Riders offence in the East Final, completing 11-of-21 passes for 141 yards and one touchdown in the team’s defeat.

“You think back to that playoff game where Kevin Glenn wasn’t seeing it, threw three picks in the playoff game in Toronto, and Brandon Bridge was a play away from getting them to the cup after coming back from the big hole they were in,” Suitor said.

“I thought Brandon Bridge could’ve really taken a step and shown us that he may have been ready to start. I saw enough in Brandon Bridge athletically and in making the throws.”

That opportunity never came in Saskatchewan as the Riders decided against offering him a contract following the 2018 season. Bridge spent the 2019 season with the Toronto Argonauts, Montreal Alouettes and B.C. Lions. He saw the field twice with the Lions where he connected on 14 passes for 194 yards, with one touchdown, and two interceptions.

“His throwing motion was a little unorthodox, it’s like a weird golf swing when you’re watching it — it works for the person, but it’s not that prototypical release that you see in most quarterbacks at the pro level,” Suitor said.

“That probably put some sort of negative thought in some coaches minds. As long as it’s working for him it shouldn’t, but for whatever reason I don’t think he got the same opportunity.”

Bridge has traded in a football for a police badge. However, the dual-threat Canuck still left a memorable mark in the pro three-down game: Canadian quarterbacks are included in the ratio due to his work. Although, Bridge never got a real chance to reap the benefits of his off-field progress.

“I thought it would’ve been good to see him actually take a team out of training camp and see if he could really be a true starter,” Suitor said, “but we’ll never know now.”