Insider Talk: Rourke is ready, Boateng’s future, Calgary gets poached

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Insider Talk is a weekly feature on 3DownNation that features anonymous quotes from people around the CFL — players, coaches, personnel people, executives, agents, etc. — regarding the latest news around the league. It’s a combination of insight, analysis, rumours, and friendly gossip.

This week’s Insider Talk is full of discussion regarding Canadian quarterback Nathan Rourke’s track to stardom, the future of star defensive end Kwaku Boateng in Edmonton, Hamilton offensive lineman Jordan Murray being released to pursue NFL opportunities, Lucky Whitehead re-signing in B.C., and Calgary losing more talent to other teams.

Enjoy this week’s quotes and come back next Wednesday for another edition of Insider Talk.

***

(B.C. Lions’ quarterback) Nathan Rourke is going to be a star in this league and I’m not talking about three or four years from now – I’m talking about 2022. He’s always had the physical tools. Now look at how he improved every time he played last year. He’s a fast learner and he’s ready to take the reins if given the opportunity.

***

I don’t think (Edmonton Elks’ head coach and general manager) Chris Jones wants Canadian players starting at defensive end, so I don’t think (Kwaku) Boateng or (Mathieu) Betts will be back there. If I were a betting man, I’d say both will end up in the East (Division) in free agency.

***

These one-year contracts make life miserable for position coaches. It can take half a season just to earn a guy’s trust, especially if he’s a veteran and you’re a young coach. Then, just as your relationship starts to get strong, he and a bunch of your guys hit free agency and you’re starting from scratch.

***

Sometimes I’m shocked by who gets opportunities in the NFL. (Hamilton’s) Jordan Murray was not a top-five left tackle in 2021, yet he’s getting signed down there. I guess being six-foot-nine has its advantages when those teams covet size so much.

***

The Lions were smart to re-sign Lucky Whitehead. He deserved all the money he got. He was just about the only player on that offence who made plays consistently (in 2021). Reward your playmakers, not the guys who are just collecting cheques.

***

Our league needs an influx of quarterback talent. I hope (Montreal Alouettes’) Matthew Shiltz is for real. It’ll hurt our team if he’s the real deal, but it’d be good for our league if he is. The same is true for guys like (Saskatchewan’s) Isaac Harker and (Edmonton’s) Dakota Prukop and even (Edmonton’s) Taylor Cornelius. We need some of these young guys to step up.

***

Calgary’s still paying the price for winning all those years. They’re victims of their own success. (New Toronto Argonauts’ defensive coordinator) Corey Mace is just the latest guy to get poached but look at everyone else they’ve lost. (Ryan) Dinwiddie, (receiver) Eric Rogers, (defensive end) Cordarro Law, (defensive end) Ja’Gared Davis, (defensive back) Tunde (Adeleke). You could make a whole team just out of the guys they’ve lost.

***

John Bowman will do a great job coaching (B.C.’s defensive line). He’s a leader, he’s smart and he works hard. They’ve got a bunch of good young players. They just need to grow together.

John Hodge is a CFL insider and draft analyst who has been covering the league since 2014.