Pivotal decisions made league-wide

Tiger-Cats quarterback Kevin Glenn throws against the Alouettes in Montreal, Que., Oct. 16, 2011....

Tiger-Cats quarterback Kevin Glenn throws against the Alouettes in Montreal, Que., Oct. 16, 2011. (BEN PELOSSE/QMI Agency)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:03 PM ET

CALGARY - Usually by Week 17 of the CFL season, teams are hitting the stretch drive, contenders are gearing up and veteran players are sharpening up.

Right now, in two CFL cities, there are winds of change blowing.

In both cases, veteran quarterbacks are either watching from the sidelines or fighting to keep their starting jobs. Henry Burris and Kevin Glenn should have sympathy for each other because they are going through similar things in their careers.

Burris has completely lost his starting gig with the Calgary Stampeders as the team turns towards Drew Tate to take them down the home stretch and into the playoffs.

Glenn is still playing for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but he's being spelled off by Quinton Porter on a more regular basis.

It's a changing of the old guard in both places, which signals the high expectations both organizations have about their title hopes this season.

Neither the Stamps nor the Ticats would be tinkering with their veteran pivots unless they thought it gave them the best chance to turn their fortunes around with three weeks to go in the regular season.

The Stamps have lost four of the last five games and Burris hasn't thrown for 200 yards in any of those contests. The Ticats have dropped two straight divisional contests.

In Calgary, the switch came as a shock to the 36-year-old Burris, who has been the starter there since 2005, not missed a game since 2007, won the 2008 Grey Cup MVP award and the 2010 CFL most outstanding player award.

"When you are the guy, you feel like you are the guy always," Burris said. "You never expect anything like this to happen. It is what it is. I respect the coaches' decision.

"When I get another chance, I will go out there and be Henry Burris and light them up."

In both cases, the Stamps and Ticats are spelling off their veterans with players who have bided their time and offer a different look to defences thanks to their mobility.

Porter is certainly the polar opposite of Glenn, who now that Cleo Lemon is gone is the slowest No. 1 QB in the CFL.

For that reason alone Porter has run the Ticats' red-zone offence for more than just this year.

Last week's visit to Montreal was a good example of how the Ticats are getting creative with their use of the duo.

After Glenn started the game, Porter came in and finished out the first half. Glenn started the second half, but Porter came in to throw a touchdown pass when the 32-year-old hurt his wrist in the fourth quarter.

There are times when Glenn runs hot and cold, so it's easy to envision a scenario where Porter takes over full-time at some point even this season.

"We're not a two-quarterback team I know that's not clearly defined but right now Kevin's still our starter," said Ticats head coach Marcel Bellefeuille. "We think there are some things that Quinton can add to our offence, so we're going to try to take advantage of that."

Tate ran the short-yargade unit in Calgary since the start of the 2010 season and he's done a great job whenever he was put in. Usually it was either at the end of blowouts, which isn't a good indication of what he could do.

On Friday, Tate showed he's ready for major action after he led the Stamps back from a 19-point deficit to take the lead in Toronto, only to lose on a last-second Argos field goal.

This change isn't meant to send a message or to wake up Burris. The Stamps honestly believe their best chance at winning right now is with the 27-year-old, and if he plays well, he's staying in long term.

"The biggest reason we made this decision is Drew's play," said Stamps offensive co-ordinator Dave Dickenson. "When he came in, he did provide a spark. He played well."

With this being the CFL, anything can happen in the final month. So imagine a Grey Cup matchup: Tate and the Stamps vs. Porter and Ticats. It could happen.

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter @ianbusby57


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