TORONTO - The plight and future of a Canadian quarterback in the CFL is a topic that’s as obvious as the three downs that distinguish the game from its American counterpart.
Whether it’s a bias among the predominantly American coaches, lack of opportunity, lack of talent, there’s no easy answer to a complicated question that has too many layers to ponder.
Canadian Brad Sinopoli became an inspiration when he cracked Calgary’s roster last season as its third-string quarterback. At this year’s CFL evaluation camp, three quarterbacks have been invited, including McMaster’s Kyle Quinlan, who led the Marauders to their thrilling overtime win over powerhouse Laval in the Vanier Cup.
“All I can say is that I’ve improved every year,’’ said Quinlan. “I take a lot of pride in being a student of the game and I know I’ll continue to grow under the care of any team.”
Whether it’s Quinlan, Billy Greene (UBC) or Kyle Graves (Acadia), each is looking for a look and not just some token look from some CFL team pining for favourable publicity.
For Quinlan, he got an up-close look at a pro camp when the Hamilton Tiger-Cats invited him to training camp last spring, a gathering that took place at McMaster.
“I spent all three weeks,’’ enthused Quinlan. “I was involved in all the film sessions, team meetings, threw every individual series.”
What Quinlan showed in leading an explosive Mac offence is that you can’t measure a guy’s heart or competitive spirit.
When plays needed to be made, Quinlan stepped up.
Detractors will have you believe that the talent level at the university level in Canada isn’t as deep, that arm strength among home-grown pivots isn’t as strong.
“It’s good to have contact with coaches and get some interviews,’’ Quinlan said of this weekend’s e-camp. “What you want to do is let them know what type of person I am on and off the field.
“I think that goes a lot further than test numbers would this weekend.”
When it comes to all-out strength, Quinlan isn’t going to impress on the bench press.
For the record, he would do three reps to match his jersey No. 3.
“Bench press is not one of my strengths,’’ he admitted.
But for any team looking to add depth at the quarterback position, Quinlan, Greene and Graves must be viewed as viable options and not merely as token Canadians.