Looking out for No. 1

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

So, B.C. Lions quarterback Casey Printers is the CFL's offensive player of the week after last Sunday's division semifinals.

The same Casey Printers ignored by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers -- and every other CFL team -- through the first half of the 2009 season.

If it weren't for a string of injuries to the Lions' stable of passers, chances are Printers would still be waiting by his phone.

So what gives? Why didn't people who are paid good money to evaluate talent see that Printers, just 28, could still not only make a team, but be one of the more effective quarterbacks in the league?

Against Hamilton in the East semifinal, Printers hit on 24 of 35 passes for 360 yards and a touchdown. He also used his feet to get away from the Ticats pass rush, even running for a major.

The guy's regular-season production wasn't bad, either: 63% completions and a passer rating of 99 -- quarterback numbers that head coaches in Winnipeg and Toronto would have killed for.

Basically he's looked a lot like the Casey Printers who was the CFL's top player with the Lions in 2004. Minus the attitude, apparently.

Based on observations from afar, he's returned to the league a humbler man than the one who made waves about his playing time in Vancouver five years ago, spent 2006 and part of '07 in the NFL then turned off everyone, including teammates, during a forgettable, 18-month stint in Hamilton.

Printers' success these last several weeks is a condemnation of the CFL's supposed deep-thinkers, particularly those in Winnipeg and Toronto, where the season ended without a playoff game.

If there was one thing sorely lacking in both places this season, it was offence.

Compare Printers' numbers to those put up by Blue Bomber quarterback Michael Bishop in Winnipeg's must-win season finale: 8-of-26, 122 yards and two interceptions.

Bomber quarterbacks couldn't even complete half their passes this season, and turned in a combined 58 rating. It wasn't much better in T.O., where the Argos managed just 229 yards passing per game and a 68 passer rating.

You can understand head coaches in Montreal, Calgary, Saskatchewan and Edmonton taking a pass on the guy, given the quarterbacks with those teams.

You can understand Hamilton not wanting the guy back after he fell flat on his keister there.

But if anybody can explain why the Argos and, to an even greater extent, the Bombers took a pass, bringing in every other quarterback they could think of besides Printers, I'm all ears.

AND IF THAT WASN'T ENOUGH: The runner-up for CFL offensive player of the week? None other than Hamilton pivot Kevin Glenn.

Like him or not, Glenn's play down the stretch also made the Bombers and Argos look bad.

After being cut by Winnipeg, he signed a reworked (read: financially modest) deal with the Ticats, the only team the least bit interested.

Considering Glenn came off the bench to win a game against Winnipeg in July, then led Hamilton to that season-ending victory 10 days ago, the move to release him came back to bite the Bombers on both ends: their offence sucked without him, and Hamilton was better with him.

CAPITAL PLAN: That sigh of relief you hear is CFL commissioner Mark Cohon exhaling after Ottawa city council voted in favour of a redevelopment of Lansdowne Park Monday night.

The decision, after months of bitter debate reminiscent of our own turbulent arena debate, paves the way for three-down football to return to the nation's capital in 2013.

That gives the Bombers three years to become competitive enough for a move back to the tough West Division.

I wonder if they'll have found a quarterback by then.

Contact Paul at paul.friesen@sunmedia.ca or 632-2788.


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