Speed, smarts and arm-strength are necessities.
As Henry Burris is certainly aware, a short memory is also key to the quarterbacking equation.
Before stepping into a starring role for the Calgary Stampeders, Burris served as an understudy to Brett Favre in Green Bay, learning the art of the snap-back from one of the greatest gunslingers in gridiron history.
“I saw some games where Brett threw four or five picks in a game. But the next game was against a division rival — maybe the Bears or somebody — or a playoff game, and he brought it,” Burris said. “No doubt, you knew that when the lights came on on a Monday night or that type of game, you knew No. 4 was going to be ready to play. Regardless of how last week went or the last two weeks, he was going to come ready to play for that big game.”
Fresh off an abysmal outing against the B.C. Lions, Burris responded in a big way in last week’s 46-21 dismantling of the Montreal Alouettes, a victory that left the Stamps (10-3) alone atop the CFL standings.
On Tuesday, Smilin’ Hank was named the CFL’s Offensive Player of the Week, a final pat on the back for racking up 412 passing yards and four touchdown strikes against the East Division leaders and defending Grey Cup champions.
With a couple of long bombs to speedster Romby Bryant and a 100-yard pass-and-run toss to Ken-Yon Rambo, Burris gave the TV-types plenty of highlight-reel footage to choose from.
“You’re at that time of the season where you need to be making those plays,” Burris said. “Those plays that we didn’t make early on, we need to be making those now. We need to have our timing down. That’s what we practise. If we get that opportunity, we need to make it happen, and we made it happen the other night.”
What made Burris’ handi-work against the Alouettes even more impressive is it came on the heels of perhaps his worst-ever performance at McMahon Stadium.
Two weeks ago against the B.C. Lions, the Stamps starter got the hook in the fourth quarter after going 11-of-26 for 136 yards. With zero touchdown passes and a pair of picks, his quarterback rating was a dismal 27.1. He also fumbled once.
By contrast, Burris’ efficiency rating in Friday’s victory was 158.3, the highest-possible result under the complex formula. Not a bad way to rebound from a bad outing.
Heading into a Thanksgiving Monday rematch with the Alouettes in Montreal, the details of that lopsided loss to the Lions seems like a distant memory.
To the fans.
To the experts.
Perhaps even to Burris, too.
“I’ve seen Jeff (Garcia) have games he wishes he could have back. Same with Dave (Dickenson). Even with Brett,” Burris said.
“One thing they say is that you play too many games in the regular season not to have one flub-up, and they’re like ‘Don’t let that dictate your career. Don’t let that dictate your season.’
“People remember did you play more good games than you did bad games? If you keep the bad games to a minimum, people only remember how you did in the end.
“Just seeing how things went against B.C., trust me, you never want to play that way again. But you’re not going to stay in the bottom of the pits because there’s a team and a family that depend on you coming out and playing well, and that’s what you have to do. You have to learn from your mistakes and come back and deliver.”