CFL Blitz: Sinopoli signing stirs Canadian QB debate

The signing of quarterback Brad Sinopoli by the Stampeders has stirred debate about Canadian pivots...

The signing of quarterback Brad Sinopoli by the Stampeders has stirred debate about Canadian pivots in the CFL. (COLIN TOMCHICK/QMI Agency)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:49 PM ET

It's great to see Canadian Brad Sinopoli back in the CFL, serving as the third-string quarterback for the Calgary Stampeders with Drew Tate nursing a sore shoulder.

But let's not take away from Sinopoli's accomplishments by making it mandatory for CFL teams to carry a Canadian quarterback.

There always seems to be plenty of debate when it comes to Canadian pigskin passers. One side of the argument wants CFL squads to carry at least one to further their development. The other side says the only players who should be on CFL rosters are players who are good enough.

I'm with the second group.

Would I love to see more Canadian quarterbacks? Absolutely. Would I want to see more Canadian quarterbacks when there are American quarterbacks out there who are better? Absolutely not.

Instead of starting at the top by putting unprepared CIS quarterbacks on CFL rosters, let's go down to the bottom and begin building from the ground floor. The lack of Canadian quarterbacks in the league has nothing to do with their athleticism, determination or talent.

No, it has to do with coaching and development. There simply isn't a structure in place to develop quarterbacks in Canada. They may get plenty of instruction, but it needs to improve in quality. That's not a knock on our country's passionate youth football coaches; it's just reality. We are still a hockey nation.

However, it appears football is taking root up here, especially after Canada beat the U.S. last weekend in the International Federation of American Football under-19 final in Texas. The more the sport grows, the better instruction there will be. The better the instruction, the more quarterbacks who will be able to compete with their U.S. counterparts. It's a simple evolution process that appears to be happening but should not be rushed.

CFL teams can bring in CIS quarterbacks and put them on their rosters if they wish, but it should not be mandated, or even encouraged. CFL teams are still in the business of winning football games, and they shouldn't have to be guilted into putting a local on the practice roster, especially if he's not good enough.

So let's celebrate the talents of Sinopoli, whom the Stampeders view as the man they would want at the controls of the offence should Kevin Glenn and Bo Levi Mitchell go down with injuries as well.

It's a great sign for Canadian quarterbacks. Let's continue that growth, but don't rush it along and pick them before they're ripe.

QUICK HITS

Kicker Noel Prefontaine is making the rest of the Argos cover team look bad. He had one special teams tackle against the Stampeders and made first contact on another return ,,,†Winnipeg's Swaggerville defence will be looking to bounce back against the Eskimos on Friday night. Tim Burke's crew allowed 551 yards of net offence against the Alouettes last week -- the most in nearly seven years ... The Roughriders might be without their top offensive lineman Saturday afternoon against the Lions, as Brendon LaBatte is dealing with a shoulder injury. Sixth man Patrick Neufeld did a nice job filling in for LaBatte a week after he took over for the ejected Chris Patrick in Hamilton ... The Alouettes have added kicker Brody McKnight, their first-round draft pick in 2011, to their practice roster ... The Stampeders have scored touchdowns on five of six trips to the red zone this season. At the other end of the spectrum are the Argos, who are 3-for-9 ... It's not like the Eskimos offence could afford more negative news, but it got it Monday when it was revealed Adarius Bowman, a 1,000-yard receiver last season, is gone for the year with a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee.

BOSS BLUNDER

Kavis Reed gets the nod for handling his quarterback situation on the weekend like he had two left hands.

The sophomore Edmonton Eskimos sideline sergeant pulled starter Steven Jyles in the first half of Sunday's 17-1 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in favour of Kerry Joseph, who fared no better.

The fact Reed put Jyles back in the game to start the second half was perfectly fine, too. George Cortez did the same thing Friday in Vancouver with Henry Burris, and it nearly led to an upset win for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats over the B.C. Lions.

The thinking when it comes to pulling the quarterback for a drive or two is to let him see the situation from the sideline and take a breather.

Reed's mistake occurred late in the game when he pulled Jyles for a second time. Of course, the Eskimos weren't going anywhere with him at the controls, but he created a bona fide quarterback controversy when he put Joseph back in the game.

Reed was quick to anoint Jyles as the starter Friday against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, but now the quarterback is wondering how long his leash is instead of focusing on getting better. And Jyles has a ton of work to do to get better.

Honourable mention goes to Toronto Argos rookie coach Scott Milanovich, who lost track of the first-down distance late in Saturday's win over Calgary. It led to a goal-line stuff by the Stampeders that could have cost the Argos the game.

Rookies.

WEEK 3 PICKS

Calgary at Montreal (-5.5)

This pick rests on the shoulders -- or left shoulder -- of quarterback Anthony Calvillo. If he plays, the Alouettes are the pick. We're guessing he does. Alouettes by 5.

Winnipeg at Edmonton (-1.0)

It's a terrible offence (Edmonton) against a terrible defence (Winnipeg), and a mediocre offence (Winnipeg) against a superb defence (Edmonton). Esks by 4.

B.C. (-2.5) at Saskatchewan

Great work by the schedule-maker, as the clash of the league's two unbeaten teams, and old rivals, should be a beauty. The champs still rule. Lions by 7.

Toronto at Hamilton (-4.5)

Burris vs. Ray. It's a provincial rivalry at its finest, only this time in a different province. I can't see the Tabbies falling to 0-3. Tiger-Cats by 1.

PENTON'S PREDICTION

The Montreal Alouettes' Jamel Richardson finally will make an appearance this week. The reigning receiving king has just seven catches for 99 yards and no touchdowns through two weeks. He even had a bad drop last week against Winnipeg. Look for the big man to bust out against the Calgary Stampeders with a 100-yard effort -- provided quarterback Anthony Calvillo plays for the Als, of course.

POWER RANKINGS

1. (3) B.C. -- The offence kept rolling and the Lions withstood a late charge from Hamilton

2. (1) Saskatchewan -- The defence looked good, but the offence cooled off considerably in Week 2

3. (2) Calgary -- Despite losing their starting quarterback, the Stamps nearly pulled one out in T.O.

4. (8) Montreal -- The Als poured 551 net yards on Winnipeg's previously tough Swaggerville defence

5. (5) Toronto -- Ricky Ray looks like he's settling into a nice groove, and some rookies look good

6. (7) Hamilton -- The Ticats gave the defending champs a run for their money on their own turf

7. (4) Edmonton -- The only reason the Esks are not No. 8 is because of their smothering defence

8. (6) Winnipeg -- As previously noted, the defence has joined the offence as an underachiever

BY THE NUMBERS

0 -- Points Saskatchewan has allowed in the fourth quarter

0 -- Turnovers Hamilton has forced

0 -- Passing touchdowns for Edmonton through two games

0 -- Field goals missed by Hamilton, Montreal and Winnipeg

0 -- Wins for teams trailing at the half in eight games

TWEET OF THE WEEK

"I was laughing cuz Gene said he wanted 'Tails' for the coin toss!"

-- B.C. Lions kicker Paul McCallum (@PaulMcCallum4) brings out a photo from last season featuring him and legendary rocker Gene Simmons.


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