QB feels heat from candles, fans

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:21 AM ET

HAMILTON -- The pivot of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats is about to celebrate a pivotal birthday.

Danny McManus turns 40 today and the quarterback would love to mark it with a big performance tonight when the Ticats play host to the Argos at Ivor Wynne Stadium in the final pre-season game for both teams.

"It's a whole new era into the age era, but you only live once. There's no re-runs," McManus said yesterday about hitting 40.

McManus threw three interceptions in his team's 16-16 tie against the Argos in Halifax on Saturday in the first pre-season game for both teams, reviving criticism among some fans who feel his production has declined in recent seasons. He started off strongly in the first three games last year, then his production slipped. He has a chance to make a statement tonight.

"It's an opportunity to get into the groove before the season starts and get the offence moving ... and last week I didn't do that," he said. "You can never duplicate game speed and credit to Toronto. They have an outstanding defence and there was three balls that I threw that I wish I could take back, but that's football. Those things happen."

Former Argo Marcus Brady is battling for the starting spot, but also had a subpar game against Toronto, tossing two interceptions and managing the clock poorly at the close of the first half. He did, however, engineer a touchdown drive, albeit facing backups.

"I did some good things out there and I had some bad things out there and when I came back and watched film I saw the mistakes that were made," he said.

"A lot of it was just as an offence together. It's pre-season, so it's understandable. At the same time as a competitor, I want everything to be perfect right now. We're getting the offence together. I think we're ready to click now."

Brady knows his next outing will factor into the decision the team makes on whether he or McManus begins the season as the starter. Head coach Greg Marshall said he may rotate McManus and Brady depending on the team and the situation because the two have different styles. Marshall is leaning to starting McManus based on training camp.

"What they do (tonight) will impact (on who starts), but how much? It depends how each of them plays," he said. "If one of them plays outstanding and the other one plays poorly, then it might have some effect. There wasn't a lot to choose between either of them in the first game, so where they stand right now is relative to what we saw in training camp. In some teams it may be etched in stone who the starting quarterback is. I wouldn't say we're going into the season looking at a rotation basis, but that's always a possibility also."

Third-stringer Ben Sankey, who played well against Toronto's backups, and rookie Jon Beutjer, who didn't play in the last game, are also expected to play tonight.


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