Ticats support Glenn, coach

Tiger-Cats quarterback Kevin Glenn is getting support from his teammates as fans grow restless with...

Tiger-Cats quarterback Kevin Glenn is getting support from his teammates as fans grow restless with the team's play recently. (Reuters file photo)

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:58 AM ET

HAMILTON - How bad have the Hamilton Ticats been the past two weeks?

“We could have Michael Vick out here and he wouldn’t be making much happen either. Hopefully at the end of the day the fans understand that.” So says Quinton Porter, Hamilton’s backup quarterback.

In other words, he wants fans to get off starter Kevin Glenn’s back. Afterall, Glenn is trying to carry a team, and right now that involves enough heavy lifting.

Glenn can’t find an open receiver and when he does, they’ve been dropping passes. The CFL’s second-most productive offence through 10 games suddenly can’t run the ball, either. The defence has surrendered 81 points in back to back losses. Just two weeks ago this was a team with designs on first place. Now, the Ticats are a vulnerable team emotionally and physically — booed from the field in last Friday’s 38-23 home loss to Edmonton.

From within they are hurting with defensive lineman Stevie Baggs, defensive backs Bo Smith, Ryan Hinds, special team stalwart Marc Beswick, and offensive linemen Marwan Hage and Peter Dyakowski sitting out Monday’s practice.

From without, they are battered by criticism. After the latest self-combustion, fans groused in small groups in the bowels of Ivor Wynne Stadium.

“I’m sick of this crap. It’s the same thing every year,” crumbled a fan, outside the Ticats dressing room. On talk shows and the Internet, the inevitable harping has begun:

Dump Glenn!

Fire the coach!

Suggesting that the club’s 5-6 record is the sole responsibility of the quarterback, or head coach Marcel Bellefeuille, is simplistic and wrong-minded.

Bellefeuille can draw up plays but can’t actually catch the ball. And, while Porter admits he’d love to lead the Tiger-Cats to playoff nirvana, he claims no interest in doing so at the expense of Glenn, chastising fans for Friday’s catcall serenade.

“I get it to a point that they’re fans and want to see us win,” Porter said. “What I don’t understand is them booing right away when we’re down two touchdowns. If they’re our fans they should be helping us. They should be on our side. I think a lot of times fans want to be angry and they find a reason to be angry.”

Their reason right now is Glenn. And the most popular guy to fix everything in these cases is often the backup quarterback — mostly because he hasn’t had a chance to screw up anything yet.

“If I had my choice the team would be winning and none of this would be going on,” Porter said. “If Kevin got hurt I want to be ready and for the team to keep winning. I don’t want it to be a situation where the fans are getting upset ... where the offence isn’t moving the ball and somehow miraculously I’m supposed to start making the ball move. That’s not a good situation.”

But it is an all-too-familiar situation for every backup quarterback, including Porter.

You want to play.

You want your team to win.

But, if your team is winning, you don’t play.

And, if you do play, it usually means your team isn’t winning.

“The way I’ve learned to handle it is think of myself, of Kevin, ... as a piece of the team before our individual desires, because otherwise you’ll go crazy because it’s so out of your hands,” Porter said, using third-person phrasing. “I want for Quinton to play; more than that I want the Ticats to be winning and to go to a Grey Cup. If the two can happen together, that’s perfect. If not, and we go and win a Grey Cup, that’s great as well.

“The third option, and the one I like least, is that the team doesn’t do good and Quinton’s got to go in.”

But that’s exactly how things have been going. The defence has gaps wide enough for drive a Mike & Molly sitcom through. The entire offence has stagnated. Dave Stala isn’t dancing into the end zone lately and Chris Williams isn’t driving secondary’s crazy. Avon Cobourne would make more progress if he tried running into brick walls.

None of this is Glenn’s fault.

“He’s one of the best quarterbacks in this league and I’ve played with Anthony Calvillo,” Stala said. “People can say whatever they want but fans and media don’t understand the X and O part of it. They don’t know if someone missed a block or an assignment. They don’t see if someone fell on a route or slippped and made Kevin throw a bad ball, or, if an O-lineman gets pushed into his throwing lane. When we get into film we see what goes on. He just happens to have the ball in his hand every play so he gets blamed for everything.”

So, the team huddled for a lengthy period after practice Tuesday. “It’s just our players way of saying we’re still together here,” said Bellefeuille. “I understand fan frustration ... and we’ll make moves that give us a better opportunity to succeed.”

Those moves will not involve changing quarterbacks. Or head coaches. Not now. Not yet.


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