CFL WEEKLY BLITZ
Toronto Argos head coach Don Matthews is making a bold move by naming Cody Pickett the starter over Kerry Joseph after the quarterback's horrible outing against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in a 39-9 loss Friday.
But new pivots seldom have success in their starting debuts, especially ones who come to the CFL with solid credentials from either the NFL or college.
So the Calgary Stampeders certainly must be excited about their chances Saturday while facing Pickett, a Washington Huskies product who has two NFL starts on his resume from his time with the San Francisco 49ers.
New pivots often make huge mistakes in their debuts, and Pickett is replacing last year's CFL most outstanding player.
"We looked at the history and we said, 'Hey, if we don't take a look at this, how are we going to ever know?' "
Matthews said yesterday. "So that's the whole deal." Here's a look at how other QBs performed in their first CFL starts since the start of last season:
- Darian Durant, July 27 vs. Montreal -- The poster child for first starts. Went 24-of-35 passing for 349 and three TDs in Roughriders victory.
He only lost job to rib injury and the Riders then traded for Michael Bishop.
- Ryan Dinwiddie, 2007 Grey Cup ( ost 23 - 19) -- Three interceptions to James Johnson, but Blue Bombers defeat could hardly be pinned on Boise State product. He won his first regular-season start this season against the Stamps, but Kevin Glenn reclaimed the job two games later.
- Stefan LeFors, Oct. 6, 2007 at Toronto -- Threw two interceptions in Eskimos loss while filling in for injured star Ricky Ray.
- Akili Smith, Sept. 29, 2007 at B.C. -- Pulled his hamstring in second quarter and was cut by the Stamps after the following week's start, another loss.
- Jarious Jackson, Aug. 2, 2007 -- The strong-armed Notre Dame product threw three picks in a 21-9 loss to the Roughriders, but would later emerge as the go-to guy down the stretch.
- Mike McMahon, July 21, 2007 at Calgary -- The former Detroit Lion and Philadelphia Eagle went a miserable 6-of-18 for 58 yards before getting the hook in an ugly loss. He is already out of the CFL.
Eskimos QB Ricky Ray has 10 interceptions in his past five games, but the Eskimos have gone 3-2 in that time. With three more picks, Ray will pass Tracy Ham on the franchise's all-time list, but he needs one more TD to overtake Warren Moon for the record in that category ...
Nice to see first-round pick Adam Nicholson sticking it to the Lions by catching three balls for the Roughriders Saturday.
Similar to most young non-imports who went to Canadian schools, Nicholson needed more development and the Lions gave up on him earlier this season ... TSN analyst Duane Forde offered a funny reason why Don Matthews came back to the CFL:
Wally Buono was getting too close on the all-time wins list. Matthews is searching for win No. 232, while the Lions coach is now at 221.
The Roughriders finally lost when RB Wes Cates scored a TD, but they are still 7-1 when their feature back hits paydirt ... Stamps QB Henry Burris passed Pete Liske for second on the franchise alltime passing yards list. Burris only has Doug Flutie ahead of him now, and should eclipse the Hall-of-Famer midway through next season if he stays healthy ... Bombers QB Kevin Glenn eclipsed Ken Ploen for franchise passing yards and has Khari Jones in his sights, again next season ... Edmonton's Jason Goss picked off Casey Printers three times.
Do you think he knew the tendencies of his old college teammate at Texas Christian?
It was nice to have two Canadian-born coaches facing each other in Danny Maciocia and Marcel Bellefeuille, and it would have been fitting if both teams were starting Canucks at running back? But Jesse Lumsden went down with another injury, and was out by the time Calvin McCarty took over for AJ Harris
... Only the Ticats could get 27 points off turnovers and not win ... We are joining all you Eskimos fans in struggling to find a TSN2 feed for Sunday's matchup in Montreal. Send your angry e-mails to TSN.