TORONTO - Dalton Bell has suited up with the Green Bay Packers, the Seahawks in Seattle and the Carolina Panthers.
But if a quarterback is looking for a real challenge, he should try the CFL. It might just be the most difficult league for a quarterback to wrap his head around.
“The extra player and all that motion really threw me off when I first came up here. It took a while to get used to,” the second-year Argonauts quarterback said Tuesday as he prepares for just his second CFL start.
“I mean, I’m a firm believer if a guy comes out of U.S. college and wants to make it in the NFL he should come up here for a few years and it would make him so much a better player. It would really make him appreciate having one less player and no motion.
“There’s just so much to see and take in up here for a quarterback. You have to funnel so much information quickly. Down there you have preset reads and know what you’re going to get.”
Bell, who started one game against Saskatchewan last year, admitted there’s a touch more urgency to practices taking starter’s reps.
“It gets the adrenalin going. You get excited. You want to make some kind of highlight; do something to help the team win.”
Bell hasn’t been a full-time starter since throwing for 3,998 yards in 2006 at West Texas A&M. “It’s a whole different mindset. When you’re a backup you are in tune with what’s going on (during weekly practices and) mentally you know what is supposed to happen. But it’s a whole different ball game when you physically have to do it, to make the plays.
“When you’re a backup it’s a little more relaxed during the week. There’s a chance you’ll play but there’s more of a chance that you won’t. When you’re starting you know that everything has to be tight.”
Bell hasn’t been officially told he’ll start and regular Cleo Lemon, injured in Saturday’s loss to Winnipeg, is expected to practise Wednesday. But Lemon is still on pain killers and with only one day to prepare, it’s unlikely he’ll start Friday against Edmonton.
“Split the tooth and split the nerve,” head coach Jim Barker said, of Lemon, who watched practice but wasn’t allowed by the club to speak with the media. “Our dentist ... said it’s the worst he’s seen in 45 years. So he was fairly drugged up. He wanted to practise. He was in his shoulder pads and helmet and I made him take them off. It wasn’t Cleo not practising; it was me taking him out.”