Bring on controversyCompetition at QB just what Blue Bombers need
By PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun
When it comes to quarterback controversies, Blue Bomber boss Dave Ritchie is like most football coaches -- he'd rather have his nose hairs plucked than get involved with one.
Just check out his reaction in the days since Kevin Glenn came off the bench to lead the Bombers to that 29-1 win in Ottawa Friday night.
Glenn hadn't even cooled off from his 10-for-12 performance when Ritchie proclaimed Khari Jones the starter for this week's tilt against the B.C. Lions.
And in case somebody didn't hear it, Ritchie repeated the message Saturday, then again yesterday, sounding a little like the cop at the scene of an accident: "Move along, folks, there's nothing to see here."
Well, at the risk of going against conventional wisdom, it says here a quarterback controversy is the best thing that could have happened to the Bombers.
Let me explain.
TRIED TO CREATE ONE
It was only a year ago the Bombers were wishing they had a quarterback controversy. In fact, they wanted it so bad they went out and tried to create one.
Remember when, four games into the season, alarm bells were sounding over Jones' play, even though the Bombers were 4-0?
When Jones played his worst game as a pro Week 5 in Toronto, the team scrambled to re-sign Pat Barnes, suggesting out loud Jones needed to be pushed.
Fast-forward to this season.
Jones, stumbling out of the gate like a racehorse wearing work boots, has delivered almost as many mediocre performances as Kevin Costner over the first four weeks.
On Friday, this was an offence going nowhere awfully quick, managing just eight points through nearly three quarters. You got the feeling it was just a matter of time before the Renegades pulled it out.
But this time -- thanks to the off-season deal that brought Glenn here -- Ritchie had someone to turn to.
To his credit, he replaced Jones and the Bombers won, going away.
"It was going to be a couple series," Ritchie said yesterday. "Then Kevin went in like he was the starter and had played for a long time."
Now, this might not be a full-blown controversy just yet, but when quarterback No. 2 plays that much better than No. 1, you've got the ingredients for it, at least.
And if three things happen Thursday against B.C. -- Jones struggles, Ritchie inserts Glenn and Glenn lights it up -- then Ritchie will only have to listen to the crowd to realize he's smack-dab in the middle of one.
That better not stop him from using the hook when he has to.
If Jones has a bad first half, put in the guy who had the hot hand last week.
Sure, he'll be giving the anti-Jones crew in the stands some more ammunition. And, to be sure, we vultures in the media will be asking a ton of questions about who'll start the next game.
But controversy be damned. It's about winning games, right?
Ritchie's always said he doesn't like a two-quarterback system, but he might have to get used to it.
After all, Jones has his weaknesses.
The coach himself admitted yesterday he's wanted to use a no-huddle offence more this season, but can't because of Jones' limitations.
"Your gunslinger's gotta come out (quickly)," Ritchie said, snapping his fingers two or three times. "Khari doesn't come out (snaps his fingers again). He does better when given the play in the huddle."
Glenn and his quick read-and-release approach provided the perfect change of pace Friday.
That doesn't mean Jones is on his way out as the starter. But it does mean things have changed around here.
And if that means a little controversy, so be it.
Hey, we could always go back to speculating about the future of the head coach.