CFL Quarterbacks: State of the Union - 2023

Earlier this year, as the 2023 season was just getting underway I entered a comment in another thread, noting that only 3 teams in the CFL featured a QB1 that they recruited & developed.
That list is summarized as follows:

  1. Toronto Argos: Chad Kelly
  2. Calgary Stampeders: Jake Maier
  3. Edmonton Elkimos: pick one of Taylor Cornelius (originally) but Doege & Ford also fit in that category.

All 6 of the other teams were lead by “retreads” at the QB1 position. I don’t use that word in the derogatory sense of the word; I am simply referring to the continuous carousel of veteran QB’s revolving around the league.

Things have changed since then; the script has flipped:

  • I was including the Ottawa RedBlacks in the “retread” category, even though Jeremiah Masoli opened the season on IL. As we all know, he suffered another unfortunate season-ending injury, so their Scouting Dept’s ability to identify new talent at the QB position is being tested. First up . . . Dustin Crum (corrected !!).
  • Of course here in Hamilton, the Tiger-Cats’ depth chart featured “retreads” at both the QB1 & QB2 postions. As we know, both BLM & Matt Shiltz may be on the IL for the next few weeks - minimum? Next up . . . Taylor Powell ??
    And finally . . .
  • Trevor Harris (the ultimate “retread” QB in the current CFL) suffered a serious knee injury. Saskatchewan Roughriders . . . join the club!!!

So now only 3 clubs remain with a veteran “retread” QB leading their offence. Do all 3 of those clubs have a decided advantage over the others (with the exception of the A&%s)*??
Will the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have an advantage when BLM resumes his QB1 duties ??

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It’s DUSTIN Crum, not Justin.

Sorry, but who is the 3rd current “retread” QB? Fajardo (Als), Adams (Lions), #3? Would that be BLM, with a possible return in a few weeks? I don’t foresee Harris or Masoli back this year.

Oh, sorry. You are forgetting one obvious QB who belongs in this category. The team that is absent from this dialogue is the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and of course, the third “retread” QB is Zach Collaros, who leads most QB stats in the CFL right now.


Yikes! How could I miss him? Thanks for that. He is the most “retreaded” QB.

Another way to state your point is that every QB with more than three years in the league has switched teams. (Certainly every starting QB - statement probably applies to backups as well.)

It certainly diminishes the argument that it is important to develop your own QB. It is obviously important to have a backup who is ready to step in. But when you feel like switching starters, there are generally several available.


yeah, retread is not the best description.
Usually references down and out and taking the cheapest solution possible.

I wouldn’t myself reference Damon Allen, Danny Mac, Ricky Ray, Matt Dunigan, Anthony Calvillo and many others as retreads.


I have no faith in rookie quarterbacks.
I remember one speaking to a coach and he said to us that for every rookie you start you lose one game. Danny McManus once told me it takes a quarterback anywhere between 20 and 30 games of starting before he can really read the field

These kids may be good down the road but any quarterback who starts in the league as a rookie is going to have more Downs than UPS
I don’t think Hamilton has a prayer this weekend against Toronto
Your two veteran quarterbacks are on the sixth game so you’ve got to play the can that you dealt

Some guy named Dane Evans managed to save our 2019 season.

BC had a QB last year that was nothing short of a phenom.

Argo’s QB has looked impressive.

None of these QBs needed 20-30 games to make an impact.


Chuck Ealey says hi


So if you start no rookies you go undefeated…seems too easy


We should just then play all rookies to get experience and save all our starters for the next game. Veterans don’t get hurt that way. We’re going to lose anyway🤪

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A bit of perspective on “rookie” QBs that have been used as a comparison.

Nathan Rourke had a year as a backup under Reilly before becoming a starter in BC when Reilly abruptly retired. Due to his low salary, they were able to surround him with an All-Star team.

Dane Evans already had a year as a backup QB in Hamilton before he replaced Masoli in 2019.

A pattern that I have seen is that “raw” rookie QBs come in and have a great game or two (usually against Hamilton) and then the entire League has tape on them, and they are exploited.

With everything being said, it’s Powell’s team for now. I’m not sure Pipken is any better, but having another pair of experienced eyes on the bench can’t hurt. I’m not sure what “system” he played in College (RPO, run-and-shoot, wishbone, flying wing, etc), but I hope Condell institutes a system that plays to his strengths, just as he did for Watford in 2021.

Diffrent Era Chuck game is faster then when he played

no buys Vets don’t make as many mistakes

Pipkin signing was needed IMO he’ll be starter in a few weeks

Please no.

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I doubt it; unless, prior to the return of Schiltz or BLM, both Powell and Locksley go down with injuries.

That’s true, but those weren’t rookie QBs. They all rode the bench their rookie years. Rourke got two starts his rookie year.

I don’t see a problem with rookies starting. VA threw 6 picks in a game and he’s been in the league for years.


Maybe we need to rephrase this point then.

“Lack of CFL game experience” might be a better term. The point is that a talented young QB can under the right circumstances, step in and possibly steal a couple of victories until the starter is ready to return.