Ridin' with Chevy Calgary Sun
UPDATED: 2007-09-25 02:42:31 MST
Football's more a test of adversity than a test of skill -- and that's how the Stamps will find out if they have what it takes to win without Hank
By RANDY CHEVRIER
I know he's coming.
Chicken Little will be screaming, 'The sky is falling, the sky is falling!'
He will be on the sports talk shows, in the papers and on all the Internet blogs. He will spread his message of fear and uncertainty before there is any reason to believe him. Why is he so scared? Who knows? Maybe he has little faith.
It was late Friday night when Chicken Little felt the first chunk of sky hit his head.
Actually, it was the second chunk to hit him, but I will get to that later.
You see, late in the fourth quarter against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, our fearless leader Henry Burris was making a gutsy run to the sideline. As he dove to get out of bounds -- arms outstretched -- he was hit violently by Ticats linebacker Zeke Moreno.
The result of the hit pretty much snuffed out a game-tying drive and put our star QB out for an undetermined amount of time, as Henry lay on the turf with a separated shoulder.
Now, many will complain the hit was late and dirty. An argument could be had for one or both. Do I believe the hit was late? Yes. Do I believe there was intent to injure? No. The man was making a play out of desperation, and that sort of thing happens in such a violent sport. Do we all wish Hank would not have separated his shoulder and gone on to play another down? Of course we do, but such is not our luck.
So now we will listen to all the Chicken Littles out there predicting our season is over because obviously there is no one to fill in for Hank.
Or is there?
Henry does have a backup, and his name is Akili Smith. He is a pretty good quarterback that had a great pre-season. He proved he could handle it. Granted, that was way back in June, and the amount of live game snaps he's taken since then have been few and far between. But Akili has been around football for a while. He was a college star and former first-rounder in the NFL. And now we will get to see how he handles the duties as a No. 1 guy in the CFL.
It has been said the quarterback gets too much of praise when teams win and too much of the blame when they lose. Earlier I stated Mr. Little had been hit with a chunk of sky earlier in the year. It happened after a loss to the B.C. Lions. At that point, the sky was also falling as we heard everyone calling for Henry's head.
Maybe, when we were losing and playing poorly, everyone was playing poorly. Well, we stayed the course as everyone else panicked, and we were able to find ways to win. And now that we have had some success, maybe everyone around Hank has stepped up as well. Our only hope is that we can play well around Akili while he gets acclimated and that, in turn, can translate into victories.
We realize Henry was playing some of the best football of his career up to that fateful play Friday night. And it won't be the most seamless transition when Akili takes his first few snaps. But we believe he will settle into a comfort zone when he realizes he has a lot of weapons he can use to move the chains and that the pressure is on everyone's shoulders to win, not just his.
All the guys will rally around him, because that's what this game is all about. Football is more a test of your ability to deal with adversity than it is a test of any other ability you may possess. We will play with him and for him. For as long as he is 'The Man,' we will follow his lead.
Another thing that will be pointed out to us are the many failures among backups that get their chance to take the helm of a team. Admittedly, there are many horror stories. But those of us with faith look to some of the positive stories for inspiration in this trying time.
How about these players, Chicken Littles? Ricky Ray would still be driving a Frito Lay Truck had two guys ahead of him not gone down to injury. There would be no Buck Pierce, Jarious Jackson, or even Casey Printers for that matter if Dave Dickenson had not missed a few games. Had Anthony Cavillo not backed up Tracy Ham in Montreal for a few years after being run out of Hamilton, he too might be selling insurance in his hometown. Even Henry was third string to Doug Flutie and Jeff Garcia before he got his shot.
The point is that not all stories of backups are horror stories. So don't try to write it before it writes itself. Chicken Little has a loud voice, and many people will heed his message of doom and gloom. It is easier to dwell on the negative. Will that message be truth or hearsay? We don't know, and we don't care. We can go to work each day and let time reveal all truths to us. And if the sky does fall on our heads, at least we won't be running from it like chickens.
Yes the world is coming to an end!
By the way the CFL ruled on the hit on Burris and said it was a fair call. So if you wish to get a QB hit him out of bounds.
ON another note:
Bombers RB Charles Roberts set a career low with a 1.3-yard average over six carries against Toronto
I can just see Blink pouting now.