Is the next one out there? Looking back on 50+ years since Russ Jackson

The question is more than half a century old. Who will be the CFL’s next great Canadian quarterback?

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

You won't see a Canadian QB in the CFL unless there's a significant amount of investment in the position at the lower levels of amateur football.

Also need to reduce the amount of American coaches that you have on the CFL. They are more of a hinderence to developing Canadian QBs than anyone else.


That is entirely up to the CFL to get on board and make sure those players are given the opportunity .

Russ himself would be booted today or made into a DB or something else .

He was given the opportunity to fail and try again .

When you see development in every other sport golf , tennis , baseball , soccer , basketball with Canadians playing at the highest level but then look at the CFL you realize it's not the kids it's the system the CFL propagates year in year out .


This article makes no mention of recent outstanding U Sport ball QBs: Hugo Richard (on the Als PR last season); Chris Merchant (currently playing in a Spanish league and undefeated there, and going on to play for a Swedish League team after) and Adam Sinagra (snubbed and ignored by the CFL last draft after being on their Scouting Bureau Top 20 Prospects list at one time = ???).

There is also up & coming star QB Tre Ford (Waterloo - outstanding passing stats, plus a run threat QB) - opted out of the CFL draft this year); and Nathan Rourke's brother has taken over as the starter (?) at the same Ohio Bobcats Div I program.

So - a number of good Canadian QBs who could be in CFL TCs to compete the coming season or soon after. It's up to the people who make CFL decisions - that is the biggest factor by far; and if they have little respect for Canadian QBs and much prefer any American QB they can drag up here - the Canadian QBs are SOL. Huff in Calgary seems to be the one CFL key person with a bit of respect on this file: drafted and had Sinopoli at QB for a season and a half till he got converted to receiver; signed Buckley who progressed to #2 on the depth chart for a bit till he retired; and recently signed Michael O'Connor as a FA away from the Argos. A few more Huffs in the corner for Canadian QB to at least give them a shot to compete in a CFL TC ... would help lots on this file. Good luck on that one.


Should be a roster rule EVERY TEAM must have a Canadian QB on every ACTIVE ROSTER. With the practice time and hopefully play time these guys would get without
a doubt some would become full time starters in due time. O'Connor and Rourke is a good start to this process.


Though a lot of Canadian University / Colleges have programs it comes down to coaching. IMO for a Canadian QB to be successful in the CFL they need to be in an NCAA program where they can be developed with exclusive QB coaching. RJ was a novelty in his time, he was just quicker than everyone else. Today's QB's need to see field & let plays develop. BLM is the best at this in the CFL.

Not just coaching but the experience of playing in the NCAA which is the big league and the play at a much higher level. The competition is far superior than anything a CIS QB would ever experience. A CIS QB has never been chased down by the faster, bigger better coached NCAA linemen, he's never thrown into NCAA DBs coverage, he's never played in a 12 game season or trained 12 months of the year.
The NCAA QB has so much more in his resume and a big advantage.

It's not about the CIS QB not been given a chance it's about what he can do, and CFL teams just can't afford to keep a QB they have to train and develop.
The CIS QB is just not at the same standard as the NCAA QB, the best thing would be to send them to an NCAA school and get the experience.
There is only one QB on the field and only 2 on the starting rosters, it's too important of a position to throw in a CIS QB.

Yes over 50 years since Russ Jackson he was the exception, the one in a million. He was also the last Canadian university player ever to win the league MVP.

Your way over reaching with the quality of all NCAA players .

I encourage you to watch more NCAA football games they miss easy field goals ,miss easy tackles , miss easy catches and throw ducks ; they don't walk on water like you make it out to be .


LOL !!!

Take a look at the CFL all-star team from 2019 and try to figure how so many guys without super-hero NCAA training possibly got selected? Andrew Harris - league rushing champ and GC MVP = no NCAA training; Cory Greenwood - leading the CFL in tackles till injury struck in 2019 - again, no super-hero NCAA training. ???

Just baffling; to some anyways.


Kind of tough to develop any players when you have 8 games compared to 12 games at the NCAA level.

If each game averages about 140 plays per game who would most likely to be successful.


Answer: There won't be another Russ Jackson caliber Canadian QB unless the CFL abolishes its rule allowing teams to keep 3 import QB's outside the overall quota for non-Canadians.

Watching some old games on You Tube, Russ was really great. If he were playing today its questionable if he could resist the NFL $$$$.


The owners have to make that happen.

I think Sinopoli, Quinlan, Finch, O'Connor, and Roarke, have/had the goods. They need/ed the reps though, but it's pretty clear that Coaches give the American QB's the edge.


And therein lies the problem with development of Canadian QBs.

If a Canadian QB makes a mistake he can't play. On the other hand, the American one is just learning the game.

Need to find a way to reduce the American influence at the coaching staff level.


Agreed; and I'd add several other top U Sports QB names in there (Hugo Richard in particular - he made the Als PR last season and be interesting to see if he progresses there; Merchant as well - good arm plus a run threat QB;
Sinagra has an outstanding passing arm, gets rated a top 20 CFL Scouting Bureau prospect and then goes totally undrafted ??? = WTF).

Sinopoli got his foot in the door at QB at least with the Stamps (and his arm accuracy might have been an issue); his transition to another position is IMO one of the greatest success stories in that department in the history of pro football - the guy is a great athlete / smart football player.

The favortism towards American QBs is obvious/blatant even if some CFL fans are in denial there. Quinlan and Merchant both made guarded but telling comments on their CFL "try-out" experience. A whole bunch of other talented Canadian QBs got zero CFL try-out even.


It’s too bad about Will Finch. Thought he had the size, the arm and the smarts to possibly be the one to break through at the CFL level. Unfortunately retired due to concussion issues.

Still holding out hope for O’Connor and the Rourke brothers. Maybe Merchant comes back on a tryout down the road.

Last guy I remember starting a significant number of games as a Canadian qb was Gerry Dattilio with the Alouettes in 1980. After which they promptly went and signed Ferragamo the next year.


Datillio started out as a receiver for the Alouettes before given a shot as QB. The ALs were better off with Gerry after Farragamo utterly failed in the CFL

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And the Als signed Vinnie after Datillio had been East MOP; typical American saviour/hero worship by CFL decision makers.

Sad & pathetic that they continue to write-off a lot of outstanding Canadian QB for a real shot to compete in a TC. And when there have been so many CFL teams in big need for QB depth/competition lately - none of Hugo Richard, Merchant or Sinagra were drafted in a CFL that yearly features teams drafting back-up fullbacks, the 9th or 10th best O-Lineman on the draft board or long-snappers - they have no use for award or Championship winning all-star QBs from their own country.

Tre Ford has been outstanding at QB for Waterloo in U Sports ball - great passing stats and a real run threat; he deferred on the recent CFL draft year to play a final season in U Sports ball. I would not hold out much hope though that the CFL has real respect for him come next draft.


I could be wrong but I think Dattilio also spoke French fluently .

There can only be one starting QB. It's not like letting a Canadian receiver on the field surrounded by ex-NCAA/NFL receivers.
Why would they put a QB on the field that's clearly not ready just because he's Canadian?
The coaches get to see these guys every day in practice, they aren't going to let someone on the field that isn't ready, Canadian or American.

You can't say that Brandon Bridge wasn't given a chance, he had all kinds of opportunities, he wasn't held back because he was Canadian.
It's just a fact that there is only ONE QB on the field and he's the most important member of a team and they have to start the best QB available.

How can you rate a Merchant or Singra based upon their stats in the CIS playing against CIS defenses? how would they play against a NCAA defense?
The CFL can't afford to develop young Canadian QBs and they shouldn't be, there is plenty of talent out there.
If one of the current Canadian QBs in the NCAA makes it to the CFL that's great but they shouldn't be given any special treatment. The QB position is too valuable.