Jon Cornish has been envisioning the Calgary Stampeders offence in 2014.
It likely involves No. 9 handling a similar workload to the career-high 300 touches he was granted last season.
It also involves Drew Tate.
As the Stampeders murky quarterback situation hides under the veil of a long, wintry Calgary off-season, the CFL’s reigning Most Outstanding Player weighed in on who he thinks should be taking snaps when training camp breaks later this year.
“Drew Tate. I’ve said it for years — when Drew Tate is the quarterback, we win,? Cornish said when asked last week who he thinks will win the three-way battle under centre this spring. “When he’s able to finish games, we’re undefeated. Based off that, I’m 100%, Drew is my boy.?
Cornish is right.
When Tate gets the start and makes it through a full 60 minutes, the Stamps are 7-0 since October 2011 when he took the keys from a struggling Henry Burris.
A ton of ink will be spilled across the country when pundits start weighing in with regards to the Stamps signal-callers, which went from three to two and back to three when Kevin Glenn was plucked by the Ottawa RedBlacks last month in the expansion draft and was promptly replaced by another veteran, Adrian McPherson, late of the Montreal Alouettes.
Over the past two years, two things have become very clear.
Stampeders GM/head coach John Hufnagel likes his quarterback depth and won’t take any chances when it comes to the position he played at the professional level from 1973-87.
When your wagon is hitched to Tate, depth is a good thing to have.
Health permitting, there’s no reason to think Tate wouldn’t have the inside track on the starter’s job when training camps open at the end of May.
But since the start of the 2012 season, Tate has separated his shoulder, broken his wrist and then succumbed to a mysterious muscle/tendon/ligament injury in his throwing forearm/elbow, which shelved him this past season from early July until October. Even when the 29-year-old returned, he couldn’t supplant Glenn from the starting role, other than a pair of key relief appearances against the Saskatchewan Roughriders late in the season and in the West final.
And Bo Levi Mitchell, who turns 24 in March and will benefit from his second full off-season in the Stampeders system, will be looming.
“I think Bo’s going to be playing a lot this year, regardless, just because he’s such a talented player,? Cornish said. “And then we’ll see how Adrian works out. I haven’t seen him play for a long time.?
Cornish is also interested in seeing the plan for running back Martell Mallett, who rushed for 1,240 in his only CFL season with the B.C. Lions back in ’09.
“Generally, I think we’re putting ourselves in a good position to be the team we have been the past two years and being able to absorb injuries,? Cornish said of his team’s off-season activity so far, which has included re-signing eight of its potential 18 free agents. “We’ve had several different running backs in over the past few years, so we’ll give him a chance to see how he’s held up.?