I rushed home from Hamilton (30 min away) after the game because I know there's a lot of angst against DD this year and I wanted to state something here that needs to be stated: DURANT IS A NECESSARY INGREDIENT IF WE'RE GOING TO WIN THE GREY CUP IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS!
There are a few arguments for this, but let me go over the key/most important ones....
1) One team's loss is another team's gain...
If we cut DD loose, how likely would you think it would be that another team would quickly scoop him up -- Winnipeg seems the most obvious candidate but I could also see BC or Edmonton making a go for a QB who has had two starting showings at the Grey Cup in the last two years. Ask anyone from Hamilton about Anthony Calvillo and they will exasperate in frustration how annoying it is to see him lead the Als to the Eastern Final (if not the GC itself) year after year, despite being seen as a failure in Hamilton. I tend to see Durant and Calvillo having the same problem -- both heavily rely on a strong second line to reach their potential; if that fails, both QBs have a history of folding like a house of cards (which is why Montreal, despite another golden season, had a few utter blow outs against them this year). This leads me to the last consideration under this point -- if not Durant, than who? Is there another QB that we could pick up in the league right now who knows the game and would not only address the areas where Durant is considered weak, but also maintain the strengths that DD brings to the team?
2) A team is more than just one player
Tying into the last statement above, DD will have off days but it can't be denied that the team itself looks up to him and he is a natural leader. Our come-from-behind victories this year were no accident; this is a team with a great attitude and awesome bond about it. If DD were to be kicked out now, can we say that the Fantuzs and Baggs will play the same way as they are now?
3)It's not perfect, but back-to-back GC appearances ain't bad!
That might be hard for the fans of this particular team to hear, but how far back do we have to go to find the last time that our Riders did this? (A: 1967!) Do we also forget that the last GC win happened under a coach who made famous his strategy of long-term team building? This is a legacy that we still yield results in today and it can be argued that 2008 was more of a fluke than a return to normal under the organization that Kent Austin established. Final point on this note -- it sucks losing to Montreal, granted, but how many chokes did that team make in the last 10 years despite being regarded as the Beast from the East?
4)Aren't their problems elsewhere?
I ask this question in a completely neutral position as, again, we need to take note of the accomplishment 2010 was, not the failure that the last minute of the Grey Cup has become! That said, the name Daley isn't a popular one around here, and it can be argued that if special teams stopped tonight's trick play or we had more confidence in our backup kicker, this one was at least going to go to OT! Durant, being QB, is the largest target, but he shouldn't be the only one if we're going to have an honest examination of the team!
In summary, I point to the above to implore the Rider Nation that we lose Darian Durant at our destruction. Things might not look great at this moment tonight but, as the 70s/Little General chapter should have taught us, things could be a WHOLE lot worse! Just ask BC, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Hamilton!