Football Fever: Tate vs. Glenn

By David Hollinshead, Contributor

The next great CFL quarterback controversy is here and it comes in the form of Drew Tate against Kevin Glenn. Usually it’s a team that’s struggling that has a quarterback controversy, but Calgary has already secured its playoff spot and is second place in the West, and again has a decision to make whether Tate is their starter or it’s the savvy veteran. This success comes completely at the hands of Glenn. He was acquired in a trade during the off-season when Calgary traded former Most Outstanding Player award winner Henry Burris to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Glenn had a decent stint in Hamilton, bringing stability to the position after struggling with the like of Quinton Porter and Casey Printers. The Ti-Cats were a team that struggled to make the playoffs until Glenn led them to the post-season all three years he was there, despite never having a winning season. This included defeating the defending Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes in the first round, and almost going to the Grey Cup before losing in the semi-final game to Winnipeg. Drew Tate won the Calgary quarterback job four games before the end of the year last year.

Calgary was struggling with Henry Burris under centre before he was pulled for ineffective play and Tate was put in. He started the next three games for the Stamps, winning all three, posting a 25–13 victory against the Saskatchewan Roughriders in his first game. Tate struggled in his first playoff start though, only completing five of his 10 attempted passes for 99 yards. He was replaced by Burris who finished the game, but couldn’t complete the comeback. Tate was handed the starting position going in to training camp with Glenn as insurance. Tate was then injured in an early meeting with the Toronto Argonauts which required surgery on his non-throwing shoulder. Glenn stepped in and the team hasn’t skipped a beat, as he is putting up some of the best numbers of his career, ranking fourth in the league for passing yards, second among starting quarterbacks in completion percentage, and fourth in passing touchdowns.

Coach John Hufnagel has already come out and said that they would be using both quarterbacks, and they just aren’t sure how. If the Hamilton Ti-Cats proved anything during their old quarterback struggle days, it’s that a two quarterback system just doesn’t work. It’s hard for a team to get into rhythm if the quarterbacks are constantly being swapped in and out. It also hurts the quarterback’s confidence if after every bad throw they are looking over their shoulder to see if they are being yanked. There can only be one quarterback on the field and so there should be only one quarterback on the field. Using both of them will only make things harder next year as the fan base will be divided over who should be starting.

Tate was your starter in the beginning, has more years on him, and a much higher upside. Glenn is the proven commodity. You know what to expect from him. He is also inconsistent and is also getting up there in age. He was also the guy who led the team this far and that isn’t chemistry that you want to mess with? It’s a tough situation, because not many teams are looking for a quarterback if Calgary decides that they want to part with one of them. The only team that is struggling at the position is Edmonton, and a trade between those two teams is highly unlikely, especially if a quarterback is involved. Calgary could try and wait it out another year until Ottawa returns. There is no doubt that Calgary would only protect one of those quarterbacks, and either would be a great addition to a budding franchise. You could make the argument though that if Ottawa took a quarterback, then the team on the other end would receive nothing in return, but it’s unlikely that Calgary would be able to receive much, especially for Glenn. A good problem nonetheless, just one that will have to be addressed.