The CFL's often stated to be a quarterback-driven league, but very few of its teams can be completely confident in their pivot situation following Week Three's action. About the only quarterback whose performance this week didn't have obvious holes was Montreal's Anthony Calvillo, and even his 325-yard, three-touchdown showing almost wasn't good enough to top Calgary. Beyond Calvillo, the CFL's all-time leading passer, there were a bevy of problematic performances from both winning and losing quarterbacks, and there were also plenty of pivot injuries to worry about. Add it all up and you wind up with a league where most teams will either be intent on improving their current quarterback's play, considering if they should replace him or moving on without an injured star.
The losing teams' quarterbacks turned in some of the better performances of the week, oddly enough, but they all had their issues. B.C.'s Travis Lulay almost had a great day statistically Saturday, as he completed 23 of 40 passes (57.5 per cent) for 345 yards and two touchdowns, but his two interceptions played crucial roles in his team's loss to Saskatchewan. Similarly, Calgary's Kevin Glenn (replacing the injured Drew Tate) was solid all night (26 for 36 with a 72.2 per cent completion rate and 267 passing yards) Thursday against Montreal, but the boneheaded interception he threw at the death doomed the Stampeders. Toronto's Ricky Ray didn't have a career night Sunday against Hamilton, completing just 23 of 38 passes (60.5 per cent) for 232 yards with an interception, but he was far from the worst of his team's problems, and although the three-headed quarterback monster Winnipeg ran out there thanks to injuries to Buck Pierce and Alex Brink didn't accomplish much against Edmonton, there was more to the Bombers' loss than that. Still, B.C. and Toronto are probably the only teams here that will be really confident their quarterbacks will improve, and there still might be offensive adjustments required to get the most out of them. In Calgary and Winnipeg, given the recent injury news in both cities, things look even worse.
Apart from Calvillo, though, the questions about the winning teams' pivots might be even more substantial. Both Darian Durant and Henry Burris threw for under 200 yards in their teams' victories Saturday, and Burris' showing (12 for 27, 44.4 per cent, 181 yards and an interception, although he did have three passing touchdowns) was one of the worst seen in the CFL this year. The 3-0 Riders won't be abandoning Durant any time soon, but their passing offence will have to get much better to have sustained success, while Burris may be under more fire in Hamilton; he was a highly-touted offseason acquisition for the Tiger-Cats, but hasn't completely dazzled thus far, and even a win won't prevent his performance from being criticized. He's also already been benched once, albeit briefly. Meanwhile, despite the Eskimos' 42 points, Steven Jyles was still just 15 of 27 (55.6 per cent) for 272 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, and he didn't exactly solidify his hold on the starting job, as Kerry Joseph went three-for-three for 102 yards and a touchdown (although 76 of those yards came from a Hugh Charles catch-and-run). Even Calvillo's stellar Week Three performance doesn't allow Montreal to assume he'll play like that all year; he struggled in Week One and was banged up enough after Week Two that it wasn't sure he'd start this week. Winning may help change conversations, but it shouldn't overshadow the fact that even victorious teams can have quarterback problems.
These aren't minor concerns. Although the "quarterback-driven league" tag is a bit overused and wins and losses are about much more than just quarterback play, it's hard to find too many great CFL teams in the last few decades that haven't featured reliable passers under centre. With three downs and a big field, passing offence is a crucial part of any CFL gameplan, and that's not going to change any time soon. Thus, most of the league's teams are going to have to find ways to improve their aerial attacks. Whether that requires minor tweaks or replacement of the current starters, it has to be done in order to have long-term success. We'll see which teams can make the adjustments and get back to solid passing offences soon, and which ones are going to be stuck with quarterback questions for most of the season.