Will the last starting quarterback still healthy please stand up? We're going to have a problem here. With Tuesday afternoon's news from the B.C. Lions that Travis Lulay will miss at least the next two games after hurting his shoulder while running for a touchdown against Montreal Sunday, five of the CFL's eight teams are now planning to start a quarterback other than their opening-day starter this coming week. The injury list is long at other positions too, of course, including such notable players as Chad Owens, Weston Dressler, Kory Sheets, Chad Kackert and Rey Williams, but the amount of injuries under centre are staggering. We've seen some intriguing quarterbacks step up in the wake of starters going down, though, and we'll see if that proves to be the case again with the Lions, or if they'll follow the teams that haven't been able to find adequate replacements for their starters.
There have been some impressive performances from backups this year, most notably from Zach Collaros in Toronto in the wake of Ricky Ray's injury and from Kevin Glenn and Bo Levi Mitchell in Calgary after Drew Tate was hurt. Drew Willy has also proven somewhat effective in spot duty in Saskatchewan while Darian Durant was dealing with injury; Durant is back now, but the Riders have a reasonable backup if he can't go. In Winnipeg and Montreal, though, the story hasn't been as great. Buck Pierce lost his job with the Bombers more thanks to performance than injury (despite the team's claims) and was eventually traded to the Lions (so oddly enough, he might get a chance to start again, albeit with a different team), but Justin Goltz and Max Hall haven't exactly inspired thus far. Similarly, the Alouettes have struggled to replace concussed starter Anthony Calvillo. Tanner Marsh, Josh Neiswander and even Troy Smith have had some impressive moments each, but haven't been able to get the job done consistently. The question for B.C. is which pattern they'll follow.
It sounds the Lions will be deliberating between starting Pierce or Thomas DeMarco against Saskatchewan. Head coach Mike Benevides has said he won't make a decision between the two until later this week, and it won't be an easy one. Pierce has more CFL experience, but is still adjusting to the team and the changes it's undergone since he left in 2010, while DeMarco has been working in the Lions' system for parts of two years now, but hasn't seen much game experience. He has just 24 CFL regular-season pass attempts for his career, much less than Pierce's 1,833, but may present a higher-upside option. While both quarterbacks are intriguing options, though, they're also far from sure things; Pierce has only been with the team for a few weeks and DeMarco barely has any time in CFL game situations. We'll see if they prove they can handle the burden of replacing a star the way Collaros, Glenn and Mitchell have, or if B.C.'s quarterback situation will devolve the way the Bombers' and Alouettes' have.