Kevin Glenn may technically be the Calgary Stampeders' backup quarterback, but he's seen much more action over the last two seasons than nominal starter Drew Tate. Glenn filled in ably during most of the 2012 season following a shoulder injury to Tate in Week Two of last season, then stepped aside in favour of Tate for the first round of the playoffs, but came back to lead Calgary to a West Final win and a Grey Cup appearance following concussion concerns about Tate that eventually turned into the revelation he had a fractured wrist. Now, the same story is playing out again: Tate hurt his arm in Friday's loss to Saskatchewan, went for a MRI on the weekend and faced questions about if he would or wouldn't play Friday against Montreal before the news came out Wednesday that he'll miss that game thanks to a strained forearm muscle in his throwing arm. That paves the way for Glenn to start, and interestingly enough, Glenn said during training camp that he wants to be a CFL starter:
"I know I can be a starting quarterback in this league, but there's certain situations that you have to go through sometimes to get back to that point," Glenn said. "I'm a firm believer that this game is built on team. ... Sometimes you're not always going to be named the starter, but you have to work your way into that position."
It would have been easy for Glenn to try and force his way out of Calgary, as the Stamps made it quite clear that Tate was their top quarterback heading into this season. Glenn opted not to demand a trade, though.
"I never asked for a trade, they never told me they were trying to trade me or anything, so I came back and it was the status quo," he said. "It's the CFL, it's professional football, you never know what's going to happen. You never take it personally what happens, you just have to go through the situation as is and hopefully it plays out the way you want it to."
In this case, it's played out mostly as Glenn would have liked. He probably would have wished for his ascension to come thanks to outplaying Tate and winning the faith of head coach/general manager John Hufnagel and the rest of the coaching staff instead of seeing his teammate get injured, but this is still another prime opportunity for Glenn to demonstrate what he can do. It also reinforces the benefits of having at least two capable veteran quarterbacks, especially when your starter's been hurt as much as Tate has.
However, Glenn's going to have to play exceptionally well to unseat Tate on a more permanent basis. Over their CFL careers, Tate has been the more efficient quarterback, completing 68.8 per cent of his passes with 24 touchdowns against nine interceptions (a 2.67 TD/INT ratio) and a 107.6 passer rating, while Glenn has completed 61.7 per cent of his passes with 204 touchdowns against 145 interceptions (a 1.41 TD/INT ratio) and a 89.4 passer rating. Tate was the more effective player when healthy last year, too, posting a 73 per cent completion mark with a 102.0 passer rating while Glenn recorded a 66.7 per cent completion mark and a 97.2 passer rating.
Tate's fragility might cause Hufnagel to channel Joan Jett ("I Tate Myself For Starting You"?), but there are good reasons to choose him as a top quarterback over Glenn if both are healthy. If Tate keeps getting hurt, though, Glenn's going to get more and more of the opportunities to start he wants, and dominant showings in those games might help him land that job on a more permanent basis. Even if Glenn can't pull that off, though, the Stamps are still lucky to have him. He's a veteran quarterback who's shown he can come in and play well when called upon, and that's vital in Calgary given how often Tate's been hurt recently. It's an awfully good thing for the Stampeders that Glenn didn't ask for a trade and they didn't get rid of him during the offseason: better to have two effective players and a mild quarterback controversy than to have nowhere to turn when your starter goes down.