First thing's first, congratulations to the Canadian athletes who did our country proud at the Olympics in Sochi. It wasn't just the medal count that was impressive, but the manner in which our Canadian men and women carried themselves on the World stage. Canadians proved once again that when they have the support they need, they can compete with any country in the world. And a very special thanks to our men's and women's hockey teams. They are the two teams that every four years seem to have more pressure on them to perform than any team in the history of sport.
One observation before we get to football. I'm not a hockey analyst, but I'm a hockey fan, and fan of watching excellence, and it is very impressive to watch head coach Mike Babcock in action. Two things stood out while watching Babcock bring a group of superstars together. First, at about the midway point of the tourney, Babcock was asked why Sidney Crosby wasn't scoring. His reply: "everyone evaluates Sid on scoring, and I evaluate Sid on winning." He went on to suggest that Canada's lack of scoring shouldn't be judged as a poor offensive effort. "Don't get confused, we outchanced these teams big-time; we didn't score. We were a great offensive team. That's how we coached." Babcock had asked this group of talented players to check their egos at the door and play a well rounded team game, and they complied. Proof of that was after the Gold Medal game, when Jonathan Toews was asked about the team's low offensive output in the tourney, and Toews' answer suggested that at any time anyone on the Team Canada roster could have become more creative offensively and tried to put up big points, but that wasn't the plan and this team was going to stick to the plan. Yes, there were some close games including the 1-0 win against the Americans, but in the end Babcock's plan was bang on, and clearly not one player on Canada's roster was confused. Great stuff!
Now to football, where one story has been in the shadows while we watched the Olympics.
It involves the league's newest team, the Ottawa Redblacks, and their quarterback situation. Let's hit the refresh button on the computer for a second. Just prior to the start of the Olympics, the Redblacks signed Henry Burris, and named him the starter at the press conference. This occurred not long after the expansion draft where Ottawa GM Marcel Desjardins chose Kevin Glenn from the Calgary Stampeders. In a conference call after the draft Glenn talked about how excited he was to have his own team to lead in the 2014 season. Then after the Burris announcement, Glenn had a bit of a Twitter issue where it looked like he was trying to direct message a couple of other players and accidentally sent a comment to the masses that wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement for the organization. Now Glenn claimed he was hacked, and maybe he was, but it doesn't change the fact that there could be a quarterback controversy brewing in the Nation's Capital before they even take their first offensive snap.
In a brief chat with Desjardins at the CFL Congress, the Ottawa GM indicated that he would listen to all trade offers of course, but would like to go to camp with all the QB's he currently has on his roster. However, will that be easier said than done? Glenn turned down my request to an interview for this story, as I tried to gauge where he is at mentally with regards to all that has developed in Ottawa. Now I respect Glenn's choice to avoid having to comment on the situation, but it does force us to speculate.
Does Glenn not want to talk publicly right now because he has nothing positive or constructive to say about the situation? Or is he declining interviews because he doesn't think there is anything to this story and that he is perfectly comfortable going to camp as the back-up to Burris?
I know where my vote would go, but again it is only speculation.
There are a few teams that could benefit from the addition of Kevin Glenn, and at the top of that list is the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Bombers have been searching for stability at QB for years now, and if they could somehow swing a trade with Ottawa, they would finally have it. In fact with Drew Willy getting his shot for the Bombers this year, acquiring Glenn would create a situation similar to what we have watched in Calgary the last couple of years. The Stamps have felt the future is Drew Tate (and now possibly Bo Levi Mitchell) and over the last two years had Glenn as the best insurance policy in the game. Willy with the veteran Glenn behind him is the same scenario and all of a sudden would give the Bombers a real chance to turn things around. Then again, how will Glenn feel about backing up Willy?
Glenn's situation is another example of the cliché that you hear from general managers all the time. "It is a great game but a terrible business." You can't fault Desjardins and head coach Rick Campbell for trying to acquire the best talent possible and create competition in camp.
On the other hand, it is impossible to not feel for Kevin Glenn who just doesn't ever seem to be able to shake that back-up label, despite leading the Stamps to a West Final and a Grey Cup over the last two seasons. Also it is not that much of a stretch to suggest that the team that is able to acquire Glenn will become the best team in the league at the most important position on the field.
Pick a team: BC, Travis Lulay and Kevin Glenn, not bad especially since Lulay is coming off another shoulder injury.
Edmonton, Mike Rielly, Glenn and Matt Nichols. Reilly was very good last year and will be better, Nichols is working his way back from injury, Glenn gives them stability.
Saskatchewan, Darian Durant and Glenn, tough to beat that experience.
Toronto, Ricky Ray and Glenn, working in Scott Milanovich's offensive system, yikes!
Montreal, the young Troy Smith learning from the veteran Glenn in meetings and on the practice field.
I have left out Calgary and Hamilton because Glenn returning to either of those teams seems like a longer shot, however it's not out of the realm of possibility, and both those teams would improve their chances of winning by adding Glenn.
Which camp Kevin Glenn attends is a question that may not be answered for a while as teams sort through their rosters. However, it is a story I wanted to wedge in between the Olympics and the NHL trade deadline and one to watch as the off-season continues.
In the meantime we can continue to speculate as to whether or not Glenn is angry with Ottawa and wants out, or is content to be the back-up to Burris and just doesn't want to talk about it.
If the situation becomes confusing for Glenn or the brass in Ottawa they can refer back to Team Canada's Babcock and what he was able to do with that group of superstar hockey players. "Everyone evaluates Sid on scoring, and I evaluate Sid on winning."
Don't get confused.