With the BC Lions quest for a Grey Cup at an end by Sunday night, could it be that the season long controversy over quarterbacking has come to an end as well.
It was an emotional Casey Printers who addressed the media following the Lions elimination from the CFL playoffs, a frustrated quarterback who vented about how he gave it his all this season, but that this team was never really his. And while his tenure this season in the Lions den has been a roller coaster ride of emotion, he probably spoke more than a bit of truth that will need to be examined by the Lions management.
Printers was unfairly tossed into the Western Final with only three minutes to play, expected to pull off a last minute miracle to salvage a Lions season that was filled with high expectations but ended with a free fall of major proportions.
Many an arm chair coach and GM will be questioning Wally Buono’s hesitation in going to Printers earlier in the fourth quarter or even in the third. As Printers’ rightly pointed out, this has always been Dave Dickenson’s team and on Sunday Buono kept it that way til almost the very last minute.
At the start of the season the Lions were the envy of every franchise in the CFL, two capable exciting quarterbacks each possessing the skills to lead a well stocked offense on to victory. It was the dream of any GM to have such depth at the most vital position on a team, but by the end of the season that gift had become a curse. As the season went on and the Lions began to stumble the reticence to move Printers into the lineup seemed to split this team, players unsure who their QB would be, no one seemingly on the same page as Buono.
With the early exit one week before a Grey Cup Game hosted by the Lions management, the Lions will need to address the situation once and for all. Printers was saying all the right things that he wants to come back to BC, but underlying his words is a sense that he only wants to come back if he becomes the go to guy in the Lions den. However, if his agent is to be believed (and hyperbole was created to describe this guy) then Printers may very well be NFL bound by January. Printer’s agent says that Casey is scheduled in for up to 21 show and tell sessions with NFL franchises once the New Year beckons. Considering the kind of money that Printers wants (the same kind of cash as Ricky Ray) there’s every chance that he’ll end up holding a clipboard and biding his time below the 49th.
Then again, the Lions could swing a deal to send Printers off to a new CFL destination. There’s a need for a starting quarterback in Hamilton, Saskatchewan and (hot rumour of the week) Winnipeg and who knows what the Toronto needs will be, Damon Allen needs to make a decision now that his remarkable year has come up one game short from what could have been a story tale retirement story.
And with the circus in Ottawa one wonders if Kerry Joseph is even safe from the mercurial nature of the Gliebermen. That’s five of the nine teams in the league that would probably give their right arm for a quarterback with the potential of Printers.
Somehow, unless Wally Buono has a major change in his mindset, you get the idea that Printers will be wearing somebody else’s colours next year, whether they are NFL or CFL, they most likely won’t be BC Lions orange and white.