The jealousy that other CFL teams are harbouring for the B.C. Lions at this point in the season must be palpable.
In a year that has seen teams struggling to secure one dependable starting quarterback, the Lions are fighting their own internal structure battle, but with a twist ? which solid quarterback to go with?
If recent games were the only factors taken into consideration, then the answer would seem to be an obvious one as young Casey Printers has been a dominant force on the field for the Lions in his two starts. Thus far, this young season has seen rookie Printers connect 95 of 141 attempted passes, culminating in a 67.4% completion rate. His 1448 overall passing yards total, which has resulted in ten touchdowns, is among the top in the league. He has even been a solid producer on the ground, scrambling out of the pocket 28 times for a total of 156 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns being the fruit of that labour. Every time he has taken the field, his teammates have performed at an elevated rate, gaining confidence from his presence, playing the body looser and approaching yardage more aggressively.
When you compare Printer?s numbers to those of injured Dickenson, the issue seems to swing heavily in the rookie?s favour. Dickenson?s 28 for 46 completion rate and 4 touchdown passes over 503 passing yards, while not exactly poor performance-wise, are very obviously second-best on the team. Add to that the fact that he has failed to walk a touchdown in all season, and Printers increasingly resembles the leader who can take B.C. to the Promised Land this season.
Even durability must be taken into consideration. Printers, aggressive in the rush, is never afraid to take a hit in the pursuit of extra yards, providing a solid physical presence despite his size. Dickenson, on the other hand, has yet to finish a game this season; his constant injured status and frequent departures in mid-game sabotage the flow established between Quarterback and receivers, damaging the ability of the offense to communicate with one another and feel out teammate strategies on the fly.
For now, Casey leads the Lion?s offense onto the field every game, not because he was given the job, but because he earned it. And yet, the deserved role of starting quarterback will be lost by Printers not because of any performance considerations, but rather his place in the organization at the beginning of the season: He is a backup, and Dickenson is a starter.
No one can deny the abilities of Dickenson ? he is a veteran who has proven himself time and time again, and his position within the CFL record books demands that he be given another chance. However, there comes a point within every organization in which the good of the team must be placed before the security of the individual. Dickenson?s projected return in August will come at a time when B.C. will be fighting for a playoff berth, and every second on the field will possess the ability to make or break their post-season hopes ? a position which their young backup will no doubt have led them to.
Hopefully, that young man will still be on the field in August to see his hard work through.