One of the biggest stories of the offseason was signing of two of the league’s most recognizable quarterbacks. After ten seasons, the Saskatchewan Roughriders could not find enough in their pocketbooks to retain the services of Darian Durant. On January 5th, the Riders made their final offer to Durant. He declined.
A day after Saskatchewan lost their top signal caller since 2006, their Winnipeg Blue Bombers were letting the go of Kevin Glenn. After spending most of the 2016 season with the Montreal Alouettes, Kevin Glenn was also a victim of the contract negotiation as the Bombers could not offer him a suitable salary. He was let go a month before he officially become a free agent.
Neither veteran stayed on the shelf for very long. About two weeks after Durant walked, the Alouettes came calling. Likewise, the Roughriders, who needed an answer for their recently vacated position, quickly inked Glenn to a deal. Durant headed to only the second team in his career. Glenn headed back to the place where he started his career and the city he left for Montreal in 2015.
Of course, this is not really a swap because of Glenn’s brief stay in Winnipeg in the latter half of last season. But, by all rights and accounts, you can all but consider the two as having taken the others place. So let’s take a look at who is winning with the other’s quarterback.
Early Season Report Cards: Glenn vs. Durant
In this column, we grade each quarterback in the following categories: overall record, statistical data, effective use of weapons, and the eye test. These are obviously not scientific and are highly subjective. But they give an overall picture of how both players are performing early in this season.
A quick glance at the standings: both the Roughriders and the Alouettes have a 1-2 record. But like snowflakes, they look similar but aren’t exactly the same. For Durant and the Als, the opening games of 2017 has been marked by a frustrating lack of production. Glenn and the Riders, on the other hand, have stood toe to toe with their foes. They lost their two games by a combined total of four points.
Montreal scratched out a one-point victory over Saskatchewan in game one for its only win. The Riders recently dismantled Zach Collaros and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to put their first notch in the win column. From a win/loss perspective there is no clear edge to either quarterback.
Overall Record Grades: Kevin Glenn C+, Darian Durant C-
Last season was a tale of two quarterbacks in Saskatchewan and Montreal. Durant appeared in 15 games and threw for almost 4,000 yards for the Riders. He was the model of stability in a the midst of chaos. Meanwhile, Glenn struggled last year for the Alouettes and ultimately was shipped away to the Bombers. He saw the field for one game in Winnipeg. Despite the downturn, in nine games he still managed to amass over 2,500 yards and 13 majors.
Through three games this season, the tables have turned. Glenn is enjoying a resurgence in Regina, whereas Durant is having trouble gaining traction in Montreal. Glenn’s success is bolstered by a 377-yard performance in a 43-40 loss against the Blue Bombers and a 380-yard explosion against the Ticats. In fact, he was a mere two yards short of a 300 yard game in the Riders loss to the Als on opening night.
On top of his 1,055 total yards, he has also thrown for seven touchdowns. Four of those came in the track meet that was the game against the Bombers. His only blemish so far is his four interceptions. He sits at third in the league in passing, tied for first with Trevor Harris for passing majors, and second in the league in rushing touchdowns. He’s on pace to throw for over 6,000 yards.
While Glenn is in the top third of the league at his position, the same can not be said for Durant. He has yet to throw for over 245 yards in a game and has thrown almost as many interceptions (two) as he has touchdowns (three3). His 644 passing yards lands him in the bottom third of charts, above Mike Reilly, Matt Nichols, and Zach Collaros, each of whom have had a bye week. In week two against the Edmonton Eskimos, Durant could only muster 166 yards in the air.
Statistical Data Grades: Kevin Glenn B+ , Darian Durant D
Effective Use of Weapons
It can be argued that Glenn has the wider array of targets to choose from on a game by game basis. He has his choice between many big name wideouts. Naaman Roosevelt, Duron Carter, Bakari Grant, Nic Demski and Rob Bagg, can all go off for huge numbers at any time. So far, Carter has been a non-factor. Not so much because of anything Glenn is doing wrong, Carter is the seventh most targeted receiver in the league. The trouble there lies with the coverage of Carter and his use out of the field wideout position. Glenn has found more success using the boundary side of the field with Roosevelt, Demski and Grant. Right now, Roosevelt is the lone Rider in the top ten in receiving yardage while Grant joins him in the top ten in touchdowns.
On the other side of this debate, Durant has a less top-heavy corps of receivers. Two third-year players, B.J. Cunningham and Tiquan Underwood, are anchored by veterans Nik Lewis and free agent pick-up Ernest Jackson. It has been a rocky start to say the least as Jackson has yet to have a break out game. Lewis is still Mr. Reliable, but given Durant’s lack of comfort thus far in the system, he has not played much of a role in the offence. None of these receivers have over 200 yards total and there are only three majors among all of them.
Effective Use Of Weapons Grade: Kevin Glenn A-, Darian Durant D-
From the eye test alone it is clear that Kevin Glenn has found a new life in his third go-round with the Riders. He is on pace to have his best season in the Green and White and is sure to be looking for a possible postseason appearance. It’s safe to assume that Chris Jones is happy with the ultimate decision for his signal caller. It has also put to rest any thoughts of a reappearance of Vince Young.
As for Durant, getting adjusted to his new home has been precarious thus far. With more than two thirds of the season still to play, he will be looking to bring his grades up if he wants to contend in the East Division.