Where have we seen this story before? Ah yes, it was Week 13 last season when then-coach Don Matthews decided to give Cody Pickett his first CFL start in place of Kerry Joseph. Two weeks later, Joseph was back under centre after two losses to Calgary by a combined score of 78-20.
But is the change for good this time?
Pickett was decent in his two starts last year. Though he didn’t throw for a touchdown, he completed nearly 60% of his passes, and was only picked off once. That being said, he was 0-2.
Consider that the two losses to Calgary last year put the Argos at 4-9, and even then, Matthews wouldn’t give Pickett the chance to finish out the season. Though Toronto is 2-4 heading into tonight’s game at home against BC (2-4), one would think that should they fall to 2-6, Joseph will be back (just in time for Labour Day).
But I’m not the one making the call. That’s Bart Andrus’ job.
“The main thing was Cody’s ability to get the ball out of his hands a little quicker,” Andrus said this week. “We felt there was a change necessary there just to give us a little bit faster pace of getting the ball out of his hands. I think Cody deserves a chance to see if he can direct this offence and move the football team.”
He’d better be quick, because the Lions came into this week ranked second in the league in sacks. I’m sure he hopes that tackle Rob Murphy, who signed with Toronto this off-season from BC, knows a thing or two about his former teammates’ tendencies.
“I’m excited just to play against the defence because they’re big fans of me and I’m big fans of theirs,” said Murphy, who has twice been named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Lineman. “It will be, how do I say this, a spirited battle.”
With all due respect to Murphy though, this game is about how Pickett will fare. Does he get to keep the starting job if he puts up massive numbers, but loses because he doesn’t get the ball last? Does he get replaced if he gets win in a 3-1 snoozer? Ah, the million dollar question.
One thing is for sure, with two teams at 2-4 trying to escape their divisions’ respective cellars, this game doesn’t have the caché of last night’s epic Battle of Alberta. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t be interesting.
As usual, you can be privy to my every thought during the game by following the TSM Twitter feed (@YYZsportsmedia), and look for my post game recap shortly after the game is done.