Esks quarterbacks? It's a non-issue.

The Esks quarterback situation has been debated on the local radio shows, fan boards, and newspapers for the past week after Ricky Ray went down in the team’s final game before the bye week. Some are calling for Jared Zabransky to be inserted as the starter while others feel that if Ray is completely ready to go, the Esks should start veteran Jason Maas. Facing one of the top teams in the west this weekend when the Saskatchewan Roughriders roll into town with their legions of Rider Priders, and needing a victory in the worst of ways, it’s an interesting topic for debate with a relatively simple answer.

If Ricky Ray is healthy and the Esks still have a shot at making the playoffs, Ricky Ray should be the starting quarterback.

Winning football games is made much easier when a team has their best players on the field. Despite the struggles of the offense this year in getting the ball into the endzone, Ricky Ray is still the best quarterback on the Eskimos roster. His body of work in the CFL, which was previously discussed here, almost forces the Eskimos to keep going with Ray as their starter. In seven games this year, he has only thrown five interceptions on 209 pass attempts. It can be argued that Ray hasn’t done enough to win games for the Green & Gold this year, but he has not been responsible for them losing games with perhaps the lose to Montreal as an exception where he could at least be somewhat faulted for a couple of costly picks.

Eventually the Eskimos will need to find out what they truly have in Zabransky, but as long as the post-season is still a consideration, both the team and the fans will have to wait to see if the young quarterback is as good as everyone hopes he can be. In limited duty this year, Zabransky has thrown for 121 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. His completion percentage is 50% and his yards per attempt comes in at a pedestrian 6.72. Considering that the top five quarterbacks in the league all sport completion percentages 60% and yards per attempt averages above 7.89, its a legitimate statement that Zabransky still has a way to go before he can be a top quarterback in the CFL.

As for the Maas fans out there, he is a capable backup that can run an offense effectively if Ray is not healthy enough to play. That being said, Maas is the backup for a reason. At this point in their careers, Ray is the better player.

Fans are always intrigued by the possibility of prospects. It’s why Oilers fans packed Clareview arena to watch the likes of Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle play in a prospects camp. It’s also why the both the NFL and CFL televise their drafts. In the weeks leading up to the CFL draft, every CFL fan worth his salt knew all about Shomari Williams (his stat line for the season by the way is four defensive tackles and four special teams tackles).  However, when a team is still trying to fight for a playoff spot, which the Eskimos are despite their record, the organization has to go with its best players. And in this case it’s Ricky Ray.

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