Ray still "The Man"

 As promised earlier, here are some thoughts regarding the Eskimos quarterback situation and what should still be a non-issue for the team heading into the Labour Day Classic in Calgary. It’s been interesting to see how no one is really going full out on the Jared Zabransky train anymore after his performance on Saturday night. Yes, he did do some things well, but Zabransky is still moving up what is proving to be a very steep learning curve and being given full control of the offense appears to be something that will be pushed back at least for the immediate future.

Looking at the statistical performances between Ricky Ray and Zabransky against the Roughriders, it’s easy to see how much Zabransky still has to learn before he can become the next starter of the Eskimos. While Zabransky did rack up 109 passing yards and another 40 yards using his feet, his effectiveness as a quarterback was not even in the same league as Ray. He did have one touchdown pass and two interceptions, which if you cancel out a score for a pick, stacks him favourably against Ray in that each was minus one interception on the day. The two key stats for quarterbacks, however, are completion percentage and yards per attempt, which while directly correlated sometimes can show a great disparity between an effective signal caller and one who needs more work.

In Saturday’s game, Zabransky was 8-17 in passing, giving him a completion percentage of only 47%. He made some big plays, but there were too many incompletions to be consistently effective. His yards per attempt average was 6.41, lower than the 6.71 he had already posted in limited action this year. Ray, by contrast, although only completing 55% of his passes (which is quite a bit lower than is 67% rate for the season), and having a yards per attempt of only 5.72 for the game, showed why he is still the best quarterback for the Esks with a solid performance in the fourth quarter. When the game was on the line, Ray went 4-5 for 47 yards, good for a yards per attempt average of 9.40.

Make no mistake about it, Zabransky is an intriguing prospect for the Esks, and with time, may very well be a starting quarterback that can win in the CFL. His ability to run the football certainly influenced the Saskatchewan defense and gave the Eskimos some life. That being said, when the pressure mounted and the Esks needed to get points on the board, Ray was the guy to make the throws. How this plays out over the rest of season will be interesting to watch and the Esks could very well be back to using a two quarterback system like they did with Ray and Jason Maas en-route to the 2005 Grey Cup. Each quarterback brings something different to the table, but with the game on the line, Ray is the man for the Esks.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dylan on August 31, 2010 at 11:14 am

    I know this is off topic, but what happened to Brandon Guillory?

    Reply

  2. @Dylan

    Guillory signed with the Ticats in the 2009 off-season as an unrestricted free agent. He was cut at the end of training camp and appears to be out of football.

    Reply

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