Ray Chasing Leaders

 Ricky Ray is chasing down the leaders in one statistical category in the CFL. That would be the interceptions leaders, Darian Durant (15) and Henry Burris (14). The Esks quarterback is finding himself in unfamiliar territory as he is closing the gap to leading the league in interceptions. With the addition of two more picks this past weekend against Montreal, Ray now has 12 errant passes that have landed in the arms of opposing defenders, equaling his totals from both of the past two seasons after only 11 games in the 2010 season.

For a quarterback who has always managed to maintain an interception percentage lower than 3% with the exception of the 2005 season (3.4%), his 4.0% rate in 2010 has to be concerning. It should be noted that in that 2005 season, the Esks didn’t have much of a running game and Ray had to launch an astronomically high 715 pass attempts. Defences knew that the Esks were going to pass the ball that year, which gave them a better shot at getting those coveted interceptions. It’s not quite the same story in 2010.

After 11 games this season, Ray has thrown 297 pass attempts, or 27 pass attempts per game. Extrapolated over the rest of the regular season, and he should finish somewhere in the neighbourhood of 500 attempts on the year. This would mark his lowest total ever for pass attempts excluding the 2007 season where he attempted 445 passes, but only played in 13 games due to injury. At a 4% interception clip, that would place Ray at about 20 interceptions for the year, and unfortunately for the man in behind centre Aaron Fiacconi, the team is starting to show signs of getting worse before they get better. Finishing the year with closer to 23 or 24 picks could be a reality.

Along with the interceptions, Ray is currently boasting a 61.6% completion rate, which if you are Durant is stellar, but the Esks quarterback is a career 67% completion rate quarterback. While he can throw the deep ball, the Green & Gold offense has largely been based on underneath completions that are typically low-risk throws. The uncountable drops by the receiving corps this year certainly have added to the stats, but at what point does the decline fall on the Ray’s shoulders. It will be up to people like Eric Tillman and the rest of the Esks management to figure that one out, but one thing is for sure, this isn’t the Ricky Ray in 2010 that we have seen over the past half decade.

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