Riders Training Camp Preview: Quarterback

For our final installment we’ll talk about what used to be the most popular player in Saskatchewan; The back-up quarterback.

In: Colt Brennan, JT O’Sullivan, Drew Willy, Levi Brown
Out: Ryan Dinwiddie, Cole Bergquist
Returning: Darian Durant

Camp Battle Grade: B+ - It’ll be a great battle for the back-up spot and may be a very important battle if Durant doesn’t make it through the season. Durant, however, is one of the most durable QBs in the league and should have an improved o-line.

The Riders are blessed that the number one job isn’t up for question in training camp or this season would be in serious doubt. With Durant implanted, they have a much better shot to turn it around from last year’s disaster.

I think this back-up battle is a lot different if Colt Brennan wasn’t out of football for nearly two years, which included a serious car accident. The coaches have said he is trying to knock off the rust but Brennan has an intangible I like in an up and coming quarterback; improvisation.

The kid can take a broken down play and turn into something. It’s not a skill you’ll see in training camp so we’ll see how patient the Riders are with him and how much time he gets in pre-season games.

JT O’Sullivan is the oldest quarterback so he’ll have to clearly be the best quarterback of the foursome vying for the #2 spot or there is no point keeping him. You shouldn’t give a third or fourth spot to a soon to be 34-year old. That’s a developmental roster spot.

Drew Willy is able to use his legs as well, while he’s not Kerry Joseph or Damon Allen, he can at least extend the play. He has shown he can make all the throws and has some of the best footwork, which is something Khari Jones is looking for as QB Coach.

Levi Brown is a big boy. 6’4, 230 pounds and he has a big arm as well. A drop back, big arm quarterback doesn’t really compliment Durant’s style all that much but the coaches say that’s not necessarily what they’re looking for. If given time to develop, Brown could be an interesting prospect as his quick release and accuracy was heralded out of college. Two great qualities to have if you’re not as mobile.

This battle will really be fought during the two pre-season games. I wouldn’t mind seeing Durant sit in the first pre-season game and have these four battle it out, with Durant getting the first half in the pre-season finale at home.

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