January 4, 2013

2013 Positional Preview – Quarterbacks takes a closer look at the current roster by position and breaks down the team’s outlook heading into the 2013 season.

In this week’s entry we preview the signal callers of the Green & White, while next week’s entry will take an in depth look at the team’s running backs, led by the explosive Kory Sheets.

As is always the case, the Saskatchewan Roughriders pivots will have all eyes on them entering the 2013 Training Camp. Making things interesting, all four quarterbacks that spent the 2012 season with the green and white are under contract and eligible to return.

Eight year veteran Darian Durant will enter Training Camp at the top of the teams depth chart and it will once again be his job to lose.

Coming off a season in which he finished with a career high completion percentage (64.4%) and threw a career low 12 interceptions, Durant continues to mature and show growth as a CFL quarterback. After being hampered by a mid-season hip injury, Durant was forced to miss a week 12 game in Montreal.  Upon his return and with limited mobility his game evolved as he proved capable of being a pocket passer, leading the team to victory in his next three starts without a single rush attempt.

A healthy Durant keeps opposing defences on edge with his big play capabilities through the air and on the ground. The 30-year-old South Carolina native is a focused and ambitious individual driven to lead the Riders towards league supremacy.

Second year Rider, Drew Willy will garner much of the attention in the push behind Durant. Slated as the number two quarterback throughout the regular season, Willy started at quarterback twice and regularly appeared in short yardage situations throughout 2012.

In week 11, Willy helped lead the Riders to a last play victory in Winnipeg. After throwing for 5 touchdowns and rushing for four, the University of Buffalo product will certainly push for playing time in 2013.

Veteran pivot J.T O’Sullivan may be considered the wild card in the mix. After seeing limited reps throughout the 2012 season, O’Sullivan’s ten years pro experience and high football IQ served him well as he pushed up to the number two quarterback spot for the West Semi-Final. A player like O’Sullivan could offer the Riders veteran stability should the offence falter or Durant be forced to miss time.

Second year man Levi Brown spent his 2012 rookie season on the teams injured list, allowing him the opportunity to develop a further understanding of Canadian football. The strong-armed 25-year old has shown big potential and should push for a spot on the active roster.