Canadian Football League

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bishop Heading For New Canadian Football League Team

So much for the Toronto Argonauts' quarterback controversy.

Saskatchewan Roughrider General Manager Eric Tillman announced that the Riders have acquired import quarterback Michael Bishop from the Toronto Argonauts. In return, the Argonauts will receive a conditional draft pick in the Canadian Draft.

Bishop, 32, is in his seventh season with the Argos but has played sparingly this season behind starter Kerry Joseph. The six-foot-two, 223-pound Bishop has completed just 19-of-42 passes this season for 326 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.

The Argos put Bishop on recallable waivers earlier this season, a move general manager Adam Rita said was more housekeeping rather than an indication the club wanted to get rid of the quarterback.

CFL GMs often use the waiver wire to juggle their roster and also maintain control of their salary-cap figures. However, other CFL officials have been known to put a player on recallable waivers to gauge potential trade interest, then pull the player back and continue talks with perspective suitors. In this instance, though, it appeared no other CFL club put in a claim for Bishop.

Last season, though, Bishop registered career highs of 2,920 yards passing, and 22 touchdowns with Toronto. He also was the East Division's leading rusher among quarterbacks with 260 yards.

But Bishop has spent most of this season on the bench as Joseph has started all eight games for Toronto (3-5, second in East Division). Bishop saw some action in the Argos' 32-14 home loss to Montreal on Aug. 15, completing 9-of-21 passes for 126 yards with a touchdown and interception.

Bishop's presence in that game, combined with the inconsistency of the Argos offence, did create some question as to who would start for Toronto when it faces arch-rival Hamilton in its annual Labour Day contest. That question, though, has now been answered as Bishop's departure leaves untested Cody Pickett and Reggie McNeal - who has started the club's last two games at receiver - as the lone quarterbacks behind Joseph.

The trade is a peculiar one for Saskatchewan, which has a CFL-best 6-2 record and is atop the West Division standings. The Roughriders have veteran Marcus Crandell and Steven Jyles with Darian Durant - who effectively stepped in under centre when Crandell had a hamstring injury - slated to return shortly from a rib injury.

The trade does end the Argos' patience with Bishop, who for years appeared on the cusp of being capable of being the club's starter, only to revert back to relying too heavily on his strong right arm making poor decisions throwing the football.

Bishop, a Heisman Trophy finalist his final season at Kansas State, wrested the starting job from veteran Damon Allen to start last year and appeared to round the corner in terms of his development as a capable CFL starter. But he sustained an early-season wrist injury that forced him to miss a good chunk of the campaign.

When Bishop returned, he began reverting back to making bad decisions throwing the ball. However, he did amass an 11-1 record as the Argos starter and led the club to an 11-7-0 record to finish first in the East Division.

However, Bishop struggled in his first-ever CFL playoff game as a starter, completing 21-of-45 passes for 376 yards in Toronto's 19-9 home loss to Winnipeg in the East Division final.

Still, the expectation during the off-season was that Bishop would be in the mix for the Argos' starting job come training camp. But that all changed when Toronto acquired Joseph, the '07 CFL's outstanding player, in a blockbuster trade with the Grey Cup-champion Roughriders.

Ironically, on the day Toronto formally introduced Joseph to the Toronto media, it also announced re-signing Bishop to a new contract. The Argos had said both Bishop and Joseph would battle for the starting job in training camp.

Joseph emerged with the No. 1 job to start the season, but new Argos head coach Rich Stubler contended he'd use a quarterback rotation and wouldn't be afraid to play both players in games.

However, early in the season Stubler declared Joseph as the club's starting quarterback. As a result, Bishop has been used sparingly this season.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Canadian Football League Week # 9 Picks


Riders Vs Eskimos

The break came at a perfect time for the Riders. It gave them a chance to evaluate
the injury situation and see how to move forward. This game will be a close one.
Give it to the Eskimos as the home team.

Eskimos by 6

Stamps Vs Lions

This is a big one for the Lions. They need to establish themselves in the West division.
W's against East division teams won't cut it at playoff time. Unless they are planning
on the cross over spot only. Another close one.

Stamps by 5

Last Week 2-0 Over-All 17-13