CFL quarterbacks are dropping like flies, however Dane Evans hopes to assist the B.C. Lions take flight

Ottawa has set a report for many QBs utilized in an early season, Saskatchewan has turned to untested Mason Fantastic, and Hamilton’s QB state of affairs has been a revolving door. Now, Dane Evans will step in for a hobbled Vernon Adams in opposition to Edmonton.

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When Nathan Rourke received damage late in a win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in September of final season, the B.C. Lions thought they have been nonetheless set at quarterback. That they had one other Canadian QB, Michael O’Connor, who was lighting it up in apply, and veteran Antonio Pipkin — the short-yardage specialist — behind him.

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It took precisely one mixed 200-yard passing recreation and a 23-16 dwelling loss to the identical workforce they’d thumped the week earlier than to appreciate they wanted assist.

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O’Connor began the sport and went 6-of-15 for 94 yards, however quickly made manner for Pipkin. He didn’t fare a lot better, going 9-of-17 for 112 yards and a landing.

Seeing their season’s hopes start to evaporate earlier than their eyes, the Lions went out and instantly traded for Vernon Adams Jr. to steer the ship till Rourke returned — if he even would.

It was additionally why this February the Lions jumped on the likelihood to commerce for Dane Evans, who had turn out to be expendable after the Hamilton Tiger-Cats signed Bo Levi Mitchell from the Calgary Stampeders.

“I’ve on this league a very long time now, and it’s uncommon that we undergo an entire season without having no less than two quarterbacks. It’s simply the way in which it goes,” stated head coach and co-GM Rick Campbell. “That rings true once more this yr. We’re by no means going to show away good soccer gamers, and we’re by no means going to show away an opportunity to accumulate a confirmed quarterback. We really feel fortunate to have (Evans).”

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All it’s a must to do to go searching the CFL for proof of idea. On Saturday, the Lions beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who began the unproven Mason Fantastic rather than injured starter Trevor Harris. The Ottawa Redblacks are already right down to their third-string quarterback in Dustin Crumb, and have become the primary CFL workforce in historical past to start out 4 totally different QBs of their first 5 video games.

Not since 2018 when Mike Reilly, then in Edmonton, and Mitchell in Calgary, has a CFL workforce had the identical quarterback begin each recreation in a season.

On Saturday, the Lions (5-1) will begin Evans in opposition to the Edmonton Elks (0-7), with Adams nonetheless feeling the consequences of a scarily twisted knee that knocked him out of the sport within the first quarter on Saturday. Adams’ harm wasn’t as unhealthy as initially feared, and he was out throwing balls at apply on Tuesday, however Campbell made the early name to show to Evans. In any case, that’s why they received him.

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“He’s a confirmed winner and a hungry man. It’s not like a man that’s outdated or one thing, that ended his profession,” stated Campbell. “He’s a man that was accessible to us by way of a commerce. We weren’t going to move it up.”

Evans got here in chilly to Saturday’s recreation, and took some time to warmth up, regardless of orchestrating a 101-yard landing drive on his first collection. He completed the evening 16-of-25 for 219 yards, a landing and one “hero ball” interception he stated he ought to by no means have thrown.

He knew coming into this yr he was going to be the back-up to Adams, however the former Ticats starter isn’t chafing on the position. He’s right here to help Adams — and vice-versa — with all of them rowing in the identical route.

“As soon as VA final week was instructed he was executed for the day and may’t got here again out, he was proper there in each huddle on the sideline, telling me what he’s seeing and telling me what he thinks they’re doing,” stated Evans. “Simply that rapport forwards and backwards, it by no means stopped simply because he was damage. It wasn’t like he simply packed it up and was like, ‘Alright, you guys received it.’

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“And I believe that reveals what sort of character he has in order that he’s ready to do this when he is aware of he bodily can’t go. He may also help the workforce in different methods and I believe that’s what you need in your chief.

“Me, VA and Dom (Davis) talked about it at the start of this yr, as soon as all of us received right here,” added the 29-year-old. “It’s going to take all of us. Proper now, that is my flip to step in. And we’ll see what occurs from there …

“I do know proper now, my job on this workforce is to only get us to the following cease. And that’s what I plan to do.”

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A part of the Tuesday determination to anoint Evans the starter for Saturday’s recreation in opposition to Edmonton was the possibility to get him bodily reps, as a substitute of the psychological ones he normally takes in apply — seven yards behind the starter, concurrently mimicking his actions throughout the play.

And whereas he’s purchased absolutely in as The Man behind The Man, he’s nonetheless excited to get again right into a recreation as a starter for the primary time since final yr’s East semifinal in opposition to Montreal.

“I imply, that’s what I stay for. I really like this recreation. I’m an enormous fan,” stated Evans. “I believe this recreation is the best recreation on Earth. It’s given me so many good issues. I might by no means be in Canada if it wasn’t for soccer. So I’m tremendous appreciative of this recreation. And while you truly get to go play such as you simply grew to become a bit child within the yard once more. That’s when the whole lot is completely price it.

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“Simply to get in, to play and be on the market with the blokes and do what I really like, particularly (after) final yr the way it went for me personally, I notice how fast this recreation can get taken from you. So simply going on the market and doing what I really like once more, that’s what I’m most enthusiastic about.”

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