Through the first half of the season, many were claiming Trevor Harris to be a candidate for the top honour in the CFL—the M.O.P. However, over the past few weeks, his lackluster performances have almost killed his chances with the Eskimos sliding down the standings. Especially if Harris misses any game action after suffering an injury on Saturday.
Harris’ Eskimos Still Set to Make Playoffs
The hapless B.C. Lions are languishing in the bottom of the Western Division while the Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa Redblacks are both struggling in the East. The Redblacks started the season well but have sputtered over the past couple months, while the Argos have righted the ship to an extent in the last month.
So, while Harris might look like he has done what he was brought in to do—right the ship in the departure of Mike Reilly—he has not done that, despite the gaudy numbers. Harris hasn’t played poorly, but he is not playing at the same level that Reilly left.
When Reilly was leading the Esks, it never felt like they were out of a game. It always felt as if no matter what the score was, Reilly was capable of leading a comeback. That feeling isn’t there with Harris. While he is good from inside the 25-to-25-yard lines, in the scoring territory he routinely comes up short. It’s the main reason he should not be among the top contenders for M.O.P.
Edmonton’s Quarterback System
Moreover, we have to face another truth. Edmonton’s system makes quarterbacks look better than they are. Reilly looked like a M.O.P. candidate and had impressive stats doing so during his tenure in Edmonton.
Now in B.C., Reilly looks marginal behind a lackluster offensive line and new coaching staff. He’s been under pressure more than any quarterback in the CFL. But even so, many were expecting the Lions to be competitive this season.
As a former quarterback, Jason Maas can coach his pivots. That said, his game management and play calling leave a lot to be desired.
It’s true that playcalling and poor game planning limits the effectiveness of the quarterbacks. Still, the quarterback is still responsible for putting the team in position to win. When it comes to the crucial moments and finishing drives, Trevor Harris tends to fall short.
Right now, Andrew Harris of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers would be my choice for M.O.P. He leads the CFL in rushing with 908 yards on the ground and has another 337 through the air. His contribution has the Bombers atop the West, but his PED suspension will hurt his case. Plus, Harris has been partially doing this without Matt Nichols, who was injured a few weeks ago.
Furthermore, Cody Fajardo of the Saskatchewan Roughriders will get consideration for the award. He has come on as a first-year starter under new coach Craig Dickenson and led the Riders to a surprising season, so far tied for second in the West. Despite having less than two-thirds of the passing yards Harris does, one could still argue Fajardo has done more to impact his team’s performance.
From there, don’t rule out Hamilton Tiger-Cats dynamo Brandon Banks, who makes his presence felt both on offence and in the return game. Ti-Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli’s injury may even help Banks’ case.
Trevor Harris is a steady hand, but not a guy who can elevate the play of his teammates. He goes as the team goes. If C.J. Gable is getting the run game going, Harris is at his best. But when the running game isn’t doing well, Harris is forced to play saviour.
That leads to big numbers but mistakes and drives bogging down in the red zone—the story of the Edmonton Eskimos’ 2019 season
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