Taking apart the myth of Durrant’s greatness

Last week I discussed the quarterback position as it pertained to all eight CFL teams. I left the issue open in the matter of one Darian Durant. This week I want to finish my point about the Roughrider pivot.

Last week I discussed the quarterback position as it pertained to all eight CFL teams. I left the issue open in the matter of one Darian Durant. This week I want to finish my point about the Roughrider pivot.

My main complaint about Durant is a huge tendency toward exaggeration about his level of talent. I have maintained that he is a journeyman quarterback, yesterday, today and tomorrow.

I believe Durant has demonstrated brief moments of greatness that have been stretched — make that grotesquely distorted — into a superstar status label for this guy.

He is a capable runner that chooses not to run the ball enough to make defenses second guess his next play.

The past few seasons have been a study in greatness by his receivers, but the absence of Fantuz and Bagg has magnified Durant’s inability to deliver a consistent pass. The aforementioned receivers were familiar with Durant’s high/low pass game and compensated for it-even to the point of personal injury to snag his errant passes.

So now it is 2011 and Durant’s disciples still continue to point fingers at everybody but Durant. The biggest target is Roughrider offensive coordinator Doug Berry, a man who is currently roasting over a hot fire in Saskatchewan.

Berry is responsible for everything up to and including flooding and hail storms in the land of the tall wheat. His critics claim that Berry has handcuffed Durant to a pocket passer offense that does not play to Durant’s strengths.

Lately Durant’s biggest strength appears to be rolling his head from side to side in frustration when he heads to the sideline after the many two and outs that has become a trademark of his career.

But the blame has been placed squarely upon Berry’s shoulders, despite his resume that includes a stint with the Montreal Alouettes as their offensive coordinator. It was a time when Berry was considered to be one of the best offensive minds in the CFL.

The difference was that Berry had a guy named Anthony Calvillo to work his offense in Montreal, and that is a huge difference.

But Berry is not alone in the blame-anybody-but-Darian-game. The 2011 edition of ’Rider receivers are also in the line of fire and, on occasion these guys have fumbled the ball in a figurative sense. I would say literal, but they would have to catch a ball to make that an accurate statement.

The trouble is that dropped balls are a part of football. Great quarterbacks will make stars out of average receivers simply by delivering a consistently accurate pass to their undertalented receivers.

It’s called the Doug Flutie syndrome in the CFL, and Durant is not a practitioner in any way.

It really boils down to Durant’s ability to play quarterback at a high level in the CFL. He is now a seasoned veteran and he should have a handle on the game if he is considered to be an elite quarterback. But he doesn’t and he is not an elite quarterback.

He doesn’t run like Damon Allen and he doesn’t throw like Calvillo. Their records are safe from Durant.

He is still brutal at check-downs and he rarely looks off a receiver. In fact, TSN analyst Glen Suitor did a highlight replay when he actually did look off a receiver against B.C.

Call me a heretic in the ’Rider cult folks, for I have dared to speak out against the myth that is Darian Durant, CFL superstar.

Jim Sutherland is a weekly contributor for the Red Deer Advocate during the CFL season. He may be reached at Jim@mystarcollectorcar.com