Josh Neiswander is getting a leg up on the competition and is becoming a serious heir apparent to Anthony Calvillo at the quarterback position.
“The more game experience he gets, he's going to get better,” offensive tackle Jeff Perrett said after the Alouettes 17-12 win against Saskatchewan on Sunday.
Neiswander was head coach and GM Jim Popp's first choice to replace Anthony Calvillo after A.C.'s concussion in Saskatchewan on August 17. He started the next game at home against B.C. but threw an early pick and was only 1-3 before being replaced by Tanner Marsh.
Marsh was easily the fans choice to be under centre the rest of the way with his gun-slinging style and dramatic flair. However it's been two games in a row with no interceptions for Neiswander, which is something Marsh has never done: he has eight interceptions and only three starts as Montreal's QB this year.
Neiswander has turned into the team's default quarterback with Calvillo and now Marsh on the 9-game injury list. It's been a full rotation at the position all season long for the Alouettes: from Calviilo to Neiswander to Marsh back to Neiswander. One has to wonder when it'll be former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith's turn.
“We wanted to play him more than we did, but Josh was doing well and we didn't want to get him out of rhythm,” Popp said following Sunday's game whereafter Smith got only two plays under centre.
Smith threw his first CFL pass and completion against the Roughriders Sunday – a 54 yarder – before Jerome Messam fumbled a couple yards from the end zone. Smith fumbled on his other snap.
With all the changes, one can only wonder about creating any chemistry between quarterback and receiver.
“As far as chemistry with Josh, I think at this point the receiving corps is ready to get chemistry with anybody. Whether it's Troy, whether it's Marsh who comes back or even the new guy that came in, as far as Sidewinder(Neiswander)he found a way to get us a win,” veteran receiver Arland Bruce III said of Montreal's QB situation.
Winning will help anyone secure their spot behind centre. If Anthony Calvillo comes back from his concussion this season or not, no one can predict his future with the Alouettes. The 2014 season is a long way away but the competition for the “next guy” has already begun between Neiswander, Marsh and Smith. Lucky for Neiswander, he's the one with the ball.