The Mitchell and Tate Debate may only be beginning for Stampeders

Al Dannity | Updated Jul 25, 2013


Bo Levi Mitchell may get a shot to start for Calgary on Friday night and it could kick start a fresh quarterback debate for the Stamps. Al Dannity looks at the pros and cons of the Mitchell and Tate debate.

One is an experienced starter on the road back from injury. The other is a healthy back-up who has shown flashes of potential in fill-in duty. The debate over who starts for the Stampeders this week is far more blurry than a week ago. Last week there was no discussion. The job was Kevin Glenn’s until Drew Tate got healthy. Glenn suffered an injury to his throwing arm in that effort against Montreal and in came Bo Levi Mitchell. The former Eastern Washington quarterback, who led the school to the FCS national title in his senior season, threw a pair of touchdowns on a 7 of 13 and 49 yard performance. Those numbers hardly scream prodigy but they do point to a man capable of running the Calgary offence in the short-term.

Starting Mitchell until John Hufnagel is ready to bring in Tate isn’t as simple a call as it sounds. Tate has been throwing all week and is hungry to start against the Blue Bombers on Friday. Hufnagel however may want to give the former Iowa QB another week to get game ready. The issue for Hufnagel is what to do if Mitchell takes a step to the next level. We all saw what happened when Colin Kaepernick filled in for Alex Smith in San Francisco last season. Smith was enjoying a career year before missing a game due to injury. Kaepernick filled in and Smith never started again for the 49ers. If Mitchell has a break-out display against Winnipeg, pushing him out of the line-up won’t be easy.

It may sound like a good problem to have but it’s one that carries no shortage of risk. For starters, Mitchell’s sample size is tiny and anything he does against the Bombers will look more substantial. Can a player really prove much in a single game? There’s also the matter of Tate. It’s great that he’s hungry to play. Calgary needs its offensive leader to want to be on the field. For this week, Hufnagel can safely say any decision is down to Tate’s health but next week? And the next? That’s where things get difficult. Whoever starts, the Stamps have a line-up capable of competing with any team in the CFL. That doesn’t mean there aren’t egos to massage.