The QB Index is a weekly power ranking of quarterbacks across the CFL, voted on by CFL.ca staff. The ranking reflects recent performance, historical value, statistical indicators, team success and overall on-field evaluation.
TORONTO — Dane Evans is three games into his fourth season in the CFL, all of them spent with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. In that time he’s held the clipboard on the sidelines, been thrust into action, become an interim starter and gotten the led the Ticats onto the field in a pair of Grey Cup games, all before he was named the team’s clear cut, No. 1 QB this year.
Now, sitting in the driver’s seat for the team and city that he’s grown to know and love, the challenges he’s facing this year are new.
The Ticats, as we all know, are 0-3. There was a definitive Week 1 loss in Saskatchewan, where the Roughriders pulled away in the fourth quarter. There was a second-half collapse and overtime loss to the Calgary Stampeders in Week 2. Then the Ticats went up against a familiar foe in Winnipeg and lost to the Bombers at IG Field in Week 3.
Evans has made 79 of 121 passes for a league-leading 884 yards. With that comes four touchdowns to a league-leading six interceptions (a distinction Evans shares with Nick Arbuckle). It’s a line he’s not happy with, but the 28-year-old isn’t deterred by it, either.
|QB INDEX JUNE 28, 2022|
|3.||Bo Levi Mitchell||CGY||3||–|
“It’s a string of bad luck, it’s like a hitter being in a bad slump,” Evans told reporters of the interceptions after the Week 3 loss, many of which have come off of tipped passes.
“There’s only so many times that can happen and eventually it’ll start going our way. I told Steve (Dunbar Jr.) on the sideline, I’m not going to stop throwing to him. I think he’s got some of the best hands in the league and I’m not going to let that stop me from throwing to him. He’s been open on every one of those.
“Same with all those guys. If they’re open, they’re going to get the ball. If it (tip interceptions) happens, it happens. It’s part of the game. It’s not going to stop me from throwing the ball, I’ll tell you that much.”
In an adverse moment, Evans has shown the leadership that you’d want from your starting quarterback. He posted this on his Instagram account after the loss to Winnipeg:
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It’s been said more than once on this site as the Ticats have stumbled out of the gate this season that the roster is too good, the organization too strong for this to be a prolonged issue. Evans echoed that sentiment on Friday night, with the loss and Willie Jefferson‘s deal-sealing pick six still stinging.
“I expect us to go to work. You’ve got to pick it up and start going to work. When we look back at this, it’s only going to be a memory,” Evans said.
“We’re learning a lot of lessons right now. Unfortunately we’re learning them through losses. This is going to turn around, I have no doubt in my mind. I’m not sitting up here saying that. We have the right guys in the room, the right coaches with us. We will turn this around, I have no doubt.”
It’s not just on Evans to turn it around, but if the Ticats are going to pull themselves out of this early season hole, that’s the attitude Evans, his teammates and the coaching staff will have to take.