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Rick Zamperin: Is Ticats’ Jeremiah Masoli an elite QB?

Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli during second half CFL action against the Calgary Stampeders in Calgary, AB. on Sat., June 16, 2018. CFL PHOTO - Larry MacDougal

For the second consecutive week, Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli has been named a CFL top performer. Masoli is a deserving winner of the honour after he led Hamilton to an impressive 31-17 home opening win against Winnipeg last Friday night at Tim Hortons Field.

The CFL veteran threw for 369 yards and a touchdown in the victory, the eighth game in a row that he’s eclipsed the 300-yard plateau.  That is one game shy of the CFL record of nine, held by Montreal’s Sam Etcheverry in 1956 and Saskatchewan’s Kent Austin in 1991.

READ MORE: Hamilton Tiger-Cats top CFL East Division after impressive win over Blue Bombers

But while Masoli continues to turn heads in Hamilton and throughout the league, the question remains: should he be considered an elite level QB in the CFL? Before you answer that question, let’s look at his body of work to date.

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Before I proceed any further, I should mention that I realize that aside from the quarterback there are 11 other offensive players on the field, 12 on defense, and 12 guys who are counted upon game in and game out to make plays on special teams. Football is the ultimate team sport. But without a quarterback who can get the ball in the end zone, that team isn’t going to be successful.

Let’s continue.

Despite this being his 6th season in the CFL, Masoli — who turns 30 on August 24 — has only been a starter since Labour Day last year. Over the course of his 13 starts since then, Masoli has guided the Ticats to an 8-6 record. His career record as a starter is 12-10. Wins don’t paint the entire picture, though. Case in point, future Hall of Fame quarterback Ricky Ray has a career mark of 112-106-1. That’s nothing to write home about, but he also has four Grey Cup rings.

READ MORE: Masoli leads Ticats to dominating win over Eskimos

Masoli has put up some eye-popping numbers since he took over from the since-departed Zach Collaros halfway through the 2017 campaign. Entering Week 4 this season, Masoli is number one in the league with 1,045 passing yards. In his last 15 games, Masoli has thrown 19 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. That’s not too shabby at all.

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The deciding factor, especially when it comes to quarterbacks — let’s face it, nobody has this debate about right guards or SAM linebackers — is that when the chips are down in the biggest game of the year, can he deliver?

It’s no surprise that the three quarterbacks who are undeniably in the elite class — Toronto’s Ricky Ray, Calgary’s Bo Levi Mitchell, and Edmonton’s Mike Reilly — have all won the big one.

While he is on a statistically sensational roll, a Grey Cup championshionship will seal Jeremiah Masoli’s status as an elite CFL QB.

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