When the Ottawa Redblacks released Dominique Davis earlier this offseason, many thought that he wouldn’t be back in the league again for the 2022 season, but that doesn’t appear like it will be the case after all. Davis signed a one-year contract with the Montreal Alouettes on Thursday evening, a move that has some fans wondering “why?”
When Davis took over as the Redblacks’ starter in 2019, he was touted as a quarterback with a big arm who could move the pocket and take off running when he needed to. For the most part, he lived up to that, but it didn’t go how he would have hoped. He had the big arm, but the decision-making was sometimes off. When he was having a decent game or drive, there was that one massive mistake lurking around the corner and it typically came out at some point.
When that mistake did end up happening, it was like the train had come off the rails and Davis had a hard time getting back on track. 2019 saw Davis complete 200 of his 312 passes for 2,216 yards, but the really concerning part was his five touchdown passes to his stunningly high 14 interceptions. Even considering his six rushing touchdowns, this ratio wasn’t good enough and it led to Jonathan Jennings and Will Arndt seeing some playing time.
Things were better in 2021 by comparison, but it still wasn’t up to the standard of a starting quarterback in the CFL. Davis completed 59 of 98 passes for 674 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions before being injured and forced to miss the remainder of the season. That was the last we saw of Davis in the red and black, but it’s safe to say that for all the hope that he could make his mark in the CFL, it never worked out.
So why do the Alouettes think Davis is the right player to back up Vernon Adams Jr. next season? After all, he’s never proven that he is good enough to lead his team to wins, so what’s the point? It might feel like grasping at straws, but stylistically, Davis and Adams are about as close as you can get. They both have big arms, they both have the ability to run, but neither looks to run all that often. They both love the high-risk, high-reward plays and can run nearly the same playbook.
Related: Montreal Alouettes Free Agency 2022
When you consider other free agent options that would have a play style similar to Adams, there aren’t too many names that come to mind. They would likely be settling for a player like Michael O’Connor, Trevor Harris (if his salary number came down significantly), or a player like David Watford. The other option would be to sign a rookie out of college and develop them, but Davis has an advantage on a player like that right out of the gate.
While they should look to bring in a young quarterback with some athleticism, Davis has the experience in the league that a rookie just wouldn’t have. He’s been around the block a few times in the CFL, and while the results haven’t been there, he’s familiar with the Canadian game. This is likely a short-term solution for the Alouettes while they look to find some youth, but it’s a good fit on paper.
Another thing to consider is the team that was around Davis while he was in Ottawa. In 2019, he was on the worst team in the league and in 2021, he was on the second-worst team that won just three games. With the offensive line and weapons he had around him, it’s no surprise that he struggled. Even Russ Jackson would have struggled on those teams. That’s not to suggest that he’s going to be elite in Montreal, Davis has problems of his own, but seeing him on a team that will be considered a playoff contender that the very least will be interesting.
This is likely the last chance for Davis, but the talent is there for him to stake a claim to a backup spot in the CFL. Montreal seems like the ideal fit for the veteran quarterback and it’s going to be intriguing to see if he can find a way to turn things around in la belle province.
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