The Winnipeg Blue Bombers first preseason game Wednesday night will start with the same man behind centre the club hopes to have – fingers crossed -- in its opener on June 27th: Buck Pierce.
Bomber head coach Tim Burke said today after practice that his veteran quarterback will take the first snap against the Toronto Argonauts on Wednesday in the first exhibition game for both teams and the debut of Investors Group Field. As for how long Pierce will stay in the game, that may be determined by the Argo defence.
"I don’t know how long he’ll play, it could be a couple series," said Burke. "If Toronto decides they want to blitz on every snap, then we’re going to take him out right away. This early in the season, protection usually lags behind defences. Traditionally that’s true if you look at CFL stats and NFL stats… there’s a lot more sacks earlier in the year than there are late in the year. That’s because defensive guys come up with new blitz schemes and, really, for the offensive lines it takes awhile for them to gel and get used to seeing all these different schemes.
"If (the Argos) were to decide to come in here and start blitzing then you’ll see a really fast exit for Buck. If they don’t then he’ll play at least a couple of series, maybe a quarter."
The other three pivots, Justin Goltz, Max Hall and Chase Clement, will all at least get one quarter of work. Burke wants to see his quarterbacks, other than Pierce, tested in different situations in different parts of the games. An example: he wants all three to have a chance to run a two-minute drill near the end of the first half or at the end of the game.
So what order they appear in the game will not necessarily represent where they currently are on the QB depth chart.
"Don’t take it that if Chase is going in second that he is the second-team quarterback," said Burke. "Don’t take anything out of the order that they go in because we’re just putting them in different situations."
In other news from Bomber camp:
- SB Cory Watson, who had been out with a hand injury, returned to the practice field today;
- Winnipeg Rifles receiver Brett Carter, who has been so impressive in camp, has signed a contract and will be in the game on Wednesday.
- Burke said a handful of injured players will not be available for Wednesday’s game, including SB Terrence Edwards, LB Johnny Sears, DL Dexter Davis, DL Zach Anderson.