Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Perhaps I have this wrong, but I just can’t see how starting QB Alex Brink over QB Steven Jyles is anything but the Bombers giving up on the season and throwing Jyles under the bus in the process.
Brink, the Washington State grad who has yet to see any real time as a CFL quarterback (outside of some mop-up duty and the occasional QB sneak) is being asked to beat the B.C. Lions and point the Winnipeg franchise back in the direction of the post season once again. The Bombers, as you know, aren’t officially out of it. They still have a chance to qualify in the East division, and the crossover through the West division is still a possibility, as well.
No pressure, rookie.
I’m not privy to what the process is in determining how Brink’s practice habits will lead to instant success in games, but I do know this: A lot of Bombers look great Monday-Thursday. Obviously, the coaches and management-types hope Brink the Practice Performer is similar to Brink the Game Starter and if the former Cougar is lightning in a bottle Thanksgiving Day, the Bombers win and everyone is happy moving forward through the remainder of this season. If they lose, 2010 is essentially over, the Bombers will be no better than they were in ’09 (possibly worse), and everyone can look ahead to 2011.
My tone sounds harsh here, but I don’t mean for it to sound that way. Brink is an easy guy to root for and no doubt he’s feeling the love from all sides today. Specifically from Twitter Nation. His account was buzzing with congrats and good luck all day and into the night, as word circulated he’ll be getting his first pro start Monday.
As for Jyles, you really have to feel for this guy. He’s waited four years for his chance to be a starter and now when he gets it in Year Five, it’s taken from him after eight games – despite putting up some nice numbers. For a guy with just NINE starts under his belt total (one in Saskatchewan), I’d say he’s exceeded expectations. Who knows if he’ll get another chance to start in the CFL? It doesn’t appear like it will come with the Blue and Gold, that’s for sure. All that discussion before the season about developing a young quarterback in Winnipeg – who would have guessed it was Brink coach Paul LaPolice and GM Joe Mack were talking about?
Not to entirely scoop myself before Thursday’s hard copy comes out, but I found it interesting that LaPolice pointed to the win-loss record of Jyles in the media scrum today. For those not paying attention, Jyles was 2-6 as a starter as a Bomber. To me, raising that record is a little selective. Buck Pierce – who many around the club and the city feel would be the difference between this current losing season and a winning one – held a 1-4 mark as the Winnipeg starting quarterback. Not much of a difference, eh? In fact, Jyles (.250) has a better winning percentage than Pierce (.200), so where was LaPolice going by bringing up the Bombers win-loss record when discussing the reasons behind the benching?
Based on the Pierce-Jyles success comparison, maybe quarterback isn’t the issue with this club. Something to think about.
The big guy (Ed Tait) has asked me to put out these reminders:
1. Some members of the Bombers are practicing with pink gloves this week. Those gloves will be autographed and will be up for auction on the team website (LINK: http://bluebombers.com). Proceeds from that sale go to the Keeping Abreast Fund as a part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pink toques and pink scarves with the Bomber logo are available at the Bombers online store. Follow the links on the main page, yo.
2. Free ticket party time! Eddie has a few sets of tickets to give away, and the first two go to the people who can answer the question below. E-mail Master-T at firstname.lastname@example.org and he’ll be in touch. Do not just throw the answer in the comments here. You can’t win that way. The question is: Name the last CFL player (a Bomber) to win the rushing title with less than 1000 yards.
Good luck. Later skaters.
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