Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–3–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ball is in Joey's hands

Concussed Buck not cleared by medical staff

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The ball will be in the hands of Joey Elliott for a second straight week.

Winnipeg head coach Tim Burke said the Blue Bomber quarterback will start against the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday at noon at Canad Inns Stadium after confirming No. 1 quarterback Buck Pierce will remain sidelined with a concussion sustained Sept. 29.

Now it's up to Elliott to show Burke and Bombers fans a reason to see him as something other than a backup.

"It's a good opportunity, I'm glad to be playing at home in front of my home fans and glad to get another opportunity," said Elliott after Thursday's practice. "You never know. Buck's our franchise guy and whenever he's healthy, he'll be ready to go."

Pierce, who was not made available to the media for a second straight day, was on the field with the team during Thursday's practice. He lightly tossed the ball to a few receivers but Elliott led the first-team offence.

"The medical staff said (Pierce) is not ready to go yet," Burke said. "I was expecting him to (be cleared), I think he was really close but that's just my speculation."

Pierce was evaluated late Wednesday so Elliott was able to have a full practice Thursday knowing he would be starting on Saturday.

"You've just got to be prepared with every play call," Elliott said. "We try to draw up what we think they (Stampeders) are going to do but once the ball is in your hands, it's your job to execute, so you've got to be able to know where all your hot throws are and how to get rid of the football."

Elliott is the first Bombers quarterback to record more than one win this season and is 2-4 in 2012 as the starter. Elliott had been third on Winnipeg's depth chart earlier this season.

Burke said Elliott has a chance to build on his strong performance last week in the 27-22 win over the Alouettes in Montreal when he passed for three touchdowns, was not intercepted and was named the CFL's offensive player of the week. It was Winnipeg's first road win of the season.

"If Joey can have a really good game this week, certainly that would say to us as an organization, 'Hey we've got a pretty good backup here at least.' It'd be a tremendous confidence-booster for the entire team and for Joey," Burke said.

"I thought he really did a great job making decisions. He's learned to let plays develop and not just chuck the ball down real quick and he was in command of the game. I thought he managed the game really well. That tells you that he's just not concentrating on what he has to do, he's concentrating on what the offence has to do."

Elliott said he plans to put pressure on himself and the offence.

"Coming down here, we need some wins. Hopefully the pressure will drive them to work hard prior to the game, prepare a bit more and we'll execute a bit better," he said.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 12, 2012 C3

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