Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Brink gets another shot

Blue will start former No. 2 QB while Goltz will also appear

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The Winnipeg Blue Bombers hope they are on the Brink of having a breakthrough at quarterback.

Never mind it's the last game of the 2012 CFL season and the last game in the old Canad Inns Stadium and the possibility of the playoffs are long in the rear-view mirror.

When the Bombers take the field on Saturday at 2 p.m. against the East division-leading, 11-6 Montreal Alouettes, the 5-12 Bombers just need somebody to finish a football game and that somebody, this week, is Alex Brink.

"Brink will start, Justin Goltz will play and R.J. Archer is the third quarterback," said Bombers head coach Tim Burke after Tuesday's practice at the stadium.

It's the same Alex Brink who started out earning the No. 2 spot on the depth chart behind oft-injured starter Buck Pierce, started three games going 1-2 before being demoted to third-string and leading the wildcat package on short-yardage situations.

There he has languished since Aug. 3 after a 36-26 loss to Montreal when the offensive reins were handed over to Joey Elliott, who also struggled. Pierce came back after his foot injury, suffered a concussion and left last week's loss to Hamilton with a shoulder injury. Elliott is out with a knee injury also suffered in the Tiger-Cats game.

In his three starts earlier this season, Brink went 60-of-111 for 790 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions.

"The thing with Alex is a little more accuracy with his throws and quicker decision-making, which I think you'll see that," Burke said. "I think Alex has really progressed in that area. Early in the year, he was a little bit slow in his decision-making. He knows where to go with the ball. It was just not happening as fast as he'd like it to."

Brink isn't reading too much into getting the tap on the shoulder to start, calling it "a fun opportunity in the last week of the season to get the ball, and go out there and try and get ourselves a win."

"I've been through about as many ups and downs in one season as one person could possibly go through," said Brink, 27. "To be honest with you, I feel like I have a really good perspective on it. I'm just going to go out, have fun and enjoy this last week that I can be together with this group of guys."

As teammates jokingly shouted "Brink for Mayor" in the background behind the media gathered around his locker, Brink said his status with the team is "out of his hands."

"As a professional, you approach this very seriously," he said. "It's not about just going out and slinging the ball around. We're going out to try and get a win."

Brink said he's taken time in the last 10 weeks to evaluate himself.

"I got some opportunities early to play a lot so when I went back and evaluated those things, I was certainly able to take a step back and see where I could grow from a developmental side of reading defences," he said.

"Starting fast is an important thing for me. The start I had against Edmonton (July 26) when we won, we started really fast and controlled that game. Against Toronto (July 18) and Montreal (Aug. 3) we didn't start as fast in those starts for me. So getting off to a good start is going to be important."

Brink said he's ready to build on the five career starts he's had for the Bombers.

"As a backup, you have to find ways to grow and learn without necessarily getting the actual live reps in a game.

"I've had a number of game reps, only five starts, but I feel like I can learn and grow from this opportunity."

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 31, 2012 C3

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