Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–6–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Joey bows to Buck

CFL honour not enough to displace Pierce as starting QB

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Joey ELLIOTT has been named the CFL's offensive player of the week but has not been named the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' starting quarterback for Saturday's game.

And Elliott is OK with that.

Looks like he'll have to be as Bombers head coach Tim Burke said Wednesday that if concussed quarterback Buck Pierce receives medical clearance in time to practise today, he will start Saturday against the Calgary Stampeders at noon at Canad Inns Stadium.

 

"Just another week, just going to prepare like last week. You never know. He (Pierce) was out there going with the one (first-team offence) today. In my mind, he'll be ready to go," said Elliott, who received the CFL honour on Wednesday in recognition of his three-touchdown performance in Winnipeg's 27-22 win over the Alouettes in Montreal Monday.

Joey, isn't it just a bit frustrating to perform so well in a game only to potentially be a spectator the following game?

"True, it could happen. Coming off a good game you always want to build on that but at the same time our organization, and the franchise, Buck's our quarterback and they're going to to stay behind that 110 per cent. When he's healthy, he's going to be ready to go," Elliott said.

"In professional sports, you say this is who is going to be our starter and this is how we're going to go. When he's healthy, he's got to play. I think he's done a great job this whole year and I think he'll be ready to go this week."

Crystal clear

Burke made the quarterbacking situation crystal clear after Wednesday's no-pads, no-helmets practice.

"Buck is going to see the doctors this afternoon and we should know something this evening. If you see him out there taking snaps tomorrow, then you know he is cleared to play," said Burke. "If he isn't, then you know he's not cleared to play. We won't know anything until probably really late (Wednesday)."

Pierce was not available for comment on Wednesday as he left practice early amid speculation he was going to have a medical assessment. Prior to leaving, he did participate in the walk-through, worked with the first-team offence and was getting most of the repetitions.

Burke said Elliott's most recent performance is important but it's not enough to take a healthy Pierce's job.

"I don't think it's that tough of a decision. Like Joey was telling you guys, Buck's our franchise quarterback so he gives us the best chance," Burke said. "I think it's great that Joey had a great game and all that. It speaks to how he's really progressed as a player. We're looking at a guy that can legitimately win some games for us."

Pierce suffered a concussion in the 29-10 loss to the Toronto Argonauts on Sept. 29 when he was subjected to a helmet-to-chin hit by Argos linebacker Brandon Isaac, who was penalized on the play and later fined for the hit.

After Pierce was not cleared to play last week, Elliott got his sixth career start and led the Bombers to a win in a game that it seemed on paper they could not win. Elliott passed for three touchdowns for the first time in his CFL career and completed 17 of 25 passes for 335 yards with no interceptions. He also added two carries for 13 yards on the ground.

"In that situation, it's just a good team win. That's more important to create momentum from an inside-the-locker-room standpoint," Elliott said.

"It (CFL award) is a tremendous honour to have. My receivers made me look good, the (offensive) line protected and we were able to get things done," Elliott said.

It was the second time this season and second time in his three-year career Elliott has received the offensive player of the week nod as he was also selected after he led the Bombers to a 32-25 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Aug. 16.

Safety Ian Logan said the team is not worrying about whether Pierce or Elliott starts this week.

"We're confident in both guys," Logan said. "Buck's obviously been a leader when he's been in and Joey's come out with two huge wins against Hamilton and Montreal that have shown what he's capable of. He's got an air of confidence about him. You trust that he's going to lead the guys and get the job done. At the same time, Buck's been the stable guy that we've counted on to win us games in the past."

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPAshleyPrest

Today's Bomber Report C3

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 11, 2012 C1

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