Is it nitpicking?

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This article was published 20/10/2021 (218 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Is it nitpicking?

Absolutely it is.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are 9-1 and quarterback Zach Collaros is a Most Outstanding Player award contender as he leads the CFL in touchdown passes (15) and passing yards (2,565).

But welcome to the world of being a professional quarterback where every single throw and decision is put under a microscope.

As reliable and consistent as Collaros has been this year, he's made some odd, and obvious, mistakes. In all three games against the Edmonton Elks, Collaros threw an interception in the end zone.

"One, it always starts with decision making and two, it ends with execution. It's making the right decision, throwing to the right spot and obviously executing the throw that you want. It's a combination of things. For me personally, I just have to do a better job of locating the football so my guys have a chance or nobody else does," said Collaros when asked about those throws after Wednesday's closed practice.

His 70.3 completion percentage is second to only BC's Michael Reilly (70.9), but a chunk of those incompletions, and a few of his interceptions, have been caused by one thing in particular: underthrown balls.

Is it caused by pressure getting to him? Poor footwork? Misjudging where the receiver is? Collaros didn't offer up much of an explanation.

"It could be a number of things, but at the end of the day, I just have to make a better throw on a lot of those. If the decision is correct, it's just locating the football," Collaros said.

And what does his supervisor, offensive co-ordinator Buck Pierce, think?

"Every throw is a little bit different… It's not easy to always pinpoint one thing," Pierce said.

"I think Zach's aware of that and we're working on that. Throughout the course of the year, you have things you're always evaluating. Personnel wise, each position wise, and he understands that as well. It's just a thing that we got to work on, but I'm not going to pinpoint it on one particular thing."

A luxury of having the best defence in the league means your quarterback doesn't have to play a perfect game. When the defence only gives up an average of 12.6 points per contest, you can afford to throw some stinkers. But that doesn't mean the Bombers offence should be satisfied with the way they're playing. If that unit can take care of the ball and convert in the red zone, the Blue and Gold will be nearly unbeatable in post-season play.

"I think we have to keep in mind that it's tough to win football games in this league. Not feeling great after winning, that's OK, but you have to learn how to cherish those victories. But we do come in with a critical eye after every game," Collaros said.

"We've been on a good run here and we need to continue to keep getting better. It's only going to get harder down the stretch. I don't think we've played our best yet. I don't think anybody would tell you that but that's why we come to work every day and why we prepare to get better at our communication, to get better at our execution, and the little details."

One of the things they may look to do a better job at executing is getting the ball in the hands of wide receiver Darvin Adams. The 31-year-old has been close to non-existent these past three weeks as he has a total of four catches for 40 yards in that stretch.

"I think it's really just a couple of balls that I should have thrown better. He's won a couple of routes that probably would've resulted in touchdowns or big plays and I have to make a better throw, a better decision, and be on time. But Darvin knows where the ball is going in a big time situation," Collaros said.

Whether you're one to nitpick about the quarterback's play or not, one thing's for certain: the Bombers wouldn't be in first place without Collaros. Having thrown only six interceptions on 283 attempts this season is nothing to scoff at.

"I guess those are good measurables as you reflect on a season and I guess as you're going through (it). Obviously, you never want to put your team in a bad situation," Colaros said.

"Every single week we have a big three for the week: protect the football, win the turnover battle, and you're probably going to win the game. As a quarterback that's really your No. 1 job is to do that. I have to continue to do a better job at that and hopefully down the stretch I'll be able to clean some of those mistakes up and we'll be able to execute at a higher level."

taylor.allen@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen
Reporter

Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of.