September 24, 2018

Winnipeg
8° C, Overcast

Full Forecast

Record: 6–7–0

Winnipeg Blue Bombers Logo

Blue Bomber Report (6–7–0)

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Quarterbacking a strength

Blue Bombers enjoying luxury of two effective signal-callers

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck</p><p>Whispers of a quarterback controversy in Winnipeg have subsided since veteran quarterback Matt Nichols led the Bombers to a convincing 41-19 win over the B.C. Lions in his first regular season start after returning from injury, Saturday.</p>

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Whispers of a quarterback controversy in Winnipeg have subsided since veteran quarterback Matt Nichols led the Bombers to a convincing 41-19 win over the B.C. Lions in his first regular season start after returning from injury, Saturday.

The noise surrounding a potential quarterback controversy in Winnipeg may have softened over the weekend, but that hasn’t prevented another major buzz from building around the Blue Bombers’ most important position.

The performance by No. 1 Matt Nichols in Saturday’s 41-19 home victory to the B.C. Lions was enough to calm the cries in recent weeks from fans clamouring for rookie backup Chris Streveler to continue his run behind centre. That tune soon changed after Nichols, playing in his first regular-season game after missing the first three with an injured right knee, returned to his usual, consistent self against the Lions, evening the Bombers’ record to 2-2.

Though his stat line won’t be seen as your typical “big” night, especially for someone viewed among the league’s best at the position — he finished 16-for-29 passing for 162 yards and one touchdown — Nichols said he felt the offence was executing as well as any game he’s been in.

“For me, I think that was a big (game). People want to look at the 300-yard (passing) mark or whatever. We preach around here score one more point than the opponent,” Nichols said following practice Wednesday. “You expect to go out and be more consistent week in and week out but at the same time you’re going to go through ups and downs and for us it’s just trying to win football games any way possible.”

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 60 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 60 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 60 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

The noise surrounding a potential quarterback controversy in Winnipeg may have softened over the weekend, but that hasn’t prevented another major buzz from building around the Blue Bombers’ most important position.

The performance by No. 1 Matt Nichols in Saturday’s 41-19 home victory to the B.C. Lions was enough to calm the cries in recent weeks from fans clamouring for rookie backup Chris Streveler to continue his run behind centre. That tune soon changed after Nichols, playing in his first regular-season game after missing the first three with an injured right knee, returned to his usual, consistent self against the Lions, evening the Bombers’ record to 2-2.

Though his stat line won’t be seen as your typical "big" night, especially for someone viewed among the league’s best at the position — he finished 16-for-29 passing for 162 yards and one touchdown — Nichols said he felt the offence was executing as well as any game he’s been in.

"For me, I think that was a big (game). People want to look at the 300-yard (passing) mark or whatever. We preach around here score one more point than the opponent," Nichols said following practice Wednesday. "You expect to go out and be more consistent week in and week out but at the same time you’re going to go through ups and downs and for us it’s just trying to win football games any way possible."

Against the Lions, the Bombers got contributions from all three phases, including a defence that recorded three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, and a special-teams unit that provided solid field position from the opening kickoff to the final whistle.

However, it was the offence that once again stole the spotlight — an effort that included scoring four touchdowns to maintain its spot as one of the league’s most prolific groups. The Bombers currently lead the CFL in points scored by an offence (averaging 32.5 points per game), offensive touchdowns — including league highs in both passing (eight) and rushing (seven) TDs — and are third in first downs (96).

But what had everyone talking after the game and well into this week as the Bombers returned for practice, was the ways in which Nichols and Streveler were utilized in their first game together. And, more importantly, how effective they were in their respective roles.

While Nichols was able to move the ball downfield with relative ease after a rusty start, Streveler provided an added punch to the offence with his role in short-yardage situations.

"You want to have one quarterback to start and when you have one you’re doing good things," Bombers offensive co-ordinator Paul LaPolice said. "Chris has shown he can do good things with the ball in his hands and he’s smart and he can handle things and we’re always trying to make sure we can run a few things that our players can execute. Having Chris there is a good option to touch the ball."

When Streveler was relegated to No. 2 on the depth chart with Nichols’ return, it wasn’t clear what his role would be. The popular theory was he’d remain involved, and the most likely route taken would be to mimic that of Dan LeFevour, now since retired, and how he was employed last season. Simply put, like LeFevour, Streveler is physical enough to break through the line of scrimmage and reliable enough to run the offence once he gets the first down.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods</p><p>Rookie Bombers quarterback Chris Streveler plaid a part in Winnipeg's win over B.C. Saturday, with five carries for 33 yards, including two short-yardage rushing touchdowns.</p>

THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Rookie Bombers quarterback Chris Streveler plaid a part in Winnipeg's win over B.C. Saturday, with five carries for 33 yards, including two short-yardage rushing touchdowns.

In fact, with a better arm and speed, he’s actually a much more effective weapon than LeFevour was.

"It allows us to get touches for guys who are good athletes and good football players, in different ways and in different situations," Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea said. "We did some of it last year, too, it’s just a different guy and a guy who started for us and got that experience in the first three games. I think that’s what’s different. It’s a guy who we feel can start and lead our team also that is now taking those reps. It’s a little bit different from last year."

Streveler wasted little time making an impression in his new role.

Facing second-and-short, the 23-year-old cut away from the middle of the pack and rushed 26 yards up the sideline. He totalled five carries for 33 yards, including two short-yardage rushing touchdowns. On another play, Streveler, facing another second-and-short, faked a pass and then found rookie receiver Daniel Petermann for a 24-yard gain and a new set of downs. He found the end zone two plays later.

Though the thought of Nichols’ job security being in danger was always far-fetched, Streveler was able to dazzle at times in relief of Nichols. Just the second quarterback to start straight out of college since CFL Hall of Famer Anthony Calvillo did the same in 1994 with the Las Vegas Posse, he became the only pivot to do so and throw three touchdowns in his first two games.

Streveler said being thrown into the fire right away and having success on the field was an experience invaluable to his professional career. But he also didn’t have any expectations with the return of Nichols, seemingly happy to help out in whatever way his team needs.

"Whether it’s game or practice reps, every single day is a development day for me," he said. "I’m learning new things every single day. Game reps are obviously valuable but these practice reps I get every day are also valuable. Any reps I’m able to get I’m learning and all that stuff is helpful."

He added: "The important thing is we ended up getting the win and that’s what’s important to me. If the coaches feel including me in the game plan is going to give us a chance to win, then I’m all for that."

Nichols, who will get the start on the road Saturday in a rematch against the Lions at BC Place, has been supportive of Streveler since his arrival in Winnipeg for training camp. The two have worked together closely all year, meeting at 5 a.m. most practice days, and he said the competition has only made Winnipeg a better team.

"We have a lot of good and talented players here and Chris is one of them. There are certain things that he can get in there and do for us to help us win football games and that’s awesome," Nichols said. "We preach about how it takes every man on the roster to win football games and we’re a team that proves that."

jeff.hamilton@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @jeffkhamilton

 

Jeff Hamilton

Jeff Hamilton
Multimedia producer

After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.