Strev’s job to lose

Start­ing quar­ter­back job with Bombers is still Strev­eler’s, even with Col­laros com­ing to town

Edmonton Sun - - SPORTS - TED WYMAN [email protected] @Ted_wyman

WIN­NIPEG —Just be­cause the Win­nipeg Blue Bombers fi­nally made a move to ac­quire a vet­eran quar­ter­back, it doesn’t mean fans should ex­pect to see any­one new un­der cen­tre any time soon.

Yes, Zach Col­laros is bring­ing his seven years of CFL ex­pe­ri­ence to the Bombers for the stretch run, thanks to a trade with the Toronto Ar­gos.

Yes, Col­laros will pro­vide in­sur­ance in case of in­juries or com­plete in­ef­fec­tive­ness af­fect­ing the cur­rent No. 1 quar­ter­back.

But right now, Chris Strev­eler is still the starter for the Bombers and it’s his job to lose.

“He’s the guy the guy who’s gonna get it go­ing for us,” Bombers coach Mike O’shea said Thurs­day af­ter the team held a closed prac­tice at snowy, blowy IG Field.

“When I talked to Strev yes­ter­day, af­ter the trade went down, he said it doesn’t change any­thing in his prep or how he thinks. He’s pre­par­ing to play the whole game and lead a team. It doesn’t change any­thing.”

Strev­eler, who is 2-4 as the Bombers starter since Matt Ni­chols went down with a sea­son-end­ing shoul­der in­jury on Aug. 15, will be at the con­trols again Satur­day when the Mon­treal Alou­ettes pay a visit to IG Field.

He’ll be look­ing to bounce back from a shaky per­for­mance in a 21-6 loss to the Saskatchew­an Roughrid­ers last week and will per­haps be fac­ing a lit­tle added pres­sure to per­form, with Col­laros an op­tion to step in late in the reg­u­lar sea­son or in the playoffs.

“I don’t think it will be any stress on Strev just be­cause of the way Strev came into this league,” Bombers de­fen­sive end Wil­lie Jef­fer­son said.

“He’s al­ways been a backup guy, the guy you call upon when you need him. He just took the role of be­ing THE quar­ter­back.

“With Zach com­ing in, it does give the team a lit­tle bit of poise, in that we have a vet­eran quar­ter­back who knows how to play in the post-sea­son. But we’re not lean­ing on him. We’re lean­ing on Strev be­cause we’ve been with Strev.”

For weeks, O’shea has been say­ing the Bombers were not look­ing to ac­quire a vet­eran quar­ter­back, but gen­eral man­ager Kyle Wal­ters fi­nally swung the deal in the fi­nal minute be­fore the trade dead­line Wed­nes­day.

O’shea said just last week that even a vet­eran quar­ter­back would be un­able to come in and learn the of­fence this late in the sea­son and have any real im­pact.

He seemed to have changed his tune about the value of vet­eran depth come Thurs­day morn­ing.

“I think it’s a good move,” O’shea said.

“It didn’t hap­pen un­til the 11th hour, but now we’ve got a sea­soned vet­eran who comes in and will have a role. It will def­i­nitely be a good guy to have around.

“Know­ing Zach, he’s a smart guy, he’s a com­pet­i­tive guy and he’s gonna pick things up very quickly. I’m sure the con­cepts are very fa­mil­iar to him. The ter­mi­nol­ogy will prob­a­bly be dif­fer­ent but that’s the rea­son why we talked about a vet­eran guy, be­cause it comes that much quicker. Un­der­stand­ing CFL de­fences is some­thing these guys do, no mat­ter what the play call is. That’s im­por­tant.”

Strev­eler was not made avail­able to the media on Thurs­day but his team­mates were quick to voice their be­lief in him.

He has thrown for 1,256 yards and six touch­downs, with a whop­ping 10 in­ter­cep­tions, this sea­son. The pass­ing num­bers aren’t good, but he’s a dy­namic run­ner and the Bombers still be­lieve he can win games for them, even now when ev­ery game has sig­nif­i­cant play­off im­pli­ca­tions.

“Hav­ing an ex­tra guy, if some­thing hap­pens with Strev­eler, there’s some­thing to be said for that,” Bombers mid­dle line­backer Adam Bighill said.

“Our of­fence is in­cred­i­bly de­tailed and the play­book is in­cred­i­bly large. The ter­mi­nol­ogy is all gonna be brand new. It’s just a lot to learn. It’s one of the harder po­si­tions to just come in and plug and play. That’s the re­al­is­tic point of view for that sit­u­a­tion.

“The fact is, you know Zach’s a smart guy. He’ll be able to come in here and learn at a fast pace. It can’t hurt.”

Col­laros won’t even prac­tice with the Bombers un­til at least next week.

The Bombers will have only two reg­u­lar-sea­son games left at that point — at Cal­gary on Oct. 19 and at home against the Stamps on Oct. 25. Where they’ll play in the playoffs, and who the op­po­nent will be, is still well up in the air.

“He’s a great player that has a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence in this league and some­one that could po­ten­tially help us down the road,” run­ning back An­drew Har­ris said, of Col­laros, be­fore throw­ing some credit to Wal­ters for mak­ing the move.

“Draft picks are very valu­able and they’re will­ing to put that out there so that we can get a lit­tle more vet­eran ex­pe­ri­ence in the locker room. It’s def­i­nitely a good sign that they care and they’re will­ing to do what­ever it takes to get us as far as pos­si­ble into the playoffs.”

Kevin King/ Win­nipeg Sun

Quar­ter­back Chris Strev­eler has been given the vote of con­fi­dence by the Bombers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.