Roughrid­ers quiet about QB

The Prince George Citizen - - Sports -

REGINA — The Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers’ quar­ter­back sit­u­a­tion seems to be up in the air as the CFL West Divi­sion semi­fi­nal quickly ap­proaches, but Chris Jones doesn’t see what all the fuss is about.

The Roughrid­ers head coach re­fused to tip his hand on whether Bran­don Bridge or Zach Col­laros will be un­der cen­tre when the Roughrid­ers host the Win­nipeg Blue Bombers on Sun­day.

Bridge took the ma­jor­ity of first­team snaps in prac­tice on Fri­day, but Col­laros has de­clared him­self ready to re­turn to ac­tion af­ter suf­fer­ing an in­jury in Saskatchewan’s reg­u­lar-sea­son fi­nale.

“We’ve got both guys pre­par­ing to play,” Jones told re­porters af­ter prac­tice.

When pressed for more in­for­ma­tion, Jones replied: “You guys place way too much em­pha­sis on that. We’re go­ing to pre­pare both guys like they’re go­ing to play, and we’ll see who plays.”

Col­laros left Saskatchewan’s Oct. 27 game against the B.C. Li­ons fol­low­ing a late first-quar­ter hit from Odell Wil­lis. Col­laros stayed in the game for the rest of the drive, but was pulled af­ter­wards.

The oft-in­jured quar­ter­back ap­peared in 14 games this sea­son, his most since 2013 with Toronto. He threw for 2,999 yards with nine touch­downs, but was turnover-prone with 13 in­ter­cep­tions.

Bridge passed for 804 yards, one touch­down and three in­ter­cep­tions back­ing up Col­laros.

De­spite the pedes­trian num­bers from their quar­ter­backs, the Roughrid­ers were an im­pres­sive 12-6 this sea­son and chal­lenged the Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers for the CFL West divi­sion ti­tle down to the wire.

If Jones isn’t putting much em­pha­sis on who he starts against Win­nipeg, he is cer­tainly di­aled into how much dam­age Win­nipeg linebacker Adam Bighill can do to ei­ther quar­ter­back.

Bighill, the west­ern nom­i­nee for the CFL’s out­stand­ing de­fen­sive player award, was a huge part of Win­nipeg’s 10-8 sea­son. He had 105 de­fen­sive tack­les, four sacks, two in­ter­cep­tions and was tied for the league lead with four forced fum­bles.

“He’s a big thorn in ev­ery­one’s side. He’s one of the best foot­ball play­ers in the league,” Jones said.

“You’ve got to block him. He’s a guy that can play in the mid­dle of the de­fence and make plays side­line to side­line. Richie (Win­nipeg de­fen­sive co-or­di­na­tor Richie Hall) has done a good job this year of try­ing to match him on backs, and get him in matchups where he can’t use his blitz­ing abil­ity.”

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