Sat Jul 16 04:49pm EDT
Things have gone from bad to worse on the quarterback injuries front for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The news after Thursday's loss to Calgary that starter Buck Pierce was day-to-day with a quad injury certainly wasn't positive, but it could have been much more disastrous. Saturday's news that backup and former Purdue star Joey Elliott is done for the year with a torn ACL may be even worse for the Bombers, though.
Pierce is still optimistic of playing next week against Toronto, so this may not change Winnipeg's starter. However, given Pierce's previous fragility (he's suffered plenty of injuries to his legs, elbows and head over the years), having a reliable backup is crucial for Winnipeg. With the Steven Jyles trade this offseason, the Bombers bet that Elliott (seen above being helped off the field Thursday) could handle that role despite his limited CFL experience. He certainly looked promising in relief of the injured Pierce and gutted the game out to the end (incredibly, despite playing on a torn ACL, he gave them a chance to win on the final drive, but kicker Justin Palardy couldn't convert a 44-yarder into a tough wind). It doesn't look like we'll see any more of him this season, though.
With Elliott and potentially Pierce gone, the next man up would be former Washington State quarterback Alex Brink. Brink does have a little CFL experience, as the Bombers curiously elected to throw him into the fire last year in place of the more-proven Jyles, but that experiment didn't work terribly well. Brink was ineffective in his starts and got hurt later that year. On the whole last year, he completed just 15 of 40 passes (37.5 per cent) with one interception and no touchdowns. Those numbers aren't exactly the most promising.
Winnipeg does have former Youngstown State quarterback Brandon Summers on the practice roster, and they do have other options, including training-camp cut Justin Goltz. Goltz played Division III football at California's Occidental College and had a brief stint in the UFL before signing a practice-roster deal with the Bombers late last year, so he knows the system a bit at least. Still, the Bombers' quarterback situation is anything but inspiring at the moment, especially considering that Pierce hasn't been terribly effective even when healthy. This is still a passing league, so despite Winnipeg's defensive excellence and solid running game, they're going to have to find a way to move the ball through the air. With Pierce limited thanks to injury concerns and Elliott gone for the year, there are questions about how they'll be able to do that.