A week before the deal was announced, Jyles said he spoke with both head coach Paul LaPolice and Jamie Barresi, Winnipeg’s offensive co-ordinator, each re-assuring the quarterback that the ’Peg and the mobile quarterback would make a match.
“I kind of saw it (trade) coming when they decided not to extend me,’’ Jyles began. “When I talked with LaPolice and Barresi, they said no you’re coming here (Winnipeg). You’re going to be here. I had a mind-set that I was going to be back in Winnipeg.
“A week later, I get the phone call that I was traded to Toronto. It was a bit of a surprise, but then again it wasn’t. When they don’t extend you, there’s a reason they didn’t extend and you should have known a trade was possible.”
It’s the nature of the beast when teams start losing and casualties begin to mount.
Jyles took over for an injured Buck Pierce, but the Bombers never did find ways to win close games.
The cruel business of sport was behind Jyles’ move, which is why he harbours no ill will for any individual associated with the Bombers.
“It’s why I don’t have any hostilities toward those guys,’’ he added. “I don’t hate any of those guys. It’s part of the game. The truth of the matter is we lost a lot of close ball games and it’s easier to blame the quarterback or say the quarterback is the reason. It’s nothing against those guys. I have to do a better job of not putting myself in the same situation here (Toronto).”
When he looks at his peers around the league, Jyles sees a group of quarterbacks who have established themselves and put themselves in a position to land contracts that allow for long-term stability, until some calamity arises.
“I have to win, that’s the bottom line,’’ Jyles conceded. “It’s that way with every quarterback in this league. You have to win. And if you win, everything goes smoothly.”
To date, the Jyles-led Argos are 0-2 and 2-9 overall, their season perilously close to being over before it’s officially over.
Three fourth-quarter turnovers last week in Regina doomed the Argos, who deserved a better fate but lost when yet another winnable game featured too many plays that weren’t able to be made.
With no training camp to lean on, Jyles has been forced to learn on the fly, whether it’s understanding how a receiver makes his break or getting his rhythm with the offensive line, which on Saturday will feature a right guard in Joe Eppele making his second career start and left tackle Edawn Coughman making his third start.
“I’m fired up for this game in putting it to the test,” Jyles said of his offence.
Head coach Jim Barker hopes Jyles’ mobility will help in attacking Winnipeg’s defence.
Barker did speak with Jyles about trying not to do too much against his former team.
“He’s been around enough and has watched enough guys come and go and he’s gone through that trying to do too much,’’ Barker said. “He’s extremely competitive and I don’t worry about him. I know he’s excited about playing the Bombers. You never know what happens when it gets into the game. I know this is a game he’s very excited about.”
And he should be, but not because it’s against a team that basically gave up on Jyles.
Jyles has to embrace the moment because it represents another opportunity to prove that he is the Argos’ long-term answer at quarterback.
If he takes care of business, it’s likely the Argos will take care of their business by signing Jyles to a long-term deal.
“He’s ready to take this team to where we’re trying to get,’’ Barker said.
The imperfect Argos find themselves in the perfect backdrop.
At least that’s what head coach Jim Barker wants you to believe.
When they gathered Friday for their final preparations for the visiting Blue Bombers, Barker had five players from the 1991 Grey Cup champion team speak to his unit.
On Saturday night, close to 30 members from that memorable Argos team will be honoured as the club celebrates the 20th anniversary of a season that is very unlikely to be ever seen.
It was a time of Rocket Ismail and the late John Candy, as entertaining a brand of football the likes of which the CFL will never see, a run that began with the 1990 team, and crowds the Argos can now only dream of attracting.
“It’s a perfect scenario for us to have the ’91 team,’’ Barker said. “They’re a great example of what you strive to be.”
Rodney Harding, Mike Campbell, Hank Ilesic, Carl Brazley and Matt Dunigan were each allowed to speak with Barker’s group.
“I think you’re going to see a motivated football team,’’ Barker said.
The whole tenor of the 1991 season was set on the eve of the season opener against B.C. when the Argos took over the Horseshoe Tavern on Queen St. West and staged a party for the ages.
Glitz and glamour had been introduced to three-down football as Hollywood met Hogtown, culminating with Rocket’s kickoff return for a touchdown in Winnipeg that would seal the Argos’ Grey Cup win over Calgary.