It’s the question on everyone's mind that likely wll remain there for the entire season.
Can Buck Pierce take a hit without getting injured again?
The former B.C. Lions quarterback has been impressive throughout training camp but will wear the Blue Bombers uniform in live action for the first time when Winnipeg plays host to the Montreal Alouettes in an exhibition game at Canad Inns Stadium at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Pierce, who has had a history of concussions and suffered a shoulder injury last season, bristled at the suggestion he needs to prove he can still take a hit when he gets into the match.
“I don't have to prove that. I proved that last year, that I could take a hit. I’ve proven that my whole career,” Pierce said Saturday.
“I play with a lot of passion and I’m a very competitive guy, and if I get hit, I get hit. It’s still professional football. I’m not going to step back or pack up or anything."
You may recall the Bombers were initially reluctant to sign Pierce as a free agent due to those injury concerns.
“Buck Pierce is just like any other player on this football team,” said Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice. “He’s been a starter for a long time in this football league. He’s going to show up and play … We wouldn’t have brought him here if we had any concerns.”
‘Fits my style’
All four quarterbacks vying for the starting job are scheduled to play Sunday, but because of his experience, Pierce has the inside track over Steven Jyles, Adam DiMichele and Alex Brink.
“I’m very excited to be out here after working so hard for the last week,” Pierce said. “It’s exciting for me to play football again. Everybody’s been working so hard and it’s been such a long off-season up here, especially with me with the way things happened last year, and to get this opportunity is great.”
Brink will be the only one of the four to dress for his first CFL game.
“I’ve learned very quickly that this is a great game,” he said. “It fits my style really well. To have a chance to go play this great game, I’m excited.
“This is an incredible opportunity that a lot of us have, not just me. Being a first-year player up here, you want to go out and make a good first impression with the coaches, your teammates and the fans … Now it’s time to get locked in. It’s an opportunity for us to showcase ourselves.”
The QBs will not have to do much to impress LaPolice.
“Just make good decisions with the football, get us in the end zone and operate ball security,” he said.
Also hoping to impress are Bomber draft picks such as receiver Cory Watson and linebacker Chris Smith.
“I’m excited just to go out there and play against different coloured-jerseys,” Smith said. “It’s been a long week of smashing heads against fellow teammates, so it will be nice to go out there and play against a different team.
“I think this will be a good game for me to show what I’m capable of on special teams and that’s an important part of my game for this team, so it’s going to be big game for me.”
Watson echoed those sentiments.
“It’s a good opportunity for me to showcase my talent,” said the 6-foot-2, 208-pound Concordia product. “Of course, there’s a little bit of nerves but I’m really excited to show what I’ve got."
The Alouettes have left veteran QB Anthony Calvillo and a number of other veterans at home for this contest.
“I think they (Als) will be very much like we are,” LaPolice said. “I don’t want to say vanilla but we want to see them play man coverage. We want to see people run down and cover kicks. We want to see people execute and understand simple schemes.”