Jyles one and done?

Jyles, throwing past Javier Glatt Saturday, showed there’s room for improvement but gave the team a...

Jyles, throwing past Javier Glatt Saturday, showed there’s room for improvement but gave the team a chance to win, LaPolice said. (FRED GREENSLADE/Reuters)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:05 PM ET

Exactly one year ago Monday, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers signed CFL vagabond quarterback Michael Bishop to take over for the struggling and banged up Stefan LeFors.

Six days later, Bishop started.

Twenty interceptions later, the season was over.

Today, the Blue and Gold appear to have the luxury of a legitimate 1-2 punch at pivot for the first time in six years (remember Khari and Kevin?) after backup Steven Jyles guided the Bombers to a 47-21 thumping of the Edmonton Eskimos on Saturday night.

Starter Buck Pierce missed the contest with a sprained right knee, and his status for Saturday’s game in Calgary is still up in the air.

Head coach Paul LaPolice doesn’t yet know who will start against the Stampeders (3-1), but he might not have to lose too much sleep over his decision.

“We’ll keep evaluating as we go along and see how Buck is this week. And if he’s ready to go he’ll play,” LaPolice said Sunday. “And if not, we’ll continue to play with Steven.

“We’re pleased with how Steven played. There’s a lot of room for improvement, but he put us in position to win.”

LaPolice hinted his quarterback decision might not take place until later in the week.

Pierce has a reputation of playing through the pain of his numerous injuries and has told anyone who will listen that he’ll play against the Stampeders.

The team, however, is going to ensure he’s completely healthy before he gets back on the field.

“It’s not his call, obviously, because he would have played last week,” LaPolice said with a chuckle. “We’ll just keep evaluating him from day to day and see how he is. He’s in good hands with our doctors and trainers, and we’ll make sure he’s ready to play.”

Jyles, in just his second career start, was good on 14 of 22 attempts for 267 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions against the Eskimos. He also ran eight times for 63 yards and scored on one- and two-yard runs.

More importantly, the 27-year-old provided plenty of confidence in his teammates. Centre Obby Khan was impressed with how the Louisiana native acted in the huddle.

“Awesome. He was great,” Khan said. “Normally when you get a quarterback in there who hasn’t played many live games they mess up formations or calls. They’ll call a formation that doesn’t exist, or they’ll mess up a certain call or protection. Not once (Saturday), so that was good to see.

“And he was very confident. After he threw those picks, he went back in there and regrouped. That’s the big thing you want to see when that happens, if a quarterback can turn it around. And he did.”

Khan said the players always have to believe in the man behind centre running the offensive show, but he admitted that the team’s current quarterback situation is something the team hasn’t enjoyed in a while.

“It’s nice to have a 1-2, no doubt about it,” he said. “It’s a good feeling.”

Jyles was grinning from ear to ear after the victory. He wasn’t happy about the interceptions, but he was ecstatic about the win.

“This is my fifth year, and I’ve watched a lot of great guys before me. Watching them guys and learning from their mistakes, it helped me a lot,” Jyles said. “I didn’t have any pressure about starting. I knew I could play football.”

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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