Jyles is the man now

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

It must have been music to his ears despite the circumstances.

"Steven's The Man," Winnipeg head coach Paul LaPolice declared Wednesday. "This is his opportunity."

That would be Steven Jyles, the former Saskatchewan Roughrider

who signed with the Blue Bombers before they decided to take a flyer on Buck Pierce, the injuryplagued pivot who will be out for an extended period with a dislocated elbow.

"I feel good," Jyles said. "I have a chance to go out and do what I do ... Now, it's on my shoulders and I have to go out and lead the guys and be the kind of quarterback they need."

Jyles, who started four previous games when Pierce was out with a prior injury, knows he will be treated as a true starter.

"Now, I'm just the guy who's starting and know I won't get pulled out too quickly," he said. "It's a good feeling to just go out and play football and not have to worry about competing with another guy who's a pretty good quarterback, and I'm the guy who takes the ball."

But there will also be added pressure on Jyles.

"I don't know if it's a different mindset but there's certainly more responsibility," LaPolice said. "He prepares like a starter each week and he was great in that past game ... (But) it's different now. He has to make all the throws and the reads and the checks.

"Steven's performed well for us in games but, to be truly successful, you have to win games ... It's a team game but obviously, the quarterback has a lot of say in how we win football games and that will be his task now."

Jyles, who turns 28 this month, has completed 93 of 148 passes (62.8%) for 1,322 yards and eight touchdowns, with just two picks, this year. He currently sits second in CFL quarterback efficiency rating with 104.1.

"Luckily we have Jyles, who's already been in and played a lot this year," said veteran slotback Terrence Edwards. "We're going to go out and try to win these for Buck. He's been our leader... But we're going to continue to try to get better and try to win games with Jyles.

"We're going to rally around Jyles and get some of these wins for Buck."

Pierce will also stick around to help Jyles.

"He'll do a great job," Pierce said. "I think the game started to slow down for him over the last few weeks. Getting more reps in practice will help him ... The more snaps he gets, the more game reps he gets under there, he will be fine."

Jyles will be an eager learner.

"We have all the confidence in the world in Steven Jyles," said centre Obby Khan. "His confidence grows every day. Even when he was backing up last weekend, his confidence was still there. He came in the game and was ready to go. Buck was our leader, but Jyles is another one."

Alex Brink moves up to No. 2 quarterback with Joey Elliott, No. 3. But this is Jyles' show now.

"A lot of guys backed up for years and they finally got their shots to play and I look at this as my shot to play, and I'm going to have to come out and be productive," he said. "That's my biggest thing -- to be productive and if I play football like I feel we can play, we should win the ball game."


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