Bombers to start Brink

Blue Bombers quarterback Alex Brink will start for Winnipeg on Monday. (QMI Agency/Brian Donogh)

Blue Bombers quarterback Alex Brink will start for Winnipeg on Monday. (QMI Agency/Brian Donogh)

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

WINNIPEG - The move may smack of desperation, but then, what do the Blue Bombers really have to lose?

Alex Brink, Winnipeg's third-string quarterback when the season began, will replace Steven Jyles as the starter when the B.C. Lions come to town on Thanksgiving Monday.

After dropping a 16-14 decision to the Lions in Vancouver last Saturday, the Bombers dropped to 3-10 and are dead-last overall in the CFL -- with any playoff hopes fading away fast.

"I want to win a football game so, part of that process is that we've lost eight out of nine games, and I can't be afraid to make change," Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice said Wednesday. "I'm sure the fans don't want me to stay status quo. I have to find ways to fix this and get a win."

Some believe LaPolice needs wins to make sure he still has a job beyond this year.

Jyles, who became the starter when Buck Pierce was felled by injury, was obviously stung by the switch. Jyles was asked if he was being made a scapegoat for the losing slide.

"Whenever this happens to any quarterback, that guy is a scapegoat -- regardless of what team it is," he responded, choosing his words carefully. "It's easy to blame the quarterback and it's easy to say, 'Hey, this guy can't win.'

"My confidence is still there and if I have to play, I'm ready to play. But if coach wants to see Alex Brink play, let him play."

Jyles actually has a quarterback efficiency rating of 100.6, second only to Montreal's Anthony Calvillo. But he only has a 2-6 record as Winnipeg's starter this season.

"Coach LaPo explained it to me and let me know, and I can't argue with it," Jyles said. "The record is where it stands but still, I don't truly feel it's my fault. But, if he wants to see Alex play, then let him play ...

"You always want to play, especially when you feel that you're producing and you're getting better by the week but ... I can't say anything about it. It's club business and Alex is getting the call, and I just wish him luck."

Jyles has completed 166 of 267 passes (62.2%) for 2,296 yards and 15 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He has also fumbled the ball seven times.

"We've lost eight out of nine games; we can't put that on any one person beside myself," LaPolice said. "(But) we've got to find ways to score more offensive points and be consistent protecting the football, and that's why we made the change ...

"We lost as a team but if I can make a change at the quarterback position to help, then that's what I have to do."

Brink, a 6-foot-3, 216- pound Washington State product, will make his first CFL start Monday. He has completed just two of seven passes for 14 yards in spot duty this season.

"It's a good feeling to be the guy and have the opportunity," said Brink, who also has 12 carries for 18 yards and one touchdown. "I've waited and prepared for it. I feel ready ... It's a must-win game and I want to be a part of it.

"There's a lot of ways to go but, as an offence, we need to make plays and we need to find a way to win ball games. Whatever that takes, whatever that magic is, I hope I can provide it and more importantly, I think our offence can come together to provide it ... I'm not nervous at all because I know I'm going to be ready."

Brink's inexperience may be a concern but LaPolice pointed out that Lions head coach/GM Wally Buono replaced quarterback Casey Printers -- a former CFL MVP -- with Travis Lulay. That move paid off as Lulay led the Leos to victory over Winnipeg.


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