Bombers out to cover bases with Jackson

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:06 PM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are interested in Jarious Jackson because they’re trying to cover their bases.

Bombers GM Joe Mack said Monday the Bombers haven’t made an official offer to the free-agent quarterback, but the 33-year-old, who spent the last six seasons with the B.C. Lions, knows how much he would earn should he choose to play in Winnipeg.

Mack has also made it clear to Jackson that if he did come to the Manitoba capital, it would be only for a chance to back up Buck Pierce.

“I’ve talked to Jamie (Barresi) and Paul (LaPolice), and we’re all pretty much in agreement that at this point in time Buck would be coming to camp as the starter because he didn’t get demoted; he just got hurt,” Mack said.

“I just don’t know where, if and or it’s going to lead anywhere (with Jackson). And right now we foresee Buck being our starting quarterback, so we’re not going to give any extraordinary contract to anybody, because if anybody did come in under any circumstances it would be to compete as a backup.”

Contingency plan

The Bombers are concerned about the health of current backup Steven Jyles, who suffered a serious right shoulder injury in October and won’t be able to start throwing until late March or early April.

“Let’s say it was unfortunate that Steven was having a tough time coming back from rehab or wasn’t totally rehabbed,” Mack said. “Jarious would certainly be an interesting insurance policy, if you will.”

Pierce and third-stringer Alex Brink are also coming off injuries, but both are further along in their recoveries than Jyles.

“We have three injured quarterbacks,” Mack said, “and we want to make sure that we do all due diligence to make sure we have some contingency plans if one or two of our quarterbacks can’t come back.”

And given Pierce’s inability to stay healthy, Winnipeg just might be the best choice for Jackson.

The Bombers currently have seven quarterbacks under contract, the others being Joey Elliott, Zac Champion, Frank Wilczynski and Justin Goltz. While those are plenty of gunslingers from which to choose, Mack noted their CFL experience is limited or nonexistent.

“We’re totally not discounting those guys,” Mack said, adding he’ll have to make some roster moves when it comes to their quarterbacks. “It’s a comfort level for the coaches if somebody has played before.”

Jackson’s agent, Dan Vertlieb, refused comment on Monday when reached by the Sun, but it’s been reported that the Toronto Argonauts and possibly a third team are pursuing the former Notre Dame passer. There is also a chance Jackson could return to the Lions.

“My gut feeling is that if he was told he was going to come in to maybe try to earn a backup role that he’d just stay in B.C., but I don’t know that for a fact,” Mack said. “That would be my reading.”

The GM was asked if the Bombers would still want Jyles if his shoulder is given a clean bill of health.

“Sure,” Mack said. “We just don’t know how that’s going to unfold. That’s a substantial unknown at this point.”


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