Brink, Garrett most important for Bombers

Blue Bombers quarterback Alex Brink (back) hands off to running back Chris Garrett during practice...

Blue Bombers quarterback Alex Brink (back) hands off to running back Chris Garrett during practice in Winnipeg, Man., October 3, 2011. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI Agency)

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:54 PM ET

WINNIPEG - Logic would suggest the four members of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers attracting all the attention Wednesday are the key to this team’s chances going into crunch time.

Regular readers will know logic rarely rules the day in this space.

So as Jovon Johnson, Cory Watson, Brendon LaBatte and Clarence Denmark — the four Bombers nominated for the six CFL player awards — took their turns in front of the cameras and microphones, I couldn’t help but look off to the side, at two men who on this day weren’t getting any attention at all.

Two men who might just be the MIPs — most important players — in this weekend’s regular-season finale, and beyond.

I’m talking about quarterback Alex Brink and running back Chris Garrett, thrust into starring roles at the most critical time.

For if Brink and/or Garrett aren’t stars in Calgary, Saturday, the Bombers could very well be planting their lips on first place and sending her off to Montreal for another year.

The same goes for the playoffs, beginning a week, maybe two, after that.

With Buck Pierce nursing his injury-du-jour, Brink is the maitre d’ in charge of the Big Blue offence until further notice.

And Garrett has been the meal ticket of the Winnipeg ground game since Fred Reid went down.

Want to see this team in the Grey Cup? No’s 7 and 19 could be your lucky numbers.

“To be honest with you, I think it’ll be a big role,” Garrett said of the load he expects to carry. “If my number is called, I’ll execute to the best of my ability. If not, I’ll be the best decoy.”

Recent history suggests using Garrett as a decoy is a lousy idea (see the goal-line play calling by head coach Paul LaPolice against the Argos).

The guy’s been a horse, averaging nearly seven yards a carry. Coach LaPo would do well to ride those fresh, 24-year-old legs until they fold.

Brink’s arm would benefit, too.

With his lack of time in the huddle, I’m not sure what we can expect of the No. 2 pivot in a game with first-place on the line, not to mention playoff survival.

The 26-year-old will be on quite the mental roller coaster over the next couple of weeks: he could be holding a clipboard again, or be the guy, when the playoffs start.

“It’s week to week for me — the same as it’s always been,” Brink said. “You learn to handle those situations. It’s my fourth year of professional football. You learn the best way for yourself to prepare and how to get your mindset in the right place.”

Brink and Garrett are taking vastly different approaches to a potential starring playoff role.

The tailback takes the ball and runs with it, even allowing himself to dream the ultimate dream of going from couch potato to Grey Cup hero in two short months.

“I envision me scoring the game-winning touchdown,” Garrett said. “MVP honours, you know.”

The quarterback, with his week-to-week existence as Pierce’s understudy, doesn’t want to throw that pass, just yet. Too many things can happen. Have happened.

“Absolutely not,” Brink said. “That’s a playoff mindset — one game at a time, one practice at a time. That’s it. My position has got to be we’re focused on where we’re at right now.”

Two men, two approaches — but with the same opportunity.

A chance to be in the limelight during the CFL’s brightest time of the year.

“We’re both ready,” Brink said. “We’re both prepared. And we’ve waited for those opportunities for a long time.”

For a lifetime.

Or maybe just a week.


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