Big stakes for Bombers' Brink

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' quarterback Alex Brink throws a pass against the Edmonton Eskimos during...

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' quarterback Alex Brink throws a pass against the Edmonton Eskimos during their CFL football game in Edmonton July 13, 2012. (Reuters/DAN RIEDLHUBER)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:18 PM ET

WINNIPEG - As far as opportunities go, they don't get any bigger for Alex Brink than Wednesday night's game in Toronto.

If there were ever a chance to solidify himself as a starting quarterback at the pro level, which is something he's been unable to do with the NFL's Houston Texans and through two seasons with the Bombers, it starts this week.

No pressure, Mr. Brink, but rattle off a couple of wins and you just might be here to stay.

The Bombers are 0-3, and No. 1 gun Buck Pierce won't play on Wednesday at Rogers Centre because of a left foot injury, the severity of which should be known on Monday. Can you see head coach Paul LaPolice handing the reins back to Pierce if Brink wins a couple in a row? Didn't think so.

You can lose your job to injury under LaPolice's watch. Just ask former Bomber defensive tackle Dorian Smith.

"There's so many factors that go into that, but certainly that's not a steadfast rule," LaPolice said of keeping your job no matter what. "I don't think that's a good rule to live by."

The argument to replace Pierce because he gets hurt too much is starting to gather steam. Not only have a good percentage of the fans been screaming for it this season, but two members of the TSN panel, former Bomber legend Milt Stegall and LaPolice's buddy, Chris Schultz, said Friday it's time to demote Pierce because it's hurting the team. Brink has had to replace Pierce twice in three games this season, but he never gets first-team reps. He doesn't have a chance.

"The quarterback position's one you better really do good research on and know," LaPolice said. "We're hoping Buck gets healthy as soon as possible and we'll see how he is and get him back."

If LaPolice needs some research numbers, here they are: Pierce has left nine of 24 starts due to injury with the Bombers. He has missed another 15 games due to those injuries. The guy has no luck. In addition, the Bombers are 4-9 in games he has started since the middle of last season, and he's thrown five touchdowns and 14 interceptions in that span.

LaPolice said Pierce still gives the Bombers the best chance to win, but he noted "the other guys, if they get opportunities to play, then they get opportunities to teach you otherwise."

Here is Brink's chance, but if he goes out and dazzles it will basically be the first time he's done so in a Bomber uniform. He's made three starts but is 1-6 as the quarterback of record, which includes contests where he replaced the starter and was the quarterback who affected the outcome the most.

He has thrown seven touchdowns against seven interceptions, he has completed 56.6% of his passes, and his quarterback rating is a pedestrian 72.4. It's time for the Oregon native to start winning.

"I feel very prepared and comfortable with where I'm at in my play," Brink said after the team's light workout on Sunday afternoon. "It's my third year in the league. I know what to expect. Even on a short week it doesn't affect my preparation at all."

If Brink can't do it, see of Joey Elliott can. And if Elliott can't, see if Justin Goltz can. As long as Pierce is on the sideline, it's a prime opportunity for the Bombers to find their quarterback of the future. And if that quarterback is good enough, then the future should be now.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/PentonKirk

NOTABLE BRINK APPEARANCES

Oct. 11, 2010 -- Made first pro start against B.C. because Steven Jyles was struggling. He completed four of 18 attempts and was yanked midway through the third quarter.

July 28, 2011 -- Replaced an injured Buck Pierce early in the fourth quarter and rallies the Bombers to a 25-20 victory against the B.C. Lions, hitting Terrence Edwards with a 22-yard touchdown toss.

Sept. 30, 2011 -- Made his second career start, completing 25 of 40 attempts for 326 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, but loses 32-26 to Montreal.

Nov. 5, 2011 -- Started the regular-season finale in Calgary and was good on 22 of 33 passes for 202 yards and a TD, but still lost 30-24.

June 29, 2012 -- Took over for an injured Pierce late in the second quarter and threw two touchdowns in a game for the first time. It wasn't enough, though, as the Bombers fell 33-16.


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