Brink vs. Elliott: Who's better for Bombers?

Bombers QB Alex Brink's woeful performance Wednesday in Toronto has many Winnipeg fans calling for...

Bombers QB Alex Brink's woeful performance Wednesday in Toronto has many Winnipeg fans calling for Joey Elliott to start next Thursday's home opener. (Mark Blinch/REUTERS)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

WINNIPEG - So the Bomber faithful is screaming for Joey Elliott.

OK. Who are you going to demand play quarterback if he struggles? Justin Goltz? Michael Bishop? Theo Deezar?

No offence to Mr. Deezar, but the St. Paul’s Crusaders star has to first throw a pass at the university level before we even consider him for the starting job on Maroons Road.

Nothing gets Bomber boosters frothing at the mouth more than a quarterback controversy, and that is where we’re at once again after Wednesday’s 25-22 loss to the Toronto Argonauts that dropped their record to 0-4.

Alex Brink, playing in place of the injured Buck Pierce, completed just nine of 34 attempts for 185 yards and two interceptions against the Argos. It was not pretty, although he had numerous factors working against him.

LaPolice said after Wednesday’s game that Brink “is going to be the starter” but backtracked on Thursday, saying he needs to look at the film first. If it’s been said once, it’s been said a million times: The backup quarterback in Winnipeg is the most popular dude in town. Stats be damned.

Elliott has a worse career completion percentage than Brink, and he’s never even won a game at the pro level, going 0-3 so far as Winnipeg’s quarterback of record. He’s thrown three career touchdown passes and four interceptions. Brink has tossed seven and nine, respectively. Brink’s quarterback rating is 65.9, while Elliott’s is 66.1.

Those championing Elliott’s cause are thinking of his fourth-quarter performance in Edmonton one week ago. He threw a pass to Chris Matthews that the talented young receiver turned into a 75-yard touchdown. Elliott tried again later with Matthews, but he was picked off. He looked somewhat like Joe Montana in the fourth quarter of a blowout game in which both of Edmonton’s defensive ends were tossed for fighting. Stefan LeFors would have looked good, for crying out loud.

This isn’t to crap on Elliott. He has just as good a chance as Brink to become this team’s next starting quarterback. He has the QB swagger, he has a strong arm, and the players will follow him into battle. He provides more of a spark than Brink, there is no doubt, but he has not proven himself to be better. But because he wasn’t the one throwing 25 incompletions on Wednesday night, he’s the next coming of Doug Flutie to some.

It’s time for everyone to take a breath. You think great quarterbacks were throwing four touchdowns in a game in their fourth career start? No. Brink lost his most experienced receiver (Terrence Edwards) early in the game and then lost his top-producing pass catcher (Matthews) for about a quarter.

Meanwhile, veteran Argos defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones was having his way with CFL newbie Gary Crowton, Winnipeg’s offensive co-ordinator, who was also dealing with an extremely inexperienced receiving corps because of the injuries.

Yes, Brink missed several easy tosses, but let’s not banish him to quarterback purgatory after a week in which he had one practice to prepare.

He deserves another chance, but it sounds like LaPolice will be pressured to go with Elliott. Several players in the Bomber locker-room were not happy that Elliott didn’t replace Brink in the second half on Wednesday, and LaPolice can calm the masses — inside and outside of the organization — by starting Elliott.

And it’s not like he can’t go back to Brink if Elliott starts and struggles. Even though the Bombers are 0-4 and badly in need of a win, it’s an experimental period whether everyone likes it or not. The most important objective while Pierce is on the shelf is to determine who the next No. 1 will be.

“Neither guy is Anthony Calvillo, if that makes sense, or even a Henry Burris,” LaPolice said. “So they haven’t proven enough to say, ‘Well, I gotta get six games in a row for me to really (get going),’ because right now we need to move the ball. But both guys have done that at times, so it puts you in a position where you can go, well, try this one, and if that’s how we have to roll to figure it out that’s maybe how we have to roll.

“We struggled, but it’s not all on Alex. I think everybody, when they see a game, they go, ‘Ah, get the quarterback out of there. That idiot.’ He’s done some good things for us, but also Joey has, too. So in fairness to the team I have to protect feelings, but I also have to do what’s best to get a win.”

So everyone needs to calm down and let LaPolice figure that out.

———Tale of the Tape————

Alex Brink
School: Washington St.
Hometown: Eugene, Ore.
Ht: 6-foot-3
Wt: 220 lbs
Age: 27
GP: 18
Starts: 4
Record: 1-7
Completions: 138
Attempts: 262
Completion %:  52.7
Yards: 715
Touchdowns: 7
Interceptions: 9
Rating: 65.9
Carries: 76
Rush yards: 267
Average: 3.5
TDs: 9
Bomber highlight:
Came on in relief of an injured Buck Pierce and threw the eventual game-winning touchdown to Terrence Edwards as the Bombers beat the Lions
25-20 last July.

——

Joey Elliott
School: Purdue
Hometown: Franklin, Ind.
Ht: 6-foot-3
Wt: 209 lbs
Age: 25
GP: 5
Starts: 2
Record: 0-3
Completions: 56
Attempts: 109
Completion %: 51.4
Yards: 715
Touchdowns: 3
Interceptions: 4
Rating: 66.1
Carries: 11
Rush yards: 74
Average: 6.7
TDs: 0
Bomber highlight:
Last Friday’s relief appearance in Edmonton, where he completed 11 of 18 attempts for 193 yards, one touchdown and one interception in his first action since tearing his
ACL last July.

 

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