WINNIPEG - Paul LaPolice isn’t about to get sucked into a quarterback controversy and Joey Elliott isn’t about to let the success go to his head.
Those were two of the developments that got some attention as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers returned to the field on Monday after taking the weekend off.
At the end of his media scrum, LaPolice tiptoed nicely around a query that pondered whether Buck Pierce would immediately return to starting duties at quarterback once he returned to full health.
“We’ll cross all those bridges when we get to them,” said LaPolice.
Pierce was on the field Monday, but wasn’t a participant and LaPolice noted that he wasn’t likely be more than an observer until next week, reiterating his position the team isn’t about to rush him back before he’s ready.
Meanwhile, Elliott didn’t use the weekend to get swept away by the euphoria surrounding his 406-yard passing performance in a 32-25 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
“(As a quarterback) your name is always in the paper somewhere, whether it's good or bad,” said Elliott. “You're just used to it.”
Elliott actually sees room for improvement.
“I played all right. I would grade it as a B,” said Elliott, when asked to evaluate his own performance. “We missed some plays and left a lot of yards out on the field. Hopefully, we’ll be ready to go this week.”
Elliott spent the weekend out of town but was quick to point out he appreciated all of the support.
“It’s really exciting, whenever the fans are behind you and your team is behind you,” said Elliott.
LaPolice isn’t worried about Elliott getting a swollen head from all of the praise either.
“The biggest thing for a quarterback is to play consistent football, that’s what good one’s do,” said LaPolice. “He understands the most important feedback is from this building. No offence, but (the fans and media) are very fickle. We coach (Elliott) up on what he needs to do better and we try to stay as even-keeled, with a win or a loss, as possible.”
STEWART PSYCHED: Linebacker Brandon Stewart said he was good-to-go after missing the past five games with a sprained knee.
“It’s been tough to watch my teammates. I want to be out here helping them,” said Stewart. “I’m an enthusiastic player. I don’t know if they feed off of it, but I’m going to do it. That’s just a part of my game.”
Stewart suffered the injury when Montreal Alouettes receiver S.J. Green accidentally rolled onto his knee during a running play, an act he apologized for when the Als visited Canad Inns Stadium on Aug. 3.
Stewart’s return pushes Jonathan Hefney back to defensive halfback, a change he welcomes — despite playing his best game of the season at linebacker last week.
“I’ve been eager to get back (to playing halfback) all year,” said Hefney. “I’ve got Geroy (Simon) on hand and whoever else comes over there. It’s a whole different mentality for me. A new week and we need another win.
Running back Chad Simpson (foot) skipped the workout, but is expected to play this week.
Defensive tackle JT Gilmore (calf) and running back Nathan Riva (hamstring) remain sidelined.