Matt Nichols set for first start of the season against the Edmonton Eskimos
WINNIPEG — After getting handed the reins of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers offence at the start of the week, Matt Nichols is ready for his first start of the season.
“He’s always prepared. He’s always prepared.” said head coach Mike O’Shea.
Nichols, 29, started 14 games in the 2015 season. He started seven games with the Eskimos before getting traded to the Bombers where he started seven more. He went 5-2 as starter with the Eskies but won just two out of seven games as starter for the Bombers. But he understands this is a big opportunity to re-establish himself as a starting quarterback.
“To be out on that field, especially in a nine team league, it’s difficult to kinda find yourself out on that field as a quarterback.” said Nichols. “I’m thankful for it and I’m working extremely hard each and every day to make sure I’m as prepared as possible and I’m looking forward to it.”
“Matt is a veteran player, played games in this league,” said offensive coordinator Paul LaPolice. “He makes great decisions with the football, gets the ball out of his hands and certainly is somebody who the players and we have faith in. We’re expecting him to play well.”
Nichols first start of the season will also be against his ex-team. The Eskimos defense feasted on quarterback Drew Willy in their previous meeting back in week four, as they held the Bombers offence to just 16 points and intercepted Willy twice.
“They’re always difficult decisions,” LaPolice said. “We felt that we needed to go ahead give a Matt an opportunity to lead us.”
If anyone knows what Willy is going through after getting benched, it’s quarterbacks coach Buck Pierce. Pierce was also removed as the Bombers starting QB back in 2013.
“I’ve been in Drew’s shoes,” said Pierce. “It’s a tough situation obviously. I think the hardest thing when you’re in that position is not being able to go and out and compete with your teammates. But the thing I’ll say, he’s been extremely supportive. He’s been a pro. Obviously he wants to be out there playing with his guys but he understands right now of where we’re at, and what we need to get done.”
WATCH: Mike O’Shea Media Briefing – Tuesday
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