With the top spot in the West Division already locked up, and two meaningless games still remaining in the regular season, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are going to play it safe.
The Bombers will have a new starting quarterback for Saturday afternoon’s rematch against the Montreal Alouettes, as they are opting to rest usual starter Zach Collaros in favour of backup QB Sean McGuire.
Collaros is the CFL’s leading passer with over 3,100 yards, almost 200 yards more than anybody else. And his 20 TD passes is also tops in the league. But Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea clearly feels it’s not worth risking the health of his starting quarterback with Collaros not expected to take any snaps on Saturday.
“I think it’ll just be Sean right now,” said O’Shea. “I don’t know that he (Zach) needs rest. I think he would be fine going out there and slinging it. Every guy wants to be playing, right? They want to get going. So, there’s a pile of factors that might enter into it.”
Considering Collaros’ lengthy injury history, it would seem like the smart and prudent decision to rest the leading candidate for the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player Award to save him up for the playoffs.
McGuire will be making his first career CFL start, but third stringer Dru Brown could also get a few reps.
“We’ll see how tomorrow goes,” O’Shea said. “We’ll watch the film today, and look that, and see how tomorrow goes. And then once again, make a more informed decision as we go forward.”
McGuire has been with the blue and gold for almost two full seasons. The 25-year-old has mostly been used in short yardage situations, and leads the CFL with eight rushing TD’s.
“I’m excited and working hard every day — excited to get to it,” said McGuire. “The way I try to prepare every single week is to be ready to play and prepare like a starter, prepare alongside Zach. Really, every week I treat it that way, and then when they told me this week, it was let’s get to it.
“However it looks, want to win the game. Don’t care how it looks, honestly. I just want to win.”
McGuire has only completed four career CFL passes, including two this season and two in 2019. But despite his lack of experience, he still has the faith of his coaching staff.
“We’ve liked him for a couple years now,” said O’Shea. “We think he can step on the field and we believe that he can help us win football games.
“When he steps on the field, he’s got a good command of the offence, he throws the ball well, he’s always prepared, so it is a good opportunity for him.”
The Bombers held a closed practice on Wednesday, but according to the official injury report, offensive lineman Jermarcus Hadrick was a full participant after missing their last three games with a hip injury. Running back Andrew Harris did not practice while he continues to heal up from a knee problem.