Injuries force Blue Bombers to start 3rd-string QB
Buck Pierce to miss season finale vs. Alouettes with shoulder injury
He had a chance earlier this season and failed to deliver consistently, but backup quarterback Alex Brink is getting one more shot at starter this year for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
"What happened in the past, I've got to put it behind me, because I'm going to play again and that opportunity has come this week," Brink said Tuesday.
He'll start Saturday when the Bombers face the visiting Montreal Alouettes in the regular-season finale for both teams.
It doesn't affect either club's standing, with Montreal locked in at the top of the East Division at 11-6 and Winnipeg in the CFL cellar and out of the playoffs at 5-12.
But Brink says that won't affect how the Bombers play.
"It's not just about going out and slinging the ball around, we're going out to try and get a win," he said.
"This week of preparations is going to be just as hard as the previous 17 weeks."
Injuries to Buck Pierce and No. 1 backup Joey Elliott have forced the Bombers to dip deeper into their quarterback pool.
Justin Goltz, the No. 3 backup, will also be seeing a lot more action this weekend than he has all year. He will likely take over the wildcat play that Brink has run for most of the season on short-yardage situations.
At 25, Goltz is the youngest of the three backups who were signed in 2010. Brink is 27 and Elliott is 26.
"You're playing for your job at this point," said Goltz. "I've been here for a little over two years now and want people to know that I can play ... I want our fans, I want my teammates to know I can get out and get the job done on the field so it's a big opportunity for me."
Brink started the season behind Pierce but moved down the depth chart after posting a 1-2 record as a starter when Pierce was out. Elliott took over but he too struggled after an early win.
Pierce joined the team in 2010 and guided the Blue Bombers to the Grey Cup last year, where they lost to the B.C. Lions. He started 16 games in 2011 but started less than half that number this year due to injuries, including a foot problem and a concussion.
Burke says he'd like to see Brink make faster decisions and be a little more accurate with his passing.
"Early in the year he was just a little bit slow in his decision making. He knows where to go with the ball, it was just not happening as fast as he'd like it too."
Brink says he's thankful his role as quarterback on the wildcat option has kept him close to the action.
"It's kept me mentally involved," he says, adding that he knows he has to start fast if he wants to succeed.
"I've been through about as many ups and downs in the season as one person could possible go through ... I feel like have a pretty good perspective on it. I'm just going to go out and have fun."
This year, the Bombers restocked with 19 rookies, an offensive co-ordinator with no CFL experience and struggled out of the gate as injuries compounded their problems.
Paul LaPolice lost his job as head coach over the team's performance. He was replaced by defensive co-ordinator Tim Burke, who says he has not heard anything yet about his future next season.
Once the season ends, team president Garth Buchko has promised an announcement before Grey Cup week on whether general manager Joe Mack will return next season.