Currie’s Corner 629, June 7, 2018
Three down football is back, and already there’s a ‘quarterback crisis’ ?
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who last won the Grey Cup before Google and Facebook were household words, appeared to finally have a line-up that might be enough to end the drought. Bingo, starting quarterback Matt Nichols goes down in practice with a knee injury, and he’ll be watching from the sidelines for the next 4 to 6 weeks. Ouch !
Last year, it was painfully obvious that a major weakness in Winnipeg was the lack of an experienced backup. It looked like the problem had been solved when the Bombers signed veteran Darian Durant. He appeared to be washed up at 35, and he gratefully accepted and cashed a $70,000 signing bonus to come to Winnipeg where he would definitely be #2 behind Matt Nichols.
Once that bonus was in hand, it seems Darian decided it was quite OK to take the money and go home. He sent them an e-mail just before training camp that essentially said “So long suckers!” If he ever shows his face in Bomberland again it will be too soon I would say.
Until Matt Nichols is healthy once more, Winnipeg’s quarterbacking will be in the hands of three young men with a grand total of ZERO experience in regular season play. But keep your eye on a 23 year old from South Dakota named Chris Streveler.
I’m not sure why, but I have a hunch that he has the potential for a familiar Cinderella story. 60 years ago, Kenny Ploen was Mr. Everything at quarterback for Winnipeg, having played in both the Rose Bowl and the Grey Cup in the same year. In 1958 Ploen was hurt in Winnipeg’s first game, and Bud Grant gave the ball to a 23 year old rookie from Michigan named Jim Van Pelt. He lit things up in such a way that Mr. Ploen couldn’t get his job back, and the coach used him of defence where he was also very good.
The latin motto is Carpe Diem – ‘seize the day!’
There was a similar story in Edmonton many years later involving another rookie you might have heard of named Ricky Ray.
Let the games begin .
I’m Roger Currie