Pressure on Bombers to protect QB Matt Nichols

Judy Owen, Canadian Press

Matt Nichols could be feeling the heat from more than a scorching Saturday weather forecast.

The Blue Bombers starting quarterback is finally making his season debut against the B.C. Lions after suffering a knee injury during a non-contact play at practice on June 6.

Nichols and his teammates are pumped for his return to the huddle on a day with a forecasted high of 35 C, but offensive lineman Jermarcus Hardrick expects the Lions’ defenders will go hard at the pivot.

“I think they’ll try to bring more to Matt since he’s coming fresh off of injury,” Hardwick said after Friday’s walk-through. “Try to rattle him more or try to get to his injury or things like that.

“But it makes the challenge even more for the (offensive) line. We’re excited for it because all we want to do it keep (Nichols) up.”

He vowed to do whatever it takes to protect the pivot, who’ll wear a brace on his right knee.

“Experience, the leadership, the spunk,” Hardrick said of the qualities Nichols brings to the offence that was run in his absence by rookie backup Chris Streveler.

“Not to want to let the guy down is just so much. You just give up anything of your body to make sure you’re not letting (Nichols) down. I don’t care if it’s not pretty, as long as he’s not getting hit. Sometimes you throw your ankle, throw your knee.

“There’s rules out there, but there’s no rules keeping (Nichols) up, I’ll tell you that. He plays the same way for us.”

Lions middle linebacker Solomon Elimimian wasn’t revealing if putting extra pressure on Nichols will be part of the game plan.

“I cannot say that,” he said with a chuckle. “You know what, he’s come off of injury and I don’t know how great he feels or what not, but the fact he’s out there tells you he’s healthy enough to play.

“So whether it’s Nichols or Streveler, any good quarterback in the CFL you have to put pressure on him. You can’t let him have all the time and sit back there and pick you apart. You have to change up the look.”

Nichols, who was expected to be out four to six weeks, said Streveler did a great job for the team that’s 1-2, but he’s ready to reclaim his spot.

“I fully expect to go out there and perform right away,” Nichols said. “I mean, I wouldn’t be going out there if I didn’t feel like I was going to be giving my team a great chance to win.

“I had a sharp week of practice and I’m fully ready to go. There’s no excuse about being out a few weeks. I got to go through the whole training camp, played in a pre-season game. I’ve played so much football in my career, I fully expect to be sharp.”

CFL quarterbacks form a tight community and B.C. pivot Jonathon Jennings was happy to see Nichols’ injury didn’t keep him out too long, unlike the serious neck injury that has Toronto veteran starter Ricky Ray missing “significant time” and maybe the rest of the season.

“I’m glad that (Nichols) is OK. I’m glad that he wasn’t seriously hurt,” Jennings said.

Jennings has yet to hit the 200-yard passing mark in either of the Lions’ first two games (1-1). He threw 24 passes in each outing, completing a total of 33 for 382 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He’s also run 14 times for 91 yards.

Both teams are hoping for bounce-back games. Last week, the Lions lost 41-22 to Edmonton and Hamilton defeated Winnipeg 31-17.

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6 Comments on Pressure on Bombers to protect QB Matt Nichols

  1. It only takes one hit & Nichols could be down & out again…..

  2. Evil Empire // July 7, 2018 at 5:24 pm //

    Wow another story about Wpg. That’s awesome. Making it 2.5 stories on the front page concerning any of the 4 teams playing today.

    Let’s review…

    Defending GC champs play today…ZERO stories related to the Boatmen.
    The defending MOP is playing the defending champs today…Zero stories about the Eskimos.
    The BC Lions on the road in Wpg, today… ZERO stories about them.
    The Bombers at home with Nichols returning from injury 2.5 stories about the Bombers.

    Does this look weird to ANYBODY else ?

    Please give me more stories about Carter going to trial for pot…In DECEMBER. That’s a HUGE CFL story. Or how about a truck driver being charged for a crime that has ZERO to do with the CFL.

    BRUTAL !

    • Paul Bomber // July 8, 2018 at 12:15 am //

      Trust me… Wpg fans who frequent 3Down have faced the same. I think there was a 2 or 3 day period there where there were more stories about Hamilton’s second string QB than there were on all 5 Western teams combined. S’good, dude.

  3. Evil…Could not agree more. Franklin is up against the 2017 MOP and what sort of focus does Argos have towards this game. Some thoughts by Trestman would be interesting. BC Lions are hard pressed here. Can they afford a loss to BB? Come on 3dwn..What thoughts are heard from Wally?
    What does Maas have to say about their line up against the Argos?

  4. Man you guys let the dumbest shit ruin your days. Don’t like the content ? Don’t visit the site

    Lmao

  5. I would think it could mean that 3down nation either doesn’t have contributors from Edmonton, Toronto, or Vancouver or ones that contribute very infrequently.

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