Brandon Bridge will be the engine that drives the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ offence for the foreseeable future, and he knows he needs to make the most of his opportunity.
The 26-year-old quarterback from Mississauga, Ont., will make his third career start on Saturday when the Roughriders host to the Montreal Alouettes.
“It’s another opportunity to get a chance to start,” Bridge said.
“You’ve got to make the most of your opportunity so you can start the next game. You just want to always put out film because every game is building up a resume.
“And as more starts pass, hopefully the more comfortable I will become and the more positive film I could put out there for this team and other teams to put trust in me.”
Bridge takes over from Zach Collaros, who suffered a concussion June 21 during the second quarter of a 40-17 loss to the host Ottawa Redblacks.
Bridge finished that game and is now the Riders’ starter after Collaros was placed on the six-game injured list earlier this week.
“Brandon is different from Zach,” Roughriders head coach and general manager Chris Jones said. “He’s going to get out and move around a little bit more and improvise, so it makes it a little bit tougher defensively because you have to stay in coverage for that extra click or two – and he can throw on the run and put the ball in the air for 50 or 60 yards.”
The following season, Bridge was released by the Alouettes and subsequently claimed by Saskatchewan.
The six-foot-five, 230-pound Bridge received his first extended duty last season, starting one game and routinely spelling last year’s No. 1 quarterback, Kevin Glenn.
Even though Glenn is now with the Edmonton Eskimos, he was willing to impart some wisdom to Bridge earlier this week when asked about Montreal’s chief defensive strategist.
“I called Kevin Glenn,” Bridge said. “I asked him ‘what kind of defensive co-ordinator is Rich Stubler?’ and he just told me what he likes to do.
“I was trying to picture a lot of things Kevin was actually telling me, so I felt like Angels in the Outfield. He’s right there with me.”
So is Devon Bailey.
Bailey and Bridge go way back to their days as opposing high school players in Mississauga.
“Having Devon Bailey as a teammate is actually pretty cool,” Bridge said of the Roughriders’ receiver.
“The first time I was his teammate was in high school for a summer league team, the Mississauga Warriors, and we actually broke the record for most touchdown passes together – and it was the same year, 2008, when Tom Brady threw for 50 touchdowns, so it was kind of a Randy Moss and Tom Brady type of thing.”
The collaboration has continued in Saskatchewan. Both of Bailey’s touchdowns with the Roughriders were on passes from Bridge last season.
“I’ve been catching bullets from Brandon Bridge for quite some time now,” Bailey said with a smile.
The bullets, as termed by Bailey, can be a shock at first to receivers who are introduced to the strong-armed quarterback.
In Bailey’s case, were there some sore fingers.
“Not broken, but he’s jammed them,” he said. “He’s honestly jammed three out of five (fingers) on my left hand off of just throwing easy, light balls.”
That said, Bailey enjoys catching passes from his long-time friend.
“I was watching it on film and it looks worse on tape than it is in person,” he said. “It’s still very hard to do, but easier than it looks.”