Winnipeg Blue Bombers to rest Zach Collaros, start Dru Brown against B.C. Lions

Photo courtesy: Tiffany Luke/B.C. Lions

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will start Dru Brown at quarterback when they take on the B.C. Lions on Saturday, according to Darrin Bauming, resting Zach Collaros after clinching first place in the West Division.

Head coach Mike O’Shea indicated that he felt this was the best time to rest Collaros given the team’s remaining schedule. The veteran quarterback figured it wasn’t worth fighting the decision, though he’d rather play each week regardless of whether or not the games have an impact on the standings.

“Obviously, you always want to be out there so you never love hearing that news,” Collaros told the media in Winnipeg. “At the same time, you just trust in the process of what we’re going to do.”

The 34-year-old is the front-runner to be named Most Outstanding Player for a second consecutive year after throwing for 4,115 yards, 35 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions through 16 games. He considers helping his fellow quarterbacks, Brown and Dakota Prukop, prepare for Saturday’s game to be his main priority this week.

“I think both guys love the game of football, they really understand what we’re doing here, they understand CFL coverages and how to attack them. I think both are really good athletes, they both have different strengths, so I’m really excited for both of those guys to get out there and play,” said Collaros.

Brown has seen limited action this season, completing five-of-seven pass attempts for 127 yards and two touchdowns. The second-year passer joked that he’s learned “everything” from Collaros, though he also gave credit to Prukop and offensive coordinator Buck Pierce for his development since signing with the team in March 2020.

“Being super green to the game coming up here, Zach was really special to show me the ropes and teach me the things that I didn’t know I didn’t know, just because it’s so different than down south,” said Brown.

“He was able to communicate early to me just about some of the carryover, some of the different things and he still does it to this day. It just shows the type of leader that he is and the type of person he is.”

All three quarterbacks threw touchdown passes this past week in a 48-11 win over the Edmonton Elks, which is extremely rare. According to CFL head statistician Steve Daniel, it has now happened only four times since 1993 that three quarterbacks on the same team have thrown touchdown passes in the same game.

Brown has never started a CFL game, though he played in relief of Collaros in last season’s regular season finale against the Calgary Stampeders. He got a strong vote of confidence from the veteran who expects the 25-year-old to take advantage of the opportunity to make his first career start.

“I think Dru’s gonna be a really good player for a long time. Since day one here, he’s been very inquisitive of how the CFL game works and how different offences run around the league work and why they’re doing certain things,” said Collaros.

“He’s a football junkie, we’ve spent a lot of time watching tape and talking football together. I think he sees the game really well and I’m really excited for him to get out there.”

The Blue Bombers (14-2) are scheduled to visit the B.C. Lions (10-5) on Saturday with kickoff slated for 10:00 p.m. EDT. The team will be on a bye the following week before hosting the Lions on Friday, Oct. 28 to finish the regular season.