Chris Streveler is Winnipeg Blue Bombers Best Hope in CFL Playoffs

Chris Streveler
MONTREAL, QC - SEPTEMBER 21: Winnipeg Blue Bombers Quarterback Chris Streveler (17) runs with the ball during the Winnipeg Blue Bombers versus the Montreal Alouettes game on September 21, 2019, at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Chris Streveler didn’t leave McMahon Stadium Saturday night enjoying the sweet feeling of victory. He instead crawled to a pain-induced loss, something he’s dealt with all week. Or as Streveler puts it, he’s about as good as anyone going into game 18.

Regardless, Steveler’s on the one-game injured list for Friday night’s game versus Calgary.

Zach Collaros’ Debut

The Bombers will roll out Zach Collaros at quarterback in their regular season finale. Collaros has played three snaps in 2019 and has yet to climb back to that MOP-calibre level of play after a series of serious injuries over the past handful of years.

He has regressed since his ACL injury in 2015, most recently tossing nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 14 starts for the Saskatchewan Roughriders last season.

He led Hamilton to the Grey Cup in 2014, losing to Bo Levi Mitchell’s Calgary Stampeders.

For a combination of reasons, that same outcome is probable against the Stamps Friday, and a third time if Winnipeg travelled back to McMahon for a playoff tilt.

Paul LaPolice has transformed Winnipeg’s offence into a bruising, bashing old-school machine. The team’s offensive identity is designed quarterback runs or safe, high-completion throws. So far, it’s worked pretty well aside from some ill-timed growing pains.

Collaros doesn’t fit the current scheme. He’s also had 15 days to learn the playbook.

It leaves little hope that Collaros could take Winnipeg further than Streveler may.

Chris Streveler Needs Rest

Many criticized Mike O’Shea’s decision to keep Chris Streveler on the field Saturday. He was hurt, pretty badly. He still kept competing on the field, running for nearly 100 yards.

The latter half of his night mostly went as follows: limp out of the huddle, bust out a surprisingly aggressive run, struggle to get back up to his feet, repeat.

It had Calgary’s defence on their toes, and at times sucking for air.

Winnipeg’s hard-nosed offence behind Streveler is made for playoff football. They can run on defences who know it’s coming. They’re not an easy out with their bruising runners.

It makes a healthy Streveler crucial for the Bombers. If it means resting him to confirm what’s already likely in Winnipeg, finishing third in the West, by all means, sit him.

If the Bombers and O’Shea are to go down in the playoffs, they need to do so by losing after playing their strength; feed the ball to their crop or runners until the clock hits zeros.

Bombers Likely Travelling to Regina

Unless the Edmonton Eskimos manage to sweep the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the Bombers will likely attempt to defend their West Semi-final title in Regina.

The roles may be reserved this year, with the Riders storming in behind the play of quarterback Cody Fajardo and the Bombers without their starting pivot Matt Nichols.

Streveler lost both of his two starts at Mosaic Stadium this year. In both games, Winnipeg had the two points for the taking but Streveler threw it away, literally.

If the Bombers are going to survive the West gauntlet in November, running the ball a minimum of 25 times per game is their best shot. Using Chris Streveler’s and Andrew Harris’ legs are their best shot.

There’s no other way but to rumble, bumble, and stumble their way to CFL glory.

Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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