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EDMONTON — It’s been a long time coming for Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Matt Nichols, who finally made it back onto the gridiron after almost a year recovering from a torn ACL.
Add that injury to a dislocated ankle during the 2012 Eastern Semi-Final and you could excuse Nichols for being a bit rusty. However, it didn’t take long for him to shake it all off and find his form once again.
After Mike Reilly started the game under centre, Nichols had to wait a bit longer to take his first snap, as fellow pivot Jonathan Crompton was next in line on head coach Chris Jones’ depth chart.
“I had no clue until game time. I know obviously right now Mike (Reilly) is the starter here, as a backup you have no idea when you’ll be thrown into the game,” Nichols told the media.
Once he did hit the field, Nichols showed that the long wait didn’t phase him one bit. He went on to pass for 107 yards on 9 of 12 passing and rushed for four yards.
“It was just good to get into the game and, like you said, make it through a game without getting injured or hurt,” said Nichols with a smile.
As happy as Nichols was following the game, Jones didn’t sugar coat his QB’s performance.
“One drive he played pretty well, the other he didn’t play so well. Again we need to find some more consistency there,” said Jones.
Considering Nichols hasn’t played much in the past year, he can be forgiven for being a little inconsistent. Nonetheless, it’s clear that he’s headed in the right direction.
“Overall it felt good for me to be back into a game situation. It felt really slow for me, last pre-season the game felt like it was slowing down for me and it felt like college again,” said Nichols.
This bodes well for Nichols, if he can continue to stay healthy. He will have another opportunity to showcase his skills on Friday, when the Eskimos take on Saskatchewan to wrap up their pre-season schedule.
With only four quarterbacks left on the Esks roster, he will continue to make his case for a top-two slot in the depth chart.