TORONTO — It was Oct. 9, and the trade had just gone down moments before the 5 p.m. ET deadline. Zach Collaros was officially a Winnipeg Blue Bomber, acquired in a last-second deal with the Toronto Argonauts. But what would it all mean?
Matt Nichols was done for the year and Chris Streveler, with his run-focused style, was at least keeping the Bombers competitive. Collaros, meanwhile, hadn’t dressed for a game since being injured in the first quarter of the season-opener.
After Streveler got injured, there was no longer any question who should be the starter. Collaros led the Bombers in back to back wins over Calgary, eliminating the defending Grey Cup Champions in the Western Semi-Final.
Sure, the numbers haven’t been spectacular. In two games, the veteran has gone 33-of-49 (67%) for 414 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, with a respectable 8.5 yards per attempt. And the Bombers remain a run first-team, with a defence playing lights out.
Yet to say Collaros hasn’t impacted the Bombers’ success would be unfair. The quarterback who came close to winning a Grey Cup in 2014 — and soon after a Most Outstanding Player award before being injured — is starting to resemble some of his past.
The writers debate in the Weekly Say.
Can Zach Collaros lead Winnipeg to a Grey Cup?
Chris O’Leary: On Monday night, I had a nice crow dinner and followed it up with humble pie. I should have shared, but I think I earned the right to eat the entire thing. I didn’t think trading for Collaros would make a difference for the Bombers but it clearly has. Collaros’ numbers weren’t overwhelming on Sunday, but he’s now 2-0 as a Bomber. Do I think he can lead them to a Grey Cup? Yeah, maybe. I’m a lot more open to that idea now than I was when the trade went down. Worth noting: Crow is extremely gamey. I do not recommend it.
Don Landry: Collaros’ numbers in the Western Semi were not impressive and he had a number of off-target tosses. But his bomb to Darvin Adams was a beauty, no doubt. The game was won by an offence that was ignited by Chris Streveler’s running. It loosened the jar and helped Collaros get on track in the fourth quarter. Can Paul LaPolice’s effective scheming with two quarterbacks of differing abilities lead Winnipeg to a Grey Cup? I’m listening….
Jamie Nye: I believe the Bombers are once again close to full strength with the game plan that had them topping the standings in the West for most of the first half of the season. Zach Collaros won’t necessarily ‘lead’ the bombers to a Grey Cup because they still need Chris Streveler’s added dynamic to make this all work. That two headed monster can lead Winnipeg to a championship and I don’t think they can do it without one or the other.
Jim Morris: Lead, no. Play a role in getting the Bombers to the Grey Cup, yes. Collaros was OK in last week’s win over the Stampeders but his 11 of 21 for 193 yards wasn’t outstanding. Chris Streveler’s running ability contributed a lot to that win. They will need big games from both players if they hope to beat Saskatchewan.
Matthew Cauz: Don’t you do it! Don’t you suck me back on the Collaros bandwagon!!! I ain’t doing it. But damn did you see that touchdown throw to Darvin Adams!!?
Marshall Ferguson: Alone maybe not. In a one two punch? Absolutely.
Which potential Grey Cup matchup excites you the most?
Morris: A Saskatchewan-Edmonton championship would be intriguing. Seeing two West rivals, with plenty of history behind them, would be great.
Landry: Winnipeg vs Hamilton. Two long droughts. One ends gloriously. One, however, must continue. Oh, the drama.
Ferguson: Bombers-Ticats.. Zach vs. his old team.. Willie and Bighill vs. Banks and Evans.. Etc. etc.
Nye: Tiger-Cats and Bombers. Two franchises with the longest Grey Cup droughts. Two great fan bases. Two teams that have playmakers all over the field. And one heck of a party for Winnipeg or Hamilton after 20 and 30 year droughts.
O’Leary: Hamilton-Winnipeg. The two longest running Grey Cup droughts collide, where one team and its fans are promised one of the greatest moments of their lives and the other gets crushing defeat. It writes itself.
Cauz: Winnipeg versus Hamilton. Sorry Roughriders, you won the Grey Cup back in 2013. Same for you Edmonton, who won it two years later. Gimmie two teams who haven’t raised the Grey Cup since before WiFi was a thing.
Are Trevor Harris/Ricky Ray comparisons fair or offside?
Cauz: Semi-Fair. Both productive with the short passing game BUT only one of those guys has won four Grey Cups. Ricky Ray is the only quarterback who I enjoyed working the short stuff.
Nye: Fair: Trevor Harris is accurate and the gets the ball out quickly. Offside: How about he wins some championships as a starting quarterback first.
Morris: Fair. I can see the comparisons. Both will chip away at you, find a weakness, then go for the big play.
O’Leary: As the person who drew that comparison after the game I’ll say that it’s more than fair. Trevor Harris isn’t Ricky Ray, but he looked A LOT like him in that first half, mechanically taking apart the Als’ defence. Having Jason Maas say the same after the game made me feel a lot better about the comparison.
Landry: Fair. That is, if the comparison is in having clear vision, command of a field, and accuracy in passing. Harris did those things in the semi. As well, Harris torched a primarily zone defence and I was consistently told by football experts, over the years, that Ray’s forte was eating up man-to-man coverages. But comparing most anyone to Ray for their entire body of work is a bit much. In that one game? Fair to say Harris dominated like Ricky Ray so often did.
Ferguson: One hundred per cent fair and accurate.