With Johnny Manziel in concussion protocol, Antonio Pipkin looks likely to get a second start at quarterback for the Montreal Alouettes.
Pipkin had one of the best performances by an Alouettes quarterback this season as he completed 14 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown in a 44-24 loss in Edmonton on Saturday. He’s expected to be under centre when the Toronto Argonauts visit Percival Molson Stadium on Friday night.
“It’s important to try to get a win,” Pipkin said on Tuesday as the Alouettes (1-8) held their first practice of the week. “We had a better Day 1 [of practice] than we did last week.
“Guys were locked in and we were encouraging each other to get through the sores and the bruises. Anything can happen in the CFL. You can still make the playoffs, so we just keep our eyes on the prize and focus on our meetings and our practices. Focus on Toronto this week so we can try to get a win and put ourselves in better shape.”
Pipkin’s CFL days seemed to be over when he was released after training camp, but a run of quarterback injuries led to his recall on Aug. 8, when he was placed on the practice roster.
By then, the Alouettes had acquired Manziel in a five-player deal with Hamilton to be their starter and, they hoped, save a sinking season.
But Johnny Football lasted only two games – a weak CFL debut in which he threw four first-half interceptions, and a much better second start he got through despite taking a massive hit while trying to run the ball in for a touchdown in the third quarter – before going on the one-game injured list
At the time, the injury didn’t seem serious. But after going for tests last week, doctors placed him under concussion protocol.
Manziel wasn’t at practice again on Tuesday, but coach Mike Sherman said he should be back on the field on Wednesday, although it is doubtful he will play.
“He feels good, his testing’s good,” Sherman said. “[The doctors] wanted to keep him inside today, so that’s where he is. I expect him back this week, but we’ll have to wait and see. Doctor’s call.”
Asked if Manziel may be available to dress on Friday, Sherman said: “It’ll depend on how he looks and how he feels after that workout. We’ll see from what type of workout it is whether he’s ready to go.”
He said Matt Shiltz, the third-stringer last week after returning from a foot injury, will be the back-up quarterback.
The Alouettes have only two practices this week, plus a walk-through on Thursday, so it is unlikely they would put Manziel in without full preparation.
That gives Pipkin another chance to show what he can do.
“I thought he did a very nice job in the game,” Sherman said. “He had a good practice today.
“He did some things in the game that could have helped us win. A couple of plays we missed on. A couple of plays that could have been big plays.”
They included dropped passes – a recurring problem. One of the culprits, T.J. Graham, was released along with defensive back Joe Rankin and defensive lineman Michael Hill.
“Everybody’s got to be accountable,” Sherman said of Graham, who caught only two of seven passes for 19 yards in three games. “T.J.’s a great kid. I like him a lot. He’s a very good person. But I’m sure the players in that room understand what happened and the accountability factor.”
Also missing was running back Tyrell Sutton, who left the game with a quadriceps injury.
“The doctor’s saying a couple of weeks but you never know. I thought he’d be out for a month,” Sherman said.
William Stanback is to take Sutton’s spot.
Defensive end John Bowman was back after missing two games with a torn biceps.