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In a perfect scenario, Jim Popp would see his freshly acquired quarterback roll through his rehab process, clear all of those hurdles and over the course of the next two weeks, learn a new offence and be ready to roll on Aug. 16, when the Toronto Argonauts host the Edmonton Eskimos.
In the real world, few scenarios are ever perfect.
“Well, I don’t know,” Popp, said on Thursday night when asked about an ideal time frame for Zach Collaros to be ready for his new team.
On Wednesday, Popp sent a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 CFL Draft to the Saskatchewan Roughriders for Collaros. Sitting at 0-6 at the time and sputtering on offence all year, a change at quarterback has been on the horizon for weeks.
Collaros arrives on the tail end of a six-game injured list stay, having taken a shot to the head in Week 1 from Hamilton’s Simoni Lawrence. Collaros said he feels better than he did in the days after the hit, but he’s still being evaluated.
While the Argos would love some definitives on the most important position on the field, they’re going to have to settle for a wait-and-see approach.
“Typically when you’re on the six-game, what he would have done is practise this week,” Popp said.
“Then he would have missed Game 6 and then the next week you would have practised again. Then you would have made a determination on activating or not. Then you could extend him to (another) six-game or you might put him to the one game and go week-to-week.”
In a press conference full of vagueries, Collaros hoped to return to action “sooner than later.”
“Is that two weeks from now or three weeks from now? Is it four?” Popp said.
“We will really never know until he starts getting out there and running around and seeing how he’s doing.”
Then the GM threw the other wrench into the mix.
“He’s also got to learn an offence.”
Collaros will have to not only learn Jacques Chapdelaine’s offence, he’ll have to learn it to a point where he’s not at further risk for reinjury when he gets back on the field. In a matter of weeks, there will have to be a level of comfort that a full-time quarterback would have an entire offseason and training camp to get to. That won’t be easy.
Popp spoke about his roster and the injuries it’s endured in the first third of the season, losing 12 starters. A lot of raw players have been forced to learn quickly in their place and while it’s been ugly at points, he said that the team would be better for it. Even at 0-6, he still sees opportunity in the East, especially with Jeremiah Masoli’s devastating season-ending injury in Hamilton.
Then his Argos went out and played their best game of the season, erasing a 20-0 deficit to first-place Winnipeg and claiming their first win of the season. Optimism was at a high on Thursday night and in the Argos’ locker room, anything felt possible.
“We’ll have at least half a season,” Popp said, guessing when he’d see Collaros in uniform.
“And I would feel very comfortable that he’s going to be ready.”