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Bomber defence will be under microscope in exhibition game

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Among the most urgent things to be sorted out before the Winnipeg Blue Bombers begin their 2013 CFL season is the quarterbacking depth chart behind starter Buck Pierce.

In addition to that, Bombers head coach Tim Burke also rolled out a couple of other high priorities -- both on defence -- this morning after his team completed its day-before walk-through in preparation for Wednesday’s exhibition game against the Toronto Argonauts, the first-ever football game for the new Investors Group Field.

"I would say how the secondary’s going to play out," Burke said. "We didn’t perform there last year and there are a lot of really talented rookies who have really started to get it now. So it’ll be really interesting to see how that plays out.

"Defensive ends, there’s some good young guys there. Definitely one of them has to come forward and become our DI (designated import) on defence."

Other big question marks, many the product of coming off a non-playoff 6-12 season in 2012, were finding another viable option on the defensive line, how a couple of battles will turn out on the offensive line, who will excel among some good young receivers, who will be the kick returners and who will be the punter or punters.

Wednesday, the Bombers will put Pierce in the game first, but all of the back-up candidates, Justin Goltz, Max Hall and Chase Clement, will see time.

"I know that probably the majority of the time will be for those guys" Pierce said this morning. "I’ve been in this league for nine years now. I just want to go out and get my feet wet at little bit, just manage the game, work the clock, get the guys in and our of the huddle, personnel on and off the field, and just the operation part down."

Don’t expect to see the depths of whatever new offensive twists the Bombers have in an exhibition game, Pierce said.

"You’re not going to see much," he said. "We’re going to be pretty vanilla with what we do. Obviously we want to win the game and we have stuff in there we like but also we have to evaluate talent. It’s a short time period for training camp in this league so we have to evaulate every day and obviously the first game is a big piece of that."

The length of Pierce’s stay in the game — the Bombers intend to keep him healthy for the season-opener — might be determined by how much the Argos decide to blitz, Burke said.

He also said his Toronto counterpart, Scott Milanovich, has indicated in a chat this week that there could be blitzing.

"We do (talk), so there are no surprises," Burke said. "Like are you going to try to block a punt? Are you going to kick an on-side kick? It’s what you have to be ready for.

"We’re all just trying to get to the season with the best team possible."

Definite scratches for Winnipeg for Wednesday’s game include Terrence Edwards, Wallace Miles, Rory Kohlert, Taylor Renaud, Johnny Sears, Sam Pope, Henoc Muamba, Dexter Davis and Zach Anderson.


Updated on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 2:20 PM CDT: Adds picture.

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