With Travis Lulay on the shelf with a shoulder injury, the B.C. Lions might make use of former Bombers pivot Buck Pierce again against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers this week – which sounds all right to Bombers head coach Tim Burke.
"We’d rather face the backup than the starter," Burke said after practice Tuesday, referring to Pierce over Lions quarterback Thomas DeMarco, who took the start last week against Saskatchewan.
So, if Pierce does figure into the game, how does Burke plan to handle the oft-injured former Bombers starter? When asked, Burke cut to the chase of the question. "Are you asking whether we’re going to blitz the heck out of him?" he asked. "No. We wouldn’t do that."
The Bombers will bring a slightly rejigged lineup into Friday’s game, starting with the offensive line, which now includes three import players in Glenn January and newcomers Dan Knapp and Jarvis Jones. That setup will push the Bombers to play three Canadian receivers in their five-wideout package, which will be Akeem Foster, Rory Kohlert and Jade Etienne.
While the Bombers did try non-import Tyson Pencer on the offensive line, "he’s still not ready for prime time," Burke said. Overall, Burke hopes the changes will help open up more room for running back Will Ford. "We had so much penetration at guard, we kind of screwed our run game," Burke said of last week’s tilt.
There will also be changes in the defensive backfield, as Jovon Johnson will play at safety for Cauchy Muamba on some plays. When he does, linebacker Ian Wild will have to come off in favour of non-import Pierre-Luc Labbe.
Defensive tackle Bryant Turner stayed out of practice Tuesday as a maintenance day, but is expected to play this week. Chad Simpson is out with an injury, and although slotback Cory Watson practiced he likely won’t be ready for game action until next week. Defensive back Johnny Sears should be back by then too, Burke said.