Blue Bomber Report Record: 3–15–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

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Chad Simpson says he's up for the challenge.

The Bombers running back, a big factor in the team's improved play over the last three games, gets his first crack at the defending Grey Cup champs tonight. Why is this relevant? Well, the B.C. defence is hands-down the top unit in the land at this point, topping nearly all statistical categories through seven games this summer.

A sample of stinginess for you to chew on:

- Average points against per game: Just under 18 (league average is 26).

- Average yards offence against per game: 275 per contest (league average is 366).

- Average rushing yards against per game: 68 (league average is 96).

That last number brings us back to Simpson. Former Bombers back Bloi-Dei Dorzon had no success in the season opener (four yards on five carries did not get it done), so how does Simpson plan to attack this group?

"I'd rather not say, I would rather just show y'all," said the 27-year-old, who has 315 yards on 54 carries. "I've never been a big talker in what I'm going to do to a team or what their weaknesses are. I don't know how they're preparing for me, and I don't want them to know how I'm preparing for them."

B.C's top-rated run defence is led by middle linebacker Adam Bighill, whose 45 tackles sits second in the league behind Edmonton linebacker JC Sherritt.

BOMBERS ROSTER: Winnipeg has just one change this week, welcoming back linebacker Brandon Stewart (who missed five games with a knee injury) to the starting lineup. His inclusion to the 46-man roster means defensive back Deon Beasley -- a healthy scratch last week -- is out. He was added to the one-game injured list.

THOUGHTS FROM JOEY: Bombers quarterback Joey Elliott dismissed the suggestion that he needs to turn in another solid outing to give the coaching staff something to think about when Buck Pierce returns from a foot injury next week. In Elliott's eyes, he's just keeping the seat warm right now.

"Buck's our guy," he said, "and all the quarterbacks just really want to get an opportunity. We've all played -- except (Justin) Goltz -- we get our number called we just want to go out and execute the offence as best as possible."

MEASURING STICKS: Keep an eye on B.C. receiver Marco Iannuzzi and defensive tackle Jabar Westerman, two players who will forever be linked to the Bombers.

Iannuzzi was taken two picks after Winnipeg took Jade Etienne fourth overall in the 2011 draft. While Etienne has yet to make an impact on the field, Iannuzzi is starting to contribute in the Lions offence (13 catches, 170 yards, two TDs this season).

Westerman, the player the Bombers wanted in this year's draft (Winnipeg was out-maneuvered by the Lions in the pre-draft trade frenzy) went second overall to B.C. this past May and has been filling for Khalif Mitchell, who's serving the second game of his two-game suspension tonight.

The Bombers took offensive lineman Tyson Pencer with the third pick in the 2012 draft. He's out for the season following shoulder surgery.

BIG FANS: The Muamba family should be well represented at Canad Inns Stadium tonight.

Bombers linebacker Henoc Muamba goes up against his older brother, Lions safety Cauchy on the field. In the stands, parents Germain and Louise will be cheering for their sons, wearing custom made Muamba jerseys -- one half B.C. white, the other half Winnipeg blue.

The Muamba entourage also features a couple of cousins, as well.

HASH MARKS: Lions quarterback Travis Lulay has thrown a TD pass in 18 straight games, currently tying him with former Winnipeg pivot Khari Jones for the fourth-longest streak in league history... Since taking over the job on Aug. 19, 2010, Bombers kicker Justin Palardy has kicked a field goal in 36 straight games.

adam.wazny@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @wazoowazny

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 24, 2012 ??65533

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