TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE
The city is new, but the situation -- a losing and desperate football team -- will be very familiar for J.D. Griggs when he starts at defensive end for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers against the Montreal Alouettes Monday afternoon.
Prior to joining the practice roster of the CFL-worst 2-12 Bombers last week, Griggs was a member of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, who just happen to be the worst team in the NFL. Prior to that, he played for a University of Akron squad who also did a lot more losing than winning.
So in Griggs you have a player who is even hungrier for a win than his success-starved new teammates.
"My last two years at University of Akron, we were 1-11 both years. So yeah, I'm not exactly new to losing," said Griggs with a laugh following his newest team's practice at Investors Group Field Friday.
"But my mentality is I like to win -- a whole lot. So hopefully, I can come here and start to change that."
The Bombers are hoping the same thing. Big (6-5, 262), fast and exceptionally strong, the Bombers hope Griggs can seamlessly slide into the rush-end position vacated by the trade of CFL sack leader Alex Hall to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Undrafted by the NFL, Griggs signed as a free agent with the Jaguars last spring and made it through training camp before he was one of the team's final cuts. With Hall now gone to Regina, Griggs knows he has a special opportunity to potentially win a long-term job in Winnipeg.
"The coaches have told me that the next four weeks is an evaluation-type thing. They want me to get used to the system, get used to Winnipeg and hopefully be back next year," said Griggs.
GILMORE TO FILL IN
Griggs will be one of two new players on the Bombers defensive line this week. Defensive tackle Zach Anderson has been sick this week and head coach Tim Burke told reporters Friday Anderson will be replaced by JT Gilmore Monday.
In other news, Burke said DB Demond Washington has healed more quickly than expected and is now likely to play on Monday, but a final evaluation won't be made until the Bombers hold one more full practice at home today.
Bombers defensive tackle Bryant Turner is returning to Montreal this weekend for the first time since he had his best game -- and scariest game -- there in Week 2.
Bombers fans will recall how Turner's three sacks at Stade Molson in Week 2 led a stifling Bombers defensive performance that resulted in one of just two wins this season for Winnipeg.
But fans will also recall seeing Turner complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath and being wheeled off the field on a stretcher following that game. The pains later turned out to be sprained chest ligaments.
"It hasn't been a good place for me," Turner said of Stade Molson. "But we're enthusiastic right now and it's contagious and I think if we can keep that going, we have a good chance of going into Montreal and winning that game."
RECORDS WE COULD SKIP
The Bombers are in danger of setting all kinds of records for offensive futility this season -- and have already set one new mark.
Winnipeg has now gone seven games without gaining 300 yards or more on offence -- the first time since at least 1994 that a CFL team has gone that long without gaining 300 yards at least once, according to the CFL stats bureau.
What's more, Winnipeg's average offence of 269.1 yards per game this season puts them in a group of just four other CFL teams to average that little offence in a season -- Toronto 2002: 265; Winnipeg 1998: 266; Shreveport 1994: 258; Toronto 1979: 264.