Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

411: Targeting Hank

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It doesn't take a genius to know where the Winnipeg defensive focus lies tonight.

But forget about the league-high 16 touchdown passes and the 109 quarterback efficiency rating (also tops in the CFL) put forth by Henry Burris this season and look at his rushing totals. The Tiger-Cats pivot has rushed for 140 yards on 17 attempts, good for an 8.2 yard average per carry.

Not outstanding by any stretch but at 37-year-old, Burris is still getting it done.

"We have to wrap up on him, he's a strong guy; he might be the strongest quarterback in the league," Bombers defensive end Jason Vega said after the walkthrough Wednesday morning. "He runs strong, and he may not be as fast as he used to be, but he certainly can move."

Of all the praise heaped down on Burris over his Hall of Fame career, his strength usually doesn't register. Vega puts the 13-year veteran next to Edmonton pivot Steven Jyles as the toughest to bring down in the CFL, which means the Bombers front seven could have its collective hands full should Burris find room to move up field.

He can extend drives with his legs. Still, after all this time.

"He knows when to run, that's the thing about it," linebacker Marcellus Bowman said. "He's not going to be a guy with happy feet who just sprints out at the wrong (time). That's one of those things, especially on second down, we have to be in the right place and make sure he doesn't have a chance to scramble."

NOTHING PROVEN: Burris was asked if his play this season has silenced some of his critics. If you recall, he was traded out of Calgary in the off-season with thoughts that his best years were behind him.

"You know how it is with the quarterback: you can go from great to the goat in one game," he said. "I can't really leave a message (to the doubters) unless we achieve the No. 1 goal that everybody's trying to achieve across the late, and that's winning a championship.

"For my own journey, my career won't be satisfied unless I get another championship."

A raspy Burris is dealing with a voice issue these days, but doesn't anticipate the crowd at Canad Inns Stadium to be an issue. He said the offence worked on a number communication alternatives (including a silent count) to deal with the volume.

HORNET'S NEST: Here's Ticats head coach George Cortez on facing a desperate, 1-5 Bombers squad:

"The danger is if you look at their record and think you're playing their record and not playing the team. I'm sure a lot of people when they played the B.C. Lions last year when they were 1-6 looked at their record and not the team."

BOMBERS ROSTER: Outside of quarterback Joey Elliott getting the start, the big changes are on defence. Starting safety Ian Logan and starting defensive back Alex Suber return from leg injuries, and tackle Bryant Turner is back after attending his grandmother's funeral. The club also welcomes special teamer James Green, who makes his season debut after being released in the off-season (he suffered a broken foot during the winter). Green led the team with 17 special teams tackles last year.

TICATS ROSTER: Slotback Andy Fantuz (head) didn't make the trip, so that leaves a big hole in the Hamilton offence. Simon Charbonneau-Campeau should see the bulk of reps in his spot. Fantuz out also means backup quarterback Quinton Porter will handle the field-goal holding duties, which could lead to some excitement regarding possible fakes and/or muffed holds. Starting defensive back Bo Smith is also a no-go tonight.

Twitter: @wazoowazny

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 16, 2012 C3

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