The Winnipeg Blue Bombers head into battle Friday with a full sick bay, a decimated receiving corps and an offence under the microscope.
But quarterback Buck Pierce and company can’t wait to get at the Toronto Argonauts (7 p.m. TSN/CJOB) in front of another rabid house at Investors Group Field.
"I’m excited to go against this type of defence and the challenges they pose," said Pierce as the Bombers wrapped up final preparations Thursday afternoon. "We’ve got a good plan going in this week, so I’m excited about it.
"(The Argo defence) is going to go out there and show you who they are. They’re going to do a lot of things up front, they’re going to come after you and they’re going to say that our guys are better than you. They’re going to try and hit the quarterback, they’re going to take chances.
"I always kind of relayed it as (Argos defensive coordinator) Chris Jones as a guy who wants to go out there and brawl. He wants to say that his guys are going to come after you, and they’re going to hit you, and they’re going to hit you and they’re going to hit you and they’re going to try and hit you. My mentality coming into this game is it’s going to be a fight and I’m ready for 12 rounds of it."
But Pierce will be leading an offence missing receivers Terrence Edwards, Chris Matthews and Cory Watson and still struggling to establish some consistency. Watson was hit by back-up safety Dan West near the end of practice on Wednesday and has suffered a hamstring injury that head coach Tim Burke said will keep him out for two to four weeks. Burke, who also called out West Wednesday -- suggesting in a radio interview he would have cut him on the spot if the club had more depth at the position – apologized to his defensive back a day later.
"You never should say anything until after you’ve watched the video," said Burke. "I apologized to Dan for making him the villain. Cory had a part in it, he shouldn’t have stiff armed Dan. When you get highly-motivated individuals with a lot of testosterone and it gets down to everybody trying to prove who is a man and who isn’t... we want to stay away from those situations."
The Bombers have added former Winnipeg Rifles receiver Brett Carter to the roster to take Watson’s place. The 20-year-old Winnipeg-born slotback who grew up idolizing the Bombers officially signed his first contract Wednesday.
"I got a call right after practice (Wednesday) from (assistant GM) Kyle (Walters) and he said come down to my office," said Carter. "It was pretty unreal. And walking down the stairs Coach Burke said, ‘Congratulations and welcome to the roster.’ I can’t put it into words… it’s unreal and I’m just so thankful for this opportunity and I’m looking forward to putting on the Bomber uniform."