Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Player injuries mean question marks in Bombers' lineup

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The Winnipeg Blue Bombers now have a question mark in their secondary to go along with the one on their offensive line.

Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea revealed Tuesday afternoon that starting safety Maurice Leggett — who was a part-time participant in practice at Investors Group Field on Tuesday — has a bad ankle and might not play this Friday in Montreal against the Alouettes.

"Maurice Leggett is questionable," said O’Shea.

O’Shea said Leggett was injured at IGF last Thursday in a Bombers' win over Ottawa. While the player reported yesterday that he’s feeling OK, O’Shea is concerned if the club keeps playing Leggett the injury won’t have a time to fully heal.

Non-import defensive back Donovan Alexander — who missed all of training camp with an injury of his own — took some first-team reps at safety on Tuesday and would be a logical choice to replace Leggett if Leggett can't go.

In addition to a resume that includes a West Division all-star nod at safety while he was with the Edmonton Eskimos, Alexander also has a Canadian passport that might come in handy ratio-wise on Friday if the Bombers decide to go with import Cordaro Howard at left guard in place of the injured Chris Greaves.

Howard took most of the first-team reps at guard on Tuesday and O’Shea said he would decide after viewing some practice film later Tuesday if Howard will get the nod Friday night.

Howard said after practice his most recent experience as a starter was at tackle in the UFL in 2012 and he has not started at guard since 2011. But he says he’s ready to go if called upon.

"I’m adjustable. And I love playing left side — it’s more aggressive," said Howard.

Meanwhile, Bombers' defensive back Demond Washington has been named the CFL special teams player of the week.

Washington ran back a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of Winnipeg’s come from behind 36-28 victory over the Ottawa Redblacks.

Washington is playing in his third season with Winnipeg and now has four returns for TDs with the Bombers. The previous three all came on punt returns.

"Liking special teams would be an understatement — I love them. It’s a passion," Washington said Tuesday.

Despite his prolific output as a returner, Washington is sharing the duties with several others this season while also serving as a starting halfback.

Some head coaches don’t like to use starters as full-time returners, but O’Shea isn’t one of them, pointing out Tuesday that he did exactly that with Chad Owens when he was special teams coach in Toronto.

So why isn’t Washington the club’s full-time returner, O’Shea was asked.

"I don’t know Demond that well yet," said O’Shea. "I don’t know how Demond will react to playing and catching punts and kickoffs and all that. Chad Owens was a very quick study for me on how in-shape Chad Owens was...

I just don’t know Demond as well as I did Chad."

It’s the second week in a row a Bombers player has been named CFL player of the week. QB Drew Willy was named offensive player of the week in Week 1.

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