Blue Bomber Report Record: 3–15–0

Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Jovon Johnson takes on new role as Bombers linebacker

  • Print

Jovon Johnson, who made CFL history in 2011 as the first defensive back to ever win the league’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player award, is now a linebacker.

Johnson was unveiled during practice at Canad Inns Stadium Wednesday as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers new strong-side linebacker, a dramatic move head coach Tim Burke says is just about getting the best use out of his team’s talent but which is surely also testimony to just how desperate things have become for the Bombers.

With Johnson at strong-side linebacker, the Bombers secondary now has Brandon Stewart -- who used to be the team’s SAM -- at one corner position and Demond Washington at the other corner. Jonathan Hefney and Alex Suber remain the half-backs, as does Ian Logan at safety.

Burke said after practice that the move was Johnson’s idea and he likes the potential of the shuffle. "Some of it relates to Saskatchewan, some of it is something that I’ve just been thinking about as we’ve gone along. So now’s a pretty good time to make that change."

Johnson said he’s willing to do anything at this point to right the Bombers’s ship. "At the end of the day, I’m all for whatever the team needs. And at this point, we’re looking for an answer. So why not put me closer to the ball and give me an opportunity to make plays."

Wednesday was the team’s first full practice since a humiliating 52-0 defeat to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina last Sunday and in advance of the rematch this Sunday in the Banjo Bowl.

While Burke was downplaying the significance of the Johnson position move, he did make clear that he feels the club needs an attitude adjustment right now -- hinting for a first time at a "negative atmosphere" that he believes has become a problem in the locker room.

"I talked to the team about we’ve got to get rid of the negative atmosphere here," Burke told reporters. "Whether there’s some carry-over from Paul being dismissed or whether it’s the four road games in a row or the stadium -- whatever the negativity is, we’ve got to get over that and move on to the positives and feel good about ourselves. And go out there and feed on each other’s energy."

Burke’s comments are the first time that anyone with the Bombers management -- including former head coach Paul LaPolice -- had suggested that delays in getting the team into its new stadium this season and the four-game road trip to start the year that was precipitated by those delays may have created some hard feelings within the team and had an impact on the field.

"What would it have been like," Burke wondered, "if, okay, we had come home after four games to this brand new stadium and maybe there might have been some energy from that -- who knows?," said Burke. "It’s hard to tell."

Burke was asked if players had been openly complaining about some of the team’s failings off the field this season. "I think so, a little bit," Burke replied. "I just told them -- that’s got to stop. And it’s up to your teammates to hold you to that standard that we’re not going to do that kind of stuff. I challenged the leadership to take charge of that and nip it in the bud. If there ever is anymore, let’s get it out. And then I’m going to handle it if it gets to me."

 

FIELD NOTES -- The right side of the Bombers offensive line is a mess right now, with tackle Jordan Taormina (stinger) and guard Steve Morley (ankle) both sitting out practice on Wednesday. Burke sounded optimistic, but said only that both men are "possible" for this Sunday's game. In their absence, Shannon Boatman played tackle and Paul Swiston played guard on the first team Wednesday.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Eddie the fat cat has dropped two pounds on diet

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 101130-Winnipeg Free Press Columns of light reach skyward to the stars above Sanford Mb Tuesday night. The effect is produced by streetlights refracting through ice crystals suspended in the air on humid winter nights. Stand Up.....
  • Winnipeg’s best friend the dragon fly takes a break at English Gardens in Assiniboine Park Wednesday- A dragon fly can eat  food equal to its own weight in 30 minutes-Standup photo- June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who do you think will win NHL's Calder Trophy for rookie of the year?

View Results

Ads by Google