Blue Bomber Report Record: 3–1–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Beginner earns an A in B.C.

Stewart shines in SAM debut, faces new test

  • Print

It's a crash course at a new position, and Brandon Stewart is a quick study.

It wasn't enough for the freshly minted Bombers strong-side (SAM) linebacker to play his first game at the position against Travis Lulay and the defending Grey Cup champion B.C. Lions last week. In front of him now, the former cornerback gets his second-ever start at the new spot against Anthony Calvillo, the most prolific passer in professional football.

Two weeks of practice, two games against the CFL's best. When is the final exam?

"It's like being a rookie all over again. I'm a rookie vet right now, so it's been kind of fun," Stewart said as the Bombers continued preparations for the Montreal Alouettes.

"I just want to play and help the team, so I'll go wherever they want, and going up against two of the top (quarterbacks) to start, that's just part of the challenge.

"It was good to get that first game out of the way," Stewart added.

The returns on Stewart's first game at SAM were positive. Defensive co-ordinator Tim Burke, the man who felt the Bombers needed an upgrade in the position (which led to the release of Clint Kent after camp), said Stewart was "above average" against the Lions, and projects the 26-year-old to grow into one of the better cover linebackers in the CFL.

"I thought he'd make a bunch of mistakes, but he didn't," Burke said. "He didn't have one mental mistake. He made a couple read mistakes and a couple technique mistakes, but I can live with that for his first game.

"You're going to see him make more plays from that SAM position than what we've had."

Stewart isn't the only new face in the Winnipeg linebacking corps learning on the fly these days. Second-year Dustin Doe made his first defensive start against B.C. and will be in the weak-side spot again against the Alouettes, filling in for an injured Marcellus Bowman. Pierre-Luc Labbe, in his fifth CFL season, has only seen a handful of action at middle linebacker before being named the starter this year.

The initial course load is interesting for this group: The first two quarterbacks the Bombers face this season provide contrasting styles, with Lulay as the prototypical CFL quarterback who can burn you a multitude of ways. He loves to throw it to all areas of the field and spread the ball around to the playmakers, while -- and this is what makes him so dangerous -- looking to run for a first down through the middle of the field.

Tucking the ball under the arm is the last option for Calvillo. He's a throw-first, throw-it-away-second type of quarterback, and he's not looking to leave the comforts of the pocket too often. But he's still the pivot that presents the biggest challenge to a defence, according to Burke.

"He's a better scrambler than people give him credit for," Burke said. "He's not fast, but he knows when to go... But it comes back to the way he can deliver the ball. He's so accurate with his throws."

Burke said the Bombers linebackers will have their hands full with the Montreal offence, specifically with the play-action coming out of the backfield.

"B.C. was a good start for this group," he said. "Montreal will be a better test."

adam.wazny@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @wazoowazny

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 5, 2012 D3

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

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Cheap summer weekends

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A goose heads for shade in the sunshine Friday afternoon at Woodsworth Park in Winnipeg - Day 26– June 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A goose comes in for a landing Thursday morning through heavy fog on near Hyw 59 just north of Winnipeg - Day 17 Of Joe Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge - May 24, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

 

Poll

Who are the real Bombers?

View Results

Ads by Google