It was back to work day for the Bombers after the bye and with the meat of the 2010 schedule staring them in the face.
Among the notable developments Tuesday:
-QB Buck Pierce looked very sharp passing and his touch on the long ball was evident. But he did not do much roll out or stray too far from the pocket and until he proves he can do that with no after-effects on his knee then head coach Paul LaPolice won’t declare him the starter. Expect that announcement – who takes the first snap against Saskatchewan on Sunday – to come either Thursday or Friday. And as much as everyone in Bomberland is keen on having Pierce return ASAP, they won’t rush him back as they did a couple of weeks ago and see his effectiveness limited.
Said LaPolice on Pierce: "I thought he threw the ball tremendously but, again, I have to watch the film more closely today and see how he moves because in fairness to him he’s got to be able to move to be able to play. Part of his strengths is his mobility and if he doesn’t have that you’ve got to be cautious in putting him back in."
Interestingly, there seemed to be a big deal Monday made of Steven Jyles and a rib injury, first reported as broken by a media outlet, then bruised. Jyles shrugged it off Tuesday, although he is wearing a flak jacket.
-To all those Adarius Bowman haters out there who want the receiver tarred and feathered after dropping two potential touchdown passes against Montreal, a question: who do you replace him with? Fact is, LaPolice & Co. love his upside and the boss said Bowman still has a lot of leeway with him, especially with Terence Jeffers-Harris likely at least a week away from returning and no new recruits – if and when they arrive – likely to push him in the immediate future.
"Over the past two years Adarius has been one of the best receivers on this team in some ways," LaPolice said. "He has had some consistency problems but those are things every person fights through. The hard thing for a quarterback and a receiver and a defensive backs is when they make a mistake everyone in the stadium sees it.
"But he’s got to fight through those and he said himself, ‘I’ve got to play more consistently coach.’"
-Interesting note via former Bomber media man Arash Madani, now with Sportsnet: today marks the one-year anniversary of the club placing PacMan Jones on their neg list. And while his potential arrival here brought on a feeding frenzy, it’s worth noting Jones is likely to make the Cincinnati Bengals lineup.
Head coach Marvin Lewis that Jones would be given a breather because of overuse during the preseason. "I think he's due a little rest," Lewis said. "He's had a very, very good camp."
-Finally, a surprising move seeing the Bombers shift Brendon LaBatte to left tackle at practice. That says two things to me: 1. The Bombers figure the gritty guard is a better fit out there than Steve Morley, who started on the edge last season but was shifted to guard this year and 2. Rookie Chris Greaves, the draft pick who arrived here in camp as a D-lineman, has made a quick transition across the line of scrimmage. Greaves was with the No. 1 offence on Tuesday, lined up at LaBatte’s left guard spot.
"Brendon’s an athlete," said LaPolice. "I think he’s one of the best guards in the league so it’s easy for some of those types of players to make that kind of transition outside. He was pretty excited about it. He was like, ‘Coach, I’m fine. I’ll be great out there.’ He enjoyed the change and he said out ont he practice field that it was really fun for him to be out there. He’s a good athlete and that’s what you need out there."
What isn’t being said is this: if LaBatte proves he can handle rush ends at left tackle it only makes him that much more attractive to NFL scouts. And losing a Canadian cornerstone like him would be crippling to the Bombers.