Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Blue DB takes it on chin

Washington not at all upset with coach's critique

  • Print

It takes a steel spine to stand before a throng of media and take one on the chin, so hand it to Demond Washington, 'cause that's exactly what he did.

After practice on Monday, the 25-year-old defensive back smiled for the cameras. Yeah, he knew head coach Tim Burke called him out after Friday night's tilt, just a single funky play in what has otherwise been an encouraging individual campaign. It was in the dying minutes of the game, when the desperate Eskimos threw on third and 10. Washington leaped for the interception, but the ball tipped off his fingers and landed in Fred Stamps' hands.

It was a weird and lucky play for the Edmonton receiver, an unfortunate one for Washington. That night, with the wounds still gaping from the game's heart-rending end, Burke bluntly said a more veteran defender would have just knocked the ball down instead, and thus sealed the Bombers win.

On Monday, the coach tempered those comments with more sense of Washington's point-of-view. "It was tough," Burke said. "The ball got on him so fast, and he had his back turned when the ball was thrown. Got his head around just as it was getting there... You just have to be aware of the situation before the ball's snapped, so when the football does surprise you, you're thinking 'knockdown' instead of 'intercept."

Still, whether the critique was fair or not, Washington -- a firecracker surprise for the Bombers in his sophomore year -- took that comment straight up, without a hint of hurt.

"I'm a football player, I have big shoulders, and I can carry anything on them," he said. "I'm a man. If I make a mistake, I'm big enough to take up my blame from it, and just move on from it."

He laughed a little then.

"I'm not down about it. I'm going to come out there, you're gonna see another player this week. It's Demond."

Yeah, you gotta like that confidence, especially considering where the Bombers are at. Because here's a simple fact: even if Max Hall settles into the starting pivot gig, even if the offensive line firms up, even if Chris Matthews and Chad Simpson and all the other injured veterans get healthy, this Bombers team won't win unless the defence is on fire. It can't be just a couple of guys, though, the margins of error are too slim.

So some changes could be coming, Burke said, to get the defence consistently clicking. How about this for one of them: Jovon Johnson slid into safety on Friday, taking over for the injured Cauchy Muamba. It's not his usual spot, but he's been around this defence so long and knows it so well, it made sense to try. And Johnson, to some mild surprise, looked right at home back there on his own.

Whether Johnson had enough physicality for the position was in question, but on Friday he tied Alex Suber to lead the team in tackles, with six. He also knocked down a pass, and recovered a fumble that Suber had forced and took it 48 yards straight back to the house for the Bombers' third touchdown.

"I thought he did really well," Burke said, sounding pretty upbeat on that after practice Monday. "He came up and tackled really well. He was around the football. Made a lot of plays that you'd like your free safety to make."

Cauchy Muamba will be back in the lineup this week, but Burke said he's been toying with the idea of keeping Johnson as an option at safety. Maybe try him there sometimes, maybe the non-import Muamba at others, depending on what the play is and how many Canadians are on the field.

"We're going to try to rotate some guys, just to try to get the right match-ups," Burke said. "Try to take advantage of what guys do best."

"At this point, I'm practicing for both just in case, and go from there," Johnson said. Moving to safety from defensive back was "different," he agreed, but he thinks his defensive instincts helped him. Plus, for a guy turning 30 this winter, maybe it's not such a bad thing to have the whole attack playing out in front of you.

"Hopefully playing that spot can prolong my career for about 10 more years," he said, with a laugh.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 24, 2013 C4

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


  • 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 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 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.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Jets vs. Ducks Series promo

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Bright sunflowers lift their heads toward the south east skies in a  large sunflower field on Hwy 206 and #1 Thursday Standup photo. July 31,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • A water lily in full bloom is reflected in the pond at the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden Tuesday afternoon. Standup photo. Sept 11,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)

View More Gallery Photos

Soccer: A Love Story Series

2013 Mazda 5 GX AWD at

NHL's P.K. Subban grew up with the Beautiful Game

He grew up playing soccer with his brothers, and says skills learned in soccer are transferable to hockey



Will Connor McDavid make the Edmonton Oilers a playoff team?

View Results

Ads by Google