THE Blue Bombers brought in defensive back Bo Smith on Tuesday to put a veteran presence on the back end, but the move also signals a change in philosophy -- or rather, an alignment of one.
In the past, head coach Tim Burke acknowledged, the team might have brought back guys who were cut in training camp.
"That was somebody else's philosophy," he said, with a knowing smirk. "The way we feel now, I'm talking Kyle (Walters, acting GM) and myself... we're going to build our team, and not just rely on bringing our own guys back... If we can do anything to upgrade our team, we will.
"We're going to do whatever it takes to bring in players that are going to get us to the Grey Cup. We're going to go through free agency, we're going to draft better, we're going to bring guys up from the U.S. We're not afraid to take guys who were cut by other teams. We'll do whatever it takes to get to the next level. I think Saskatchewan is a great model for building their team up."
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It won't help the Bombers' offensive woes that wideout Chris Matthews is down for at least four weeks with a strained tendon in his foot. At least they have lanky 6-4 receiver Doug Pierce ready to step in.
"I think Doug will do a good job," Burke said. "He's a big target, and he goes up and catches the ball in a crowd. He's similar to Chris in that respect."
Also on the injury front, recently demoted lineman Steve Morley and slotback Terrence Edwards sat out Tuesday's practice with some bumps and bruises, but were expected to be back today.
Meanwhile, offensive linemen Glenn January and Shannon Boatman left Tuesday's practice early, after getting sick in the sweltering sun.
"Two guys from Texas let the heat get to them," Burke quipped.
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Burke isn't the type to candy-coat his thoughts on anything, particularly when it comes to the Bomber defence. An example, from Tuesday:
"I didn't think our D-line played really well in the last game and I didn't think our secondary played really well," said Burke. "And then match that with the linebackers who didn't play real well either. We have to play better. I told those guys, 'Here's our identity and we've got to do it. We've got to get it done or somebody's going to go and it's either going to be me or them.' "