Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Denmark picks up his game in recent weeks

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THERE have not been a lot of bright spots on offence for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2013, which is why the play of Clarence Denmark has stood out in recent weeks.

The third-year Bombers receiver has led his team in receptions and yards in each of the last three games, hauling down a total of 18 catches for 244 yards. What's more, Denmark's become the closest thing the Bombers have to a "go-to" receiver, with six of those 18 catches coming on second down.

It's a dramatic turn of fortunes for Denmark, who had fallen out of favour with his coaches earlier this season and was almost benched at one point, his starting job saved only when Chris Matthews went down with a back injury in Week 4.

"I just want to try and get a little better every week -- and I think that's what I've done," said Denmark, who has 612 receiving yards this season and is within striking distance of the career-best 818 yards he put up in his rookie season in the CFL in 2011.

Given the Bombers' epic struggles to muster any traction on offence this season, Denmark's production is even more impressive.

"I want to go out there and prove I'm a good player in this league. I can only do my part. I can't control anything else. And that's what I'm trying to do," said Denmark.

"I think I can be one of the best receivers in this league. I have great confidence in myself and I practice and play that way every week."

-- -- --

The Bombers are riding a six-game losing streak on the road but head coach Tim Burke sees a path to victory on Monday in Montreal against the Alouettes.

"I think if everything can come together -- if offensively we can have a good day and defensively get back to where we were playing... then we can win the game. We beat Montreal before (in week 2) and that was with (Anthony) Calvillo. We can still have a chance to beat these guys this week."

Calvillo, the Als veteran starter, has missed most of the 2013 season with concussion symptoms and the Als will once again be led on Monday by backup Josh Neiswander, whose 102.8 QB efficiency rating the last three weeks is second in the CFL only to the 108.3 posted by Calgary's Kevin Glenn.

Meanwhile, on the injury front, the Bombers got good news on Saturday at Investors Group Field when injured defensive back Demond Washington checked out OK at practice and was pronounced healthy and fit to play on Monday.

And Burke said he's eager to see new defensive end J.D. Griggs make his CFL debut in place of CFL sack leader Alex Hall, who was traded by the Bombers to Saskatchewan last Sunday.

"I will be interested to see how Griggs does. I think he's got quite a bit of talent," said Burke.

-- Paul Wiecek

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 13, 2013 B6

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