December 6, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
-- Bombers head coach Tim Burke said Monday receiver Chris Matthews' status is unclear for Thursday's season-opener vs. Montreal.
Matthews "tweaked" his ankle late in Sunday's practice.
"We know it's not broken, he didn't have much swelling, so who knows?" Burke said Monday. "It's going to be day-to-day."
Asked to categorize Matthews' status, Burke added: "Questionable. That's in between probably and doubtful."
If Matthews can't go on Thursday, Isaac Anderson will be ready to replace him, Burke said.
"He (Matthews) creates a lot of mismatches with short DBs and he's got pretty good speed. He's deceiving because he takes those long strides. He doesn't seem like he's going that fast until you're trying to cover him.
"Isaac has a lot of good qualities, too. He's ultra-fast and quick and does a lot of good things with the ball. If it is Isaac and not Chris, I think we'll be fine."
Also missing Monday's workout was offensive lineman Steve Morley, whose back was bothering him. Burke said he expected Morley will be fine to return to practice today.
-- Sharpening up: Leaning a little grumpy on Sunday because of his team's practice execution, Burke was in a better frame of mind about the two-plus hours of work spent on Monday.
"Today was a lot better," said Burke, who wasn't without a brief bark or two Monday. "Part of it was that we were just getting back into game-week routine and they forgot how fast a pace that was and how demanding a pace it was. It's really physically demanding as well.
"There are no breaks built in and you're moving from one drill right to the next and sometimes that means guys have to go like 10 to 12 repetitions in a row."
-- Jade, it's time: Receiver Jade Etienne will be in a starting slotback spot for Thursday's opener. Burke said he's pleased for the third-year product of Regina.
"I'm really happy for him," Burke said. "He's really worked hard in the off-season, at training camp and mini-camp and all of that. He's matured greatly from when he first got here."
Etienne has taken advantage of his opportunity, some of it created when slotback Kito Poblah went out with an injury.
"It was up in the air when Kito got hurt," Burke said. "He's got all the reps now. If he goes out and does a great job, it's probably his job."
Hurry up already
The countdown to the opener can't go fast enough for some. "I'm ready to get this season going. I'm tired of competing against the same people week in and week out. This is going to be a good change and I know we're prepared." -- defensive lineman Alex Hall
The Bombers appear to have decided on their kick returners to start the season. Jovon Johnson and Demond Washington will return punts, while Will Ford has been tabbed to return kickoffs.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 25, 2013 C4