Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–3–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Forewarned is forearmed, Blue fans

Burke sees potential for slaughter vs. Cats as team will play youngsters only

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Defensive back Demond Washington (left) gives a few tips to fellow DB Marty Markett.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Defensive back Demond Washington (left) gives a few tips to fellow DB Marty Markett. Photo Store

THEY will have the familiar 'W' on their helmets and be nattily attired, as per usual, in blue and gold.

But the team the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are bringing to Guelph this week for the final preseason contest will hardly resemble the club suiting up for the opener on June 27.

So, be forewarned, Bomber fans.

"We could get blasted," said head coach Tim Burke after practice on Monday. "People can't judge our team by the score of this game. I mean, we're going to have 42 guys on this trip and they're mostly going to be rookies, second-year players. But the thing I'm going to tell those guys is, 'Hey, you get to compete against their number-ones, so you get to show whether you belong in this league.'

"I'm hoping we go out and perform really well, but I'm prepared for the opposite."

'We're a lot like family, our DBs as a group. These guys are hungry but the veteran guys are hungry, too. We can't just sit there and let them eat all the meat. We got to get in and get some food, too'

-- Demond Washington

The Bombers fell to the Toronto Argonauts 24-6 in their first preseason game but it's the mission of the coaching staff to make sure they are ready for Game 1 against the Montreal Alouettes.

A number of Bombers did not practice on Monday, including Henoc Muamba, Rene Stephan, Kenny Mainor, Demond Washington and Isaac Anderson. Burke is hoping all of them will be good to go by the opener.

JJ ON DECK? The competition for a main role as a kick returner isn't over but it's down to four men, Jameze Massey, Trevor Kennedy, Demond Washington and Jovon Johnson.

Johnson, who has been previously relied upon as a returner, is ready to do it again, he said Monday.

"I'm always up for returning kicks," Johnson said. "Coach Dickie (Craig Dickenson) will make the call on that. Whatever he wants to do is fine with me but I also told him that don't think that (me being) a seven-year vet, I won't go down and cover kicks and all that, too. I'm open to endless opportunities, do whatever it takes to win."

CARNIVORES: Second-year defensive back Demond Washington, who's out a few days with a minor hamstring tweak, said Monday that sliding into the job that was held by recently released Jonathan Hefney isn't just as simple as younger guys taking over for older ones.

"I see these guys come out and compete every day," Washington said. "We're a lot like family, our DBs as a group. These guys are hungry but the veteran guys are hungry, too. We can't just sit there and let them eat all the meat.

"We got to get in and get some food, too."

Among the candidates to get a crack at the roster and some playing time, in the wake of Hefney's release, is rookie Marty Markett, a player being talked up strongly by head coach Tim Burke.

Sunday, Burke said Markett might be the fastest player on the team but Monday, Markett more or less said while talk -- to reporters, at least -- is nice, it's on the field that counts.

"I'm not exactly sure how that works," Markett said about the shift in the depth chart. "I just come out here, compete and I'm looking forward to making some plays, give it everything I got, leave the rest up to the coaches."

Last week in the exhibition game against Toronto, Markett said he got better as it went.

"I made a few good plays," he said. "Started a little flat earlier in the game but once I settled in and got comfortable, I played pretty good.

"(I've got to) start faster, from the first play. Start the game how I finished, that'd be great."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 18, 2013 D2

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