Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Going by the numbers

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COMPARE at your peril, but there are some... let's call them interesting numbers from the CFL statistics this week when it comes to Monday's quarterbacks Travis Lulay of the Lions and Justin Goltz of the Bombers.

Admittedly, Goltz's sample size is small, with just one career start -- last week in the 37-24 loss to Calgary.

Start No. 2 comes Monday.

In CFL passing efficiency this season, Lulay comes in with a 96.1 rating on the strength of seven touchdown passes and four interceptions.

Goltz? Not that much lower at 90.8, with two TDs and one pick.

Within the numbers might be something relevant -- that Lulay has a rating of 117.1 in the second half this season, while Goltz is 77.0 in that department.

INJURY UPDATE

SOME material changes to the Bombers lineup this week include the likely return of wide receiver Chris Matthews, who's been fighting through some back pain.

"I know one thing -- we're going to try to get him the ball a lot more," head coach Tim Burke said. "We really missed his presence out there the last couple of weeks."

Returning to the defence will be nickelback Desia Dunn and defensive back Jeremy McGee. Dunn has missed two games, McGee's been out since Week 1, and Burke is thrilled about both.

"I think Desia is playing... best of all the DBs, either the best or second-best," the coach said. "So having him back, especially in a critical position like nickel, which involves a lot of different skill sets, also a lot of mental work, he's done a great job when he's been in there."

Out this week is defender Demond Washington, and Burke revealed Friday defensive lineman Ryan Lucas is on the shelf for four months with a partially torn quadriceps from a shady hit last week.

"I'm not going to get fined for making a comment," Burke said.

RIGHT IN THE KISSER

DURING Friday's practice at Investors Group Field, an errant incomplete pass from the main field bounced once and smacked unsuspecting placekicker Justin Palardy, stretching at the sidelines, right between the eyes.

Palardy left the field and returned a short time later with cotton or some such blockage shoved up his nostrils.

He continued with practice, including some accurate field goals.

"A nosebleed," Palardy said after practice, none too pleased to be asked about it. "A ball in the face. It is what it is. Nothing to do with football."

Burke, asked later about it, said: "Yeah, he just had his pride hurt."

FIRST AND MORE PLEASE

LAST week against the Stamps, the Bombers averaged 3.4 yards on first down, one of their poorest performances of the season.

Winnipeg is last in this category in the CFL through five games, with an average of 4.9 yards.

It's been the subject for conversation this week, particularly between Burke and new starting quarterback Justin Goltz.

"Yes, we have," Burke confirmed. "We definitely are working harder to gain more yards on first down and have more success on first down. So we're going to be going to more high-percentage passes on first down. Without giving away the game plan, we've definitely stepped up our first-down game strategy, I'll put it that way."

-- Tim Campbell

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 3, 2013 C4

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