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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hogs take jumbo-size hit

Greaves will miss 'a few weeks' with knee injury

Posted: 07/7/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

Last Modified: 07/7/2014 7:15 AM | Updates

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The Blue Bombers offensive line is working on providing more protection for quarterback Drew Willy, who has been sacked eight times in two games.

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

The Blue Bombers offensive line is working on providing more protection for quarterback Drew Willy, who has been sacked eight times in two games.

Mike O'Shea is hedging his bets when it comes to the exact roll call of the men in charge of keeping quarterback Drew Willy off the turf this Friday in Montreal.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach said Sunday left guard Chris Greaves will be out more than one week after suffering an injury to his right knee in the second quarter of last Thursday's 36-28 victory over the Ottawa Redblacks at Investors Group Field.

After Greaves was helped off the field, rookie Matthias Goossen, the Bombers' first-round draft pick this spring, filled in at the left guard spot the rest of the way.

"He's going to be out a few weeks," O'Shea said of Greaves. "Hurt his knee.

"He's a tough guy. He's going to get back as soon as he possibly can. He's not going to be one to rest."

'We'll see. I guess we're going to work the rotation to see what gives us the best chance to win this game'

-- O'Shea being noncommittal on what the O-line will look like against the Alouettes

Goossen staying in Greaves' spot is one option the Bombers have: Another is moving Goossen to centre and Steve Morley from centre to guard, but O'Shea was committing to nothing on Sunday.

"We'll see," the coach said. "I guess we're going to work the rotation to see what gives us the best chance to win this game."

The mix could also include Canadian Paul Swiston, who missed training camp with an injury. He was activated for last week's game but didn't dress.

"He's another one (option) -- game shape is different," O'Shea said. "From his rehab through missing training camp, he's practising, that's for sure."

The overall goal will be to find a way to improve on the eight sacks the 2-0 Bombers have allowed in the season's first two weeks.

On that front, Willy, who was knocked around on Thursday, is doing just fine, O'Shea said.

The coach also downplayed the issues that saw last week's contact on Willy, clearly not interested in pointing any fingers at the offensive line after a second straight game with more than 300 yards passing and a night the Bombers had three rushing touchdowns.

"I wouldn't say they had a real tough day," O'Shea said. "I'm sure there's corrections to be made and I'm sure they're not pleased. Any time a quarterback gets hit, none of them are going to be happy, not just the interior.

"Those guys are always searching for the perfect game in terms of keeping their quarterback clean. So in any given game there are going to be points of the game they're not satisfied with. We're finishing up Week 2. We'll make the corrections and move on. These guys keep on learning about themselves, about what they can and cannot do and what Bob (Wylie, offensive line coach) and Charbs (Paul Charbonneau, his assistant) can give them for study habits. They keep on growing as a group and that's a good step."

With Greaves out, the value of having a viable first-round pick who's ready to play -- that's Goossen -- will be important to the Bombers.

"I think being thrown in at guard, he did fairly well," O'Shea said. "He's out there working after practice, getting a few things ironed out. You always know he's going to battle. Physically he's going to try to battle guys all the time, so you never worry about that.

"It's when you throw a guy in and if the assignment isn't just second nature for him, what you need is a guy who's going to battle and he's certainly that guy."

Filling holes for injured players will be one recurring theme for this week's game vs. the Alouettes.

"It would be nice to continue on with the same roster," O'Shea said. "Every team likes that continuity. It certainly helps production. But it is football and it doesn't usually happen that way so we'll figure out that situation as the week goes on and we'll be ready for Montreal."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 7, 2014 C3

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Updated on Monday, July 7, 2014 at 7:15 AM CDT: Replaces photo, fixes cutlines

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