Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Johnson moving back to the corner

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THE Jovon Johnson-as-a-linebacker experiment is over, six games after it was hatched.

The Bombers will move the veteran defender -- and reigning CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player -- back to cornerback from the outside linebacker spot he had patrolled since the Banjo Bowl in early September.

"I'm always excited to be a corner, that's where I made a name for myself throughout my football career," said Johnson after practice Tuesday. "At the start, I didn't feel that I was put into a tough situation -- it was just a matter of me going out and doing what I needed to do for the team. I've had some success there, but I've also had some games where I wasn't as good.

"I am a much stronger corner, there's no doubt about that. Every team I've ever played for, I've always been either a corner or a return man."

The coaching staff has opted to move Demond Washington, who had been playing primarily as a 'dime' (extra defensive back), into the outside linebacker spot. Johnson, Brandon Stewart and Johnny Sears will all see time at cornerback during Friday's game.

"(Johnson) said he just doesn't feel like he's a natural for that position," said head coach Tim Burke. "He's been a corner for most of his career.

"That's a very similar position to our dime position so (Washington) shouldn't have a big learning curve. It's one of those positions where somebody either fits it or they don't. It's a position where you've got people coming at you from every direction and you're directly involved in the running game as well as the passing game. You're kind of a linebacker, you're kind of a (defensive back). You have to be a really good cover guy but you also have to be smart because you're always adjusting to different formations and personnel groups. So that makes it a really hard position.

"I thought (Johnson) did well. I think he's just a little bit frustrated playing there."

Johnson hasn't been a bust at linebacker -- he had 18 tackles in the six games and had stretches where he was dominant -- but it's just not where he feels most comfy. Nor is it the best use of the Bombers' overall depth.

"It's different to be able to move around and play different spots and be versatile," said Johnson, "but it's also a challenge where you have to go in and take on fullbacks and offensive linemen and make tackles as a defensive back of my stature."

-- Tait

RAY DAY?

Argo QB Ricky Ray (knee) took snaps in Toronto on Tuesday, but did not do any throwing and didn't speak to media afterward. The Boatmen remain optimistic he'll return to action against the Bombers.

HURTS LIST

Both SB Terrence Edwards (foot) and S Ian Logan (ankle) did not practise on Tuesday but are expected to suit up Friday. WR Kito Poblah was back on the field working with the No. 1 offence.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 17, 2012 C3

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