THE Bombers ran practice Tuesday with a shuffled offensive line, which includes three Americans for the first time: Glenn January and newcomers Jarvis Jones and Dan Knapp.
Last week, with Steve Morley and Paul Swiston both out with injury, the Bombers tried Canadian Tyson Pencer. But he's is "still not ready for prime time," head coach Tim Burke said.
Offensive-line coach Pat del Monaco was also straightforward, noting coaches weren't pleased with how Pencer stopped his feet when he made contact.
"There's some things we needed to see from Tyson that he didn't show us," del Monaco said. "He fell short on that... He has the potential; he's got to push through the door though."
Now, with veteran January and the two new Americans, "we're getting better athletes on the field," Burke said, even if Jones and Knapp still have barely a week of CFL football experience and Knapp has never played inside. "We were happy with the way the two new guys played last week... The good part is we're more athletic; the bad part is not very experienced."
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Jones, a 6-7 Texan who came to Winnipeg last week as a free agent, described joining the Bombers as a "gift from God." The talent level in the CFL was also a bit of a surprise, he said. "I guess I kind of underestimated some people," he said. "...So next time, I'm going in there studying more than I did last week and trying to make an impact."
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The hope, of course, is that a stronger offensive line will bolster the run game, which was strangled last week by the Edmonton defence. That's not running back Will Ford's fault, the coach said. "There was penetration on the offensive line several times last week," Burke said. "It made him have to cut back earlier than he wanted to... We had so much penetration at guard that it kinda screwed our run game."