THERE are two emotions veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers punter Mike Renaud must be dealing with today:
- The disappointment of pulling a hamstring in the pre-game warm-up of last Thursday's loss to the Edmonton Eskimos -- an injury head coach Mike O'Shea said Sunday could keep him out several weeks.
- The fear of knowing there are no guarantees in professional football. And rookie Lirim Hajrullahu, who filled in admirably for Renaud and finished with a 45.2-yard average, certainly looked capable enough to do both the punting and place-kicking full time.
So confident are the coaches in the rookie, there are no plans to bring in another punter for the weeks ahead.
"His tunnel vision is pretty good for a young guy," said O'Shea. "He's pretty focused at what he does. He's kind of oblivious to the other stuff going on around him. It's important for a kicker to be like that, especially a young guy.
"When he found out he was going to punt it was, 'OK, fine.' I thought he was pretty effective."
O'Shea also provided a few other injury updates in advance of today, when the Bombers return to the field:
- SB Cory Watson (hamstring) is still out;
- OL Chris Greaves (knee) will participate in some drill work and maybe progress to practising later in the week;
- WR Aaron Kelly (knee) is to be determined.
Defensive backs Alex Suber and Moe Leggett, both of whom resumed work last week, have been green-lighted for action, but whether they get back on the roster will depend on the coaches.
O'Shea waved off concerns about QB Drew Willy -- who conducted his post-game press conference with a bag of ice on his ankle -- saying:
"There's not one professional football player that the day after training camp starts doesn't need to put ice somewhere. There's nothing I'm worried about with Drew Willy... You're 100 per cent a few days before camp and then from that point on, you're never 100 per cent. The trick is to find guys that if they're at 82 (per cent), you get the full 82."
NOTABLE NUMBER: Eskimo QB Mike Reilly ran 10 times for 96 yards in Edmonton's win, thanks to some tough, gritty scampering outside of the pocket and some shoddy tackling. Interestingly, seven of Reilly's 10 carries -- for 72 yards -- came with the Esks on second down. Five of those seven carries helped extend drives.
"They don't talk as much about missed tackles as much as they talk about effort from everybody else to make sure a missed tackle doesn't turn into a big gain," said O'Shea. "If we're giving great effort away from the ball getting to the ball then the missed tackle doesn't really have the same effect."
STAMPS SAYS: Eskimo receiver Fred Stamps took a nasty shot from Bomber defender Demond Washington Thursday and left the stadium on a stretcher. He told Edmonton reporters Sunday he is good to go this week against the Calgary Stampeders.
As for his take on the Washington hit:
"He just came out of nowhere. A pretty good shot. No hard feelings or anything like that. It's football and so you're going to take shots like that. I've taken plenty of hits over the years so, nothing major."
PERFECT TIMING: The Lions announced Sunday they will honour the career of Geroy Simon, who will receive the highest recognition the club can bestow upon a former player, by being added to the Ring of Honour during halftime.
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