Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–10–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Slow-starting Matthews not worried about low production

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AT 6-5 and with a wingspan seemingly long enough to change the lights at the top of Investors Group Field, Chris Matthews makes for a big target.

Really big.

And so it must be a bit disconcerting for the Bombers offensive minds to have to scroll well down the list of CFL receivers -- down past 32 names to be exact -- to find Matthews listed with four catches for 41 yards and one touchdown.

And, just for the record, all those catches came in the season-opening loss to Montreal.

"It's just two games in... what have we got, 16 more games?," said Matthews after practice Wednesday. "It can easily jump up right away. It just takes one game.

"I'm just doing what the coaches tell me to do and what's best for the team. I have no problems with doing what I've been doing."

But as head coach Tim Burke explained, it's more of what the Alouettes defence did over the first two weeks that made Matthews less of a target.

"Sometimes it's just the coverages they are in, your reads take you away from him," Burke said. "Sometimes, like for example in the last game, they were blitzing us so much we couldn't get the ball out to him.

"We either were not getting the ball off at all or were throwing it away or were trying to hit somebody on shorter routes. That kind of took him out of it. We've tried to put him in more positions this week where he can get the ball."

That would be a good idea, especially for an offence that is still working to carve out some sort of identity. After all, Matthews was the CFL's Most Outstanding Rookie a year ago after pulling in 81 passes for 1,192 yards and seven TDs.

And so defences are going to spend a lot more time fixating on No. 13 than they might have in his bust-out rookie campaign.

"We've really only played Montreal so far, but during pre-season Toronto looked like they were really trying to focus on me a lot," Matthews said. "When I went go out on the two-receiver side, the weak side, they were always pointing at me and saying, '13's on this side.' They're cognizant of where I'm at.

"We hit a couple key plays last week and now it's time to add to it. The coaching staff has come up with a great game plan for this week and I feel real confident about it. We've got a talented group of receivers here and I think what's happening is defences are playing mostly zone on us because they don't want to get hit for the big play.

"It'll come. I'm not worried."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 11, 2013 D3

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