December 9, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
ON the matter of the length of Buck Pierce's stay in tonight's game, Bombers head coach Tim Burke revealed a practical but little-known practice that is apparently more common than many thought before pre-season contests.
Burke said he's had a recent conversation with Argos head coach Scott Milanovich about what might go on in the game.
Burke insisted there's no need to be suspicious, that's it's not what you might think.
"We do (talk), so there are no surprises," Burke said. "Like are you going to try to block a punt? Are you going to kick an on-side kick? What do we have to be ready for?
"Scott and I are friends, too. We're all just trying to get to the season with the best team possible."
The exact meaning of that, and the entire topic, is that evaluation in this short window of exhibitions games is a high priority and it's a common goal for both teams when the games don't actually count.
The original line of questioning was about Pierce, and Burke's repeated statement he'll take his No. 1 quarterback out of the game quickly if the Argos blitz on every down.
There will be blitzes, Burke said, but of course Milanovich wasn't saying just how many.
"It's not that I don't think we can handle the blitz. But early in the season, the defences are way ahead. They know where they're going. Protections are always behind defences early in the season. That's why you see more sacks early in the year than you do later in the year."
TONIGHT'S pre-season game pits the Grey Cup champions, the Argos (9-9), against the team that shared the CFL's worst 2012 record, the Bombers (6-12). The teams meet for real in Week 4 of the season, in Winnipeg.
FORECASTS and Wininpeg's new stadium haven't exactly been hand-in-hand over the last two years but for one night, tonight, experts lead us to believe it'll be mainly sunny with a clear sky for game time, with comfortable temperatures and the likelihood of a breeze you can feel from the north.
If that's correct, then the wind figures to blow straight down between the roof sections on either side of the stadium.
AS of Tuesday, only a few tickets remained for tonight's 7 p.m. start. Among the seats you can buy at Investors Group Field, early reviews are there aren't many bad ones.
DEFINITE injury scratches for Winnipeg tonight include Terrence Edwards, Wallace Miles, Rory Kohlert, Taylor Renaud, Johnny Sears, Sam Pope, Henoc Muamba, Dexter Davis and Zach Anderson.
Burke said this week that Sears, out with knee trouble, might not be ready for Week 1 of the season, or more accurately, he might be back to practice by then but not to the point where the coaching staff is likely to be comfortable with him in a game.
It's sounding now like Week 2 is more likely for the linebacker.
IF Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien indeed has weighed 302 pounds recently, then the Bombers still have eight players on their roster tipping the scales at a bigger number.
They include linemen Paul Swiston, Tyson Pencer, Andre Douglas, Shannon Boatman, Chris Greaves, Aderious Simmons, Chris Kowalczuk and Justin Sorenson.
-- Tim Campbell
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 12, 2013 D3