Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–10–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Woods' improvement let axe fall on Garrett

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Aaron Woods -- brought down here by Stamps Chris Randle (33) and Matt Walter (14) at home July 26 -- is steadily improving, his coach says.

JESSICA BURTNICK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

Aaron Woods -- brought down here by Stamps Chris Randle (33) and Matt Walter (14) at home July 26 -- is steadily improving, his coach says. Photo Store

They have better things still in mind for new kick returner Aaron Woods, Bombers head coach Tim Burke said Thursday.

Woods, a 27-year-old out of Portland State, joined the team last month and in his first CFL action in Week 5 vs. Calgary, returned two punts for 19 yards and four kickoffs for 64 yards.

In his second game against B.C., the punt number (five for 31 yards) didn't wow anybody but Woods' kickoff returns saw a sharp spike to five for 111 yards.

"We did see improvement," Burke said. "I saw a lot of improvement in practice before that week and then again this week.

"I think he'll get even better this week. It takes a little bit of time to learn the nuances of the CFL for a returner. Returing is returning but there's so many different rules and different situations that can come up. So those are all things you have to be aware of.

"So just think, a guy coming up, those are all going through his mind in addition to just catching and trying to run with hit. As you go along, you just become more comfortable with all those different scenarios."

Woods' improvement and designated-import label was one factor earlier this week when the team released running back Chris Garrett, the coach said.

Defence still stingy

 

Under great duress in their last game at B.C., the Blue Bombers' defence surrendered only 10 second-half points in the 27-20 loss to the Lions.

And it wasn't because the game was full of garbage time. The contest was tied 17-17 in the final 11 minutes.

And on the entire game against an elite quarterback in Travis Lulay, Winnipeg gave up just 69 yards rushing and 315 yards of net offence.

Is it a sign of things to come?

"We just played more to our strengths," defensive back Jovon Johnson said. "The coach is allowing us to do more things (with) our personnel, especially in the secondary. So that really helps us out a lot, allows us to make more plays. And our front seven, everybody knows what they're capable of. As long as we don't have breakdowns in the secondary, we'll be fine."

Halfback Demond Washington, who's back in tonight after missing the B.C. game, thinks the Bombers defence could well be a spark for things to come.

"Right now we've got to have a positive attitude, go out and be fast and physical," Washington said. "We've got to hit everything that moves, play our game.

"The guys just have to do what we know how to do and the offence is going to come on. It looked great this week. I think we'll put it all together this week.

"It's like it's slowing down for us all. We know how to play off each other. We know what to expect from each other and we're coming together as a defence. We're going to be one of the best defences at the end of this year."

 

-- Tim Campbell

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 16, 2013 C7

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