July 7, 2020

Winnipeg
16° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Neufeld, Matthews may be MIA for Game 1 of regular season

SASHA SEFTER / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Blue Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols runs through drills during practice on Tuesday.</p>

SASHA SEFTER / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Blue Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols runs through drills during practice on Tuesday.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/6/2019 (391 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers could be without two regular starters on offence when they hit the road to play the B.C. Lions in their season opener Saturday night.

Right guard Patrick Neufeld, who didn’t practise throughout training camp, and receiver Chris Matthews, who made it just five days before pulling up lame, were both spectators again on Tuesday. Their absence, given it was the first official practice for the Bombers following final cuts Saturday, puts them in serious doubt to play against the Lions.

Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea was more optimistic about a return for Matthews, saying the 29-year-old was "really close." There’s still no word as to what’s bothering Matthews, who signed a three-year deal as a free agent last month. O’Shea said the team will give him another day before reassessing his status.

Neufeld has struggled with injuries in the past, but is coming off a 2018 campaign in which he started all 18 regular-season games. It seems unlikely the left guard will be good to go come Saturday, but O’Shea wasn’t ready to rule out the 30-year-old native of Regina.

"He doesn’t need to take any reps to be able to play in the games," O’Shea said of Neufeld. "We’re always cautious, though."

Second-year Bomber Cody Speller was in for Neufeld with the first-team offence on Tuesday, while centre Michael Couture and Geoff Gray at right guard made up the interior of the offensive line. Jermarcus Hardrick, who didn’t play in either of Winnipeg’s two pre-season games, was at right tackle, opposite Stanley Bryant at left tackle.

"Having three guys kind of working for jobs, it’s going to be one of those things where it’s week to week, or we have the depth now to put guys in and there’s not too much of a dropoff from the players that are inside," running back Andrew Harris said. "That competition level is going to be high, and they’ve got great leaders on that O-line to push them, too. Obviously, when Paddy comes back, it will be a great addition. But, as for now, he hasn’t practised yet and we’re hoping he’s back soon."

Meanwhile, Kenny Lawler has taken over for Matthews. Lawler, a 24-year-old rookie with NFL experience, won over the coaching staff when he reeled in a team-high four catches for 52 yards in a pre-season win over the Edmonton Eskimos. Lawler joins a receivers group that includes fellow Americans Darvin Adams and Lucky Whitehead, another CFL rookie, and Canadians Nic Demski and Drew Wolitarsky.

"We have the talent to be better than we were last year... all that stuff is fun to talk about, but we need to go out and play good on game day week in and week out and put ourselves in the position we want to be in," No. 1 quarterback Matt Nichols said. "You can talk about it all you want. We need to go out and prove it, and that’s what games are for."

jeff.hamilton@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @jeffkhamilton

 

Jeff Hamilton

Jeff Hamilton
Multimedia producer

After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

The Free Press will close this commenting platform at noon on July 14.

We want to thank those who have shared their views over the years as part of this reader engagement initiative.

In the coming weeks, the Free Press will announce new opportunities for readers to share their thoughts and to engage with our staff and each other.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us