September 24, 2019

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Not so pass-happy

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have not exactly aired it out the last couple of seasons.

The team ranked sixth in passing yards per game in 2018 (234.5) and eighth in 2017 (271.9).

Perhaps some of that is due to personnel, considering the team does have one of the top running backs in the league in Andrew Harris — the Bombers had a league-high 134.9 yards a game on the ground last season.

But, I have heard more than one expert — particulary ex-Bombers QB and current TSN analyst Matt Dunigan — say the Bombers become too predictable in games. That they don't stretch the field enough, allowing opposition defences to crowd the line of scrimmage and shut down the grinding Bombers offence.

A paltry 156 yards passing in last year's Western Final loss to the Stamps wasted a stellar performance by the team's defence and cost the Bombers a chance to compete for the Grey Cup — again.

Enter Chris Matthews. Winnipeg signed the lanky and talented receiver to a three-year deal this off-season and hopes his addition to the receiving corps can add a much-needed dimension to the sputtering offence of a season ago.

Jeff Hamilton was out at Day 4 of the team's training camp on Wednesday and files a report on the recieving corps and what it should look like when the season gets underway on June 27.

Jeff says Matthews has been the team's best receiver so far in camp and his presence should open up things for Darvin Adams, who is moving to the slot. Nic Demski and Drew Wolitarsky are back, with a fifth starting spot up for grabs.

— Sports editor Steve Lyons

Our coverage

  • Winnipeg Blue Bomber quarterback Matt Nichols.

    Winnipeg Blue Bomber quarterback Matt Nichols.

    Air attack: Bombers digging their depth at receiver position
  • Spirit of St. Louis: Does the Blues' red-hot playoff run ease the pain of an early exit for the Jets?
  • Goldeyes gearing up: Fish ready for first home game
  • His eye on the birdie: Local badminton ace has national-team aspirations
  • Not keen on Keane: Winnipeg Blues continue revamp, part ways with head coach

What we're reading

  • Toronto Raptors centre Serge Ibaka.

    Toronto Raptors centre Serge Ibaka.

    Electrified once more: Blues go marching in to Stanley Cup finals after 49-year absence (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
  • Rival watch: What they’re saying after the Raptors’ season-saving Game 4 win vs. Bucks (Sportsnet)
  • Hurts to say goodbye: With so many players to sign and only so much money, the San Jose Sharks will have to bid farewell to one or more members of their star-studded UFA group this summer (The Hockey News)
  • Bill Plaschke: Magic Johnson continues to tarnish the Lakers’ legacy and his own (Los Angeles Times)

In case you missed it

  • Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice.

    Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice.

    Accountability for all: Maurice shouldn't be immune from Jets performance review
  • Last line of defence: New leaders step in among Bombers' defensive backs
  • Hitting the books: He'd rather be competing for the Cup, but Jets' Andrew Copp OK with summer school

On Tap

  • The Winnipeg Goldeyes regular season home opener is Friday.

    The Winnipeg Goldeyes regular season home opener is Friday.

    Home opener: The Winnipeg Goldeyes play their first game of the season at Shaw Park on Friday when they open a three-game series vs the Kansas City T-Bones. Game time is 7 pm
  • A week later: The following Friday (May 31), the Winnipeg Blue Bombers play their first pre-season game, at home vs the Edmonton Eskimos.

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