Sunday 27 June 2010

8 Teams, 8 Days: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Last Season: 7-11, 3rd in the East (Missed Playoffs)


Last season, the Winnipeg Quarterback carousel started off with Stefan LeFors and ended with Michael Bishop. Not good. This year begins with Buck Pierce and ends with... Steven Jyles? Buck Pierce can be a top-flight QB when healthy, the key being "when healthy." Pierce hasn't exactly been the epitome of durable during his six CFL seasons, enduring a rumoured five concussions over that span. No one can deny that Pierce is one tough SOB, but if Winnipeg are to succeed, he needs to learn to protect himself. Jyles, who came over from Saskatchewan in the off-season, would have to step in and captain the ship. With Pierce being as injury-prone as he is, Jyles should make himself ready when the inevitable call comes.

Running Back is one area that the Blue Bombers seem to be set at. Fred Reid had a phenomenal 2009, setting the Blue Bomber single-game record for rushing yards in a game against BC. With Fred Ex in the fold, the Bombers should have no problem running the football.

The Receiver situation isn't terrible in Winnipeg either. Sure, they still have Brock "Hands of Stone" Ralph, but they also have two good ones in Terrence Edwards and Adarius Bowman. The Bombers also picked up former Tiger-Cat David Ball, who I have been impressed with since he broke some of Jerry Rice's (yes, that Jerry Rice) records in college.

The O-Line, like on many teams, seems to be in a state of flux. The unit will need to come together fast if they are to keep Buck Pierce from getting killed.

Player to Watch: David Ball


The Bombers have a fairly decent defense, and it could be this defense that keeps the team in games while the offense jells. The D-Line has Doug Brown returning for another season to lead the defense. The team traded Gavin Walls to Montreal, but look for Odell Willis to continue his stellar play from 2009. He could be a Most Outstanding Defensive Player candidate at season's end.

The Linebackers are also nicely comprised, led by Ike Charlton and Joe Lobendahn. The Blue Bombers cut 2009 early-season standout Siddeeq Shabazz this past off-season, but they won't see a huge dropoff in play because of it.

The Secondary also has some talent. Jovon Johnson and Ian Logan are the backbone of a very capable group of DBs. If the team can overcome the loss of players (Shabazz, Walls, Hefney) and the addition of Kavis Reed (who Ti-Cat fans know is a terrible Defensive Coordinator), then the Bombers could have a very dominant defense in 2010.

Player to Watch: Odell Willis


Winnipeg is probably the most confounding team in the East division this season. There are a lot of 'ifs' with this team. If Buck Pierce stays healthy; if Kavis Reed finds a way to not be, well, Kavis Reed; if Paul LaPolice can deliver in his first chance as a Head Coach; if, if, if. All of these 'ifs' make it hard to judge how well the Bombers will do. A record of 9-9 or 10-8 isn't out of the question if the 'ifs' pan out. However, a record of 7-11 or 6-12 isn't either if Pierce turns to putty and Kavis Reed stays, well, Kavis Reed. This should be a very interesting season in Bomberland. At least they won't have to worry about that moron Mike Kelly making an idiot out of himself again this season.

PREVIOUS: Toronto Argonauts

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