And on the third day of training camp, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers welcomed defensive backs Jovon Johnson and Jonathan Hefney back into the fold.
The dynamic duo were at Canad Inns Stadium on Monday, but couldn’t fully participate on the field until they passed their respective physicals later in the day.
Although head coach Paul LaPolice insisted the heightened intensity and seemingly joyous mood was more a result of players competing in their first real 1-on-1 battles of training camp, media members were in agreement that the tangible difference on the day of the arrival of the Blue Bombers’ cornerstones was no coincidence.
There was definitely a little more swagger in the step of many players, especially the DBs, who aren’t that shy about having their voices heard on the field — especially when 1-on-1s are taking place.
I left the return of Johnson and Hefney to columnist Paul Friesen, so be sure to check out his column.
I’m focusing my main story on veteran offensive tackle Glenn January, who is at a much different place than he was at training camp in 2011, when he was coming back from a lost 2010 season. He had some interesting comments on leadership when I asked him about taking on a larger role in that regard with the departure of several veterans who were known to have strong voices in the locker room.
It was another sensational day for second-year receiver Kito Poblah, who seems to be catching everything that comes his way. Whether it’s on target, behind him or a ball he has to jump for, Poblah is coming down with impressive catches on a regular basis and his speed has been on display as well.
Poblah is quickly finding chemistry with Buck Pierce and could be in for a big season.
In an effort for full disclosure, on our weekly live blog last week, I chose Poblah as the guy who I thought would lead the Blue Bombers in receiving this season, which leads us to a quick poll question (vote early, vote often):
Here’s a quick poll question:
Some other notes from today’s session:
* Defensive end Jason Vega sat out with a lower-body injury for precautionary reasons. LaPolice said he wasn’t sure if Vega would be back on the field on Wednesday.
* Linebacker Marcellus Bowman suffered a lower-body injury during the first session and skipped the second. He’s officially listed as day-to-day. Dustin Doe and Javon McKinnon took turns with the No. 1 team defence in Bowman’s absence.
* As was the case on Monday, defensive back Brandon Stewart participated in the first workout and skipped the second. LaPolice said that would likely be the case for the next while as Stewart is coming back from a high-ankle sprain.
* Defensive back Jeremy McGee left the second practice with an undisclosed ailment, while fullback Jordan Matechuk was sick and didn’t participate.
* Running back Carl Volny is still out with a knee injury, but was seen doing some running in the end zone and seems to be making progress.
* Safety Brady Browne (hamstring) remains sidelined.
* Although he wasn’t officially cut, the Blue Bombers announced via twitter that offensive lineman (and Winnipegger) Sam Nemis has left the team “on his own terms.” Apparently, the former Manitoba Bison took a job in the “real world.” The Blue Bombers made the announcement via twitter and wished Nemis the best in his future endeavors.
* Former Blue Bombers RB Fred Reid was apparently released by the Montreal Alouettes.