Bombers back to work, training camp Day 15

- June 17th, 2012

First of all, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were back on the field Sunday morning for a workout that went for roughly two hours, as they get closer to playing their final pre-season game on Wednesday against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Before the Blue Bombers emerged from the locker room, the roster had been decreased by three players (four guys released, one added).

Handed their walking papers on Sunday were WR Phil Hubbard, DB David Pender, DE Brandon Akpunko and LB Javon McKinnon.

No big surprises there, though Hubbard had seen plenty of time alongside the first-team offence in camp and was a lead candidate to replace the departed Greg Carr in the starting lineup.

However, as we pointed out here and in the paper, Hubbard had a pair of drops in Thursday’s game and also sustained an upper-body injury that is going to keep him on the shelf for at least two weeks. Bad combo.

But Blue Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice allowed that Hubbard might be brought back for another look once he gets healthy, depending on how things are going at that point.

The man brought in is import offensive tackle Shannon Boatman, a former Florida State Seminole who was in camp with the Toronto Argonauts last season and made five starts for the double blue in 2010 at left and right tackle.

Two words perfectly describe our first impression of Boatman: physical specimen. He’s a monster at 6-foot-6 and said he’s currently weighing in at 320 pounds. We’ll have a note or two on him in our print package.

Boatman was brought in to help bolster the depth at tackle, since fellow imports Glenn January (lower-body) and Andre Douglas (hip) remain sidelined with injuries Neither January or Douglas is expected to play on Wednesday, nor is LB Marcellus Bowman (lower-leg).

By our count, 70 players remain in camp and the Blue Bombers must get down to 46, plus a 7-man practice roster by next Saturday, though LaPolice expects to be down to numbers by late Thursday or Friday.

Speaking of guys on the sidelines, running back/returner Chad Simpson didn’t participate on Sunday but said it was nothing serious and that he expects to be ready to go on Wednesday.

One last thing on the injury front, here had to be some concern when Canadian receiver Cory Watson had to be helped off the field in a cart with what LaPolice called a tweak of his lower leg. No update on the severity of the injury provided by LaPolice at this point, but Rory Kohlert slipped into his spot with the first-team offence.

It will be interesting to see if the Blue Bombers seek help elsewhere or are comfortable going with Kohlert or Jade Etienne in that spot.

Kohlert, who had two catches for 41 yards on Thursday including a 30-yard beauty, got a nice compliment from QB Buck Pierce – who called him a smart player – on Sunday.

“I appreciate it,” said Kohlert, who played at the University of Saskatchewan. “I’m just out there playing and doing my job, trying to do my best out there. There’s lots of stuff I need to work on. It’s fast and I’m adapting.”

As far as the depth chart goes (which could change at any time): Pierre-Luc Labbe remained at MLB on 1st team defence, while Dustin Doe remains at LB with Bowman on the shelf. The D-line included Jason Vega, Dorian Smith, Bryant Turner and Kenny Mainor. Offensively, Chris Kowalczuk was at centre and Chris Matthews was at WR.

Former Blue Bombers D co-ordinator (and Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach) Greg Marshall was down at practice on Sunday, but isn’t here for a job but rather for the Legacy Dinner.

One final item, when I asked LaPolice about what the game film showed him about Thursday’s game, he was quick to defend his hogs, saying that only one of the six sacks the Blue Bombers allowed were their fault.

One sack saw QB Alex Brink run out of bounds, QB Joey Elliott fumbled a snap and simply fell on it and two of the others were the responsibility of the running back. We’re not sure who was at fault for the sixth, but it wasn’t the OL.

“I felt much better about the offensive line when I watched it,” said LaPolice. “It’s a starting point.”

The Blue Bombers are back on the field Monday at 10:55 .m. at Canad Inns Stadium.

I’m shifting back into NHL mode as I’m off to the NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Will be keeping my eye on things from afar though.

 

Categories: Football

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