Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Sports
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Blue Bombers, Eskimos pit their 3-0 records against each other Thursday

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' head coach Mike O?Shea during the first half of preseason CFL football action against the Toronto Argonauts' at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, Monday, June 9, 2014. O'Shea wants to see fewer penalties as his undefeated Winnipeg Blue Bombers face the undefeated Edmonton Eskimos Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Trevor Hagan

Enlarge Image

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' head coach Mike O?Shea during the first half of preseason CFL football action against the Toronto Argonauts' at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, Monday, June 9, 2014. O'Shea wants to see fewer penalties as his undefeated Winnipeg Blue Bombers face the undefeated Edmonton Eskimos Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Trevor Hagan

WINNIPEG - Not many would have picked the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Edmonton Eskimos to be leading the league early in this CFL season.

"I don't think very many people did," Bombers offensive lineman Glenn January said Wednesday, on the eve of the two 3-0 CFL West clubs' first meeting of 2014.

"It's just a testament to what both clubs have been able to accomplish in the off-season. I think we both decided that serious changes had to be made and we've seen that on the field."

Edmonton trailed the West and Winnipeg the East as they finished out of the playoffs in 2013 and both sacked their coaches, dipping into the Argos pool to pluck Chris Jones and Mike O'Shea to lead their recovery.

Edmonton defensive tackle Almondo Sewell, the CFL's sack leader and defensive player of the week, said it all has to be kept in perspective just three games into the season.

"We were both terrible last year and now we're like top of the league but, like I say, it's a long year, anything can happen," said Sewell.

Besides the coaching changes, much of their success has been laid in the hands of their young quarterbacks — the Bombers' Drew Willy and Mike Reilly in Edmonton.

"In the huddle, they're the exact same," said Winnipeg receiver Nick Moore, who played with Reilly in B.C.

"Calling out the play call, making sure that guys are (paying) attention to details, paying attention to the little things. They're both leaders, making sure everybody's in the right place, doing the right things."

They have also known each other for years, ever since they met at the 2009 NFL combine.

As Sewell says, the season is young, but in quarterback stats, Willy sits at No. 2 in the league with 871 passing yards and Reilly (738) is at No. 3, behind Toronto's Ricky Ray (982) at No. 1.

Edmonton's defence is also getting a lot of credit for their three wins.

"They do it in a variety of ways," said Willy. "They try to confuse you a little bit, trying to bring different strong and weak pressures but we've been preparing for that all week, been looking at a lot of film, a lot of walkthroughs."

Jones, Toronto's former defensive co-ordinator, brought his unique style to the Eskimos.

"The kids have bought into a simple scheme, the ability to line up and play fast and be physical," he said.

Winnipeg has it's own defensive guru in Gary Etcheverry, who has also introduced some new wrinkles this season to confuse offences.

One thing O'Shea is hoping for Thursday is fewer penalties, suggesting wins are going to be harder to come by if things don't change. The Bombers had 15 for 148 yards last week in Montreal.

This is the first divisional game the Bombers have played as a Western team in almost a decade, thanks to Ottawa's return to the league.

"It's definitely going to be a different season playing in the West this year," January said. "But whenever you play football at this level you want to go against the best as much as you can. So I think that the west is where Winnipeg belongs and we're excited about it."

The game will also see the return of receiver Romby Bryant to the starting lineup. Bryant began his CFL career with Winnipeg in 2008.

Reilly says last year doesn't matter for either team and neither do the last three games.

"Just as we forgot about 2013 we kind of forgot about the first three games as well," he said.

"We're concerned about this game and we're not worried about anything past that, we're not worried about anything before it. We just know that we're coming here to play against a very good football team and we've got to execute at a very high level if we want to come out with a win."

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
Sudden Surge: Flood of 2014
Opportunity Magazine — The Bakken
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media