The Winnipeg Blue Bombers hope their winning ways will continue as they kick-off their 2019 CFL season Saturday against the BC Lions.
The Bombers went 2-0 in their exhibition games.
680 CJOB’s Voice of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Bob Irving, and colour commentator Doug Brown feel some key changes will help them.
“On the defensive end Willie Jefferson, who was a free agent from Saskatchewan, is a dynamic player that can really added to their defensive game,” Irving said.
“Chris Matthews, who’s been injured during much of training camp, he’s a game-breaker type player,” added Irving.
One addition that has many people talking is wide receiver Lucky Whitehead.
“First of all, he has an awesome name and he has amazing speed for his position,” Irving said.
“Those three guys, I think, will add a new dynamic to the Blue Bomber team,” he added.
Brown said the team didn’t really need to do all that much during the off-season.
“When you’re already a good team and won a playoff game, you’re just shooting to get to that next level to be in contention for a championship, I think just tinkering with the roster like they did is going to be very promising for them,” Brown said.
Best in the west?
Irving feels the team is looking good compared to the other teams in the west, Saskatchewan, Edmonton, Calgary, and BC.
“I think they have a chance to finish first in the west this year. They came back with a really solid core. Injuries and other factors will play into that. Other teams have made changes that I feel will take time to adjust to and really get going,” Irving said.
Depth with Receivers
There has been some concern in the past with how much depth there is in the receiver position, but Brown feels this is something the team managed to address.
“Additions of Chris Matthews and Lucky Whitehead are strong in the positions and they have good Canadian receivers as well. Staying healthy will be key. Just with the addition of a couple of guys really makes the team dynamic,” Brown said.
Both Irving and Brown agree the amount of talent they have for quarterbacks is impressive.
“Matt Nichols will start, but Chris Streveler is quite the talent that can bring them ahead of other teams,” Irving said.
“Streveler is a good change of pitcher and does a whole bunch of things well that Matt Nichols doesn’t really do. Streveler can really have the defense really chasing their tails,” Brown added.
“The defense could prepare for one type of style and then be thrown a Streveler, who is good at running as he is at throwing,” said Brown.
“It’s a doubled headed monster to have those two as quarterbacks,” he told Global News Morning.
While Harris is getting up there for the age of a running back, Irving believes he’s has another great year ahead of him.
“They were very kind to him in training camp, he was rarely on the field. He looks as strong as ever. I can’t see why he couldn’t have another great year,” Irving said.
“I think there will be more of a rotation for him. You have to adapt and change things as a play as you get older. His work ethic and habits are second to none,” Brown said.
“If he stays healthy, he should have a great year,” Brown added.
Reaching the Grey Cup
Irving and Brown truly believe the Bombers can make it far in 2019.
“They were a Grey Cup contender last year and the year before, they were in the playoffs and have made it to the Western Finals. I can’t see why not,” said Irving.
“I’m interested in seeing this team that’s very balanced and complete versus others that went all in on a franchise quarterback,” Brown added.
“I think the Blue Bombers are the most balanced team in the CFL and have multiple ways to win a game.”
“Unlike other teams where if something happens to their $700,000 quarterback, that can be major trouble,” Brown said.
The Bombers kick off the regular season in B.C. on Saturday night with their first game against the Lions.
You can catch that game on 680 CJOB, with coverage starting at 7 p.m. and kickoff at 9 p.m.
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