Football arrives in Canada!
As much as preseason football isn’t designed to entertain the fans, I must admit that my heart grew three sizes just seeing CFL Football on my TV Guide again. While winning is a nice result, that’s not necessarily the goal during the preseason. Veterans just want to shake off the rust while staying healthy and coaches want to evaluate the talent they’ve brought in for the upcoming season.
Don’t tell the players that winning doesn’t matter in the preseason, though. You could tell both the Montreal Alouettes and Winnipeg Blue Bombers wanted to head home with a win under their belts on Wednesday night. It’s only June 9th, but Winnipeg proved to be the team with better depth following a 36-13 victory for the Blue & Gold.
Jim Popp didn’t take long to puzzle us with his coaching decisions either.
You’d think with eight quarterbacks on the depth chart that veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn would play a series, maybe two, and then help coach the young guys on the sidelines. Nope. Glenn played five minutes into the second quarter – and quite well, I might add – but that was an absolute waste of time.
The Als have guys like Tajh Boyd, Vernon Adams, Brandon Bridge, and Rakeem Cato all fighting for spots on the team and you stick with a guy that could eclipse 50,000 career passing yards this season? If you don’t know what you have in Kevin Glenn by now, there’s a problem. I
understand wanting to build chemistry with receivers but that was an unnecessary risk by head coach Jim Popp.
Let’s talk about the winning team. While it was strange seeing Weston Dressler on the sidelines in Blue & Gold, it sure felt right to see Paul LaPolice back on the sidelines doing what he does best. A coach is a coach is a coach.
And Bomber fans have something more to look forward to this season than their shiny new uniforms. After years of struggling to find their running back, it’s clear that Andrew Harris will be the focal point of the offense in Winnipeg. Harris had a nice play that ended up being called back on a holding penalty but you can sense he’s happy to be playing right at home.
But the Bombers also have more behind Harris. Carlos Anderson is back this year after an ACL injury ended his 2015 season shortly after winning the starting job. He looked great in limited action Wednesday night but he might be in tough with Timothy Flanders shining last night. Flanders scored a one-yard touchdown late in the first half and hit the hole with authority against Montreal’s second- and third-stringers. Finally, the Bombers have options!
Then there’s new kick returner Quincy McDuffie. McDuffie had a possible touchdown catch go off his hands and into a defender’s arms, but let’s not kid ourselves: McDuffie is in Winnipeg for special teams purposes, and he has rockets on his feet. The only reason you may not have heard of him is because he was backing up a very special returner in Hamilton for the past couple seasons. If he’s half as good as Brandon Banks, Bomber fans are in for a treat.
Winnipeg’s win wasn’t without consequences, however…
Jeff Keeping heading to #Bombers locker room early, aided by trainers. Doesn't look good for veteran OL with leg injury.— 680 CJOB Sports (@CJOBSports) June 9, 2016
Drew Willy only played eight games last season so the Bombers aren’t going to want to see any more injuries on that offensive front.
Here are the rest of the pre-season games that will be broadcast on TSN this month. [For US-based viewers, ESPN’s online streaming service at ESPN3.com will be showing all CFL preseason games – Ed.]
– written by Travis Currah