Ottawa – Winnipeg Blue Bombers concluded their two-game pre-season schedule with an 18-14 loss in Ottawa Monday night. And all I can say is thank goodness it’s over. I’m not a fan of pre-season games. Can’t think of anybody that is. But I do understand they are a necessary evil from an evaluation and a preparation standpoint. The Bombers are the first CFL team this year to finish the pre-season schedule, and I think it’s safe to say their offensive performance was a disappointment vs the RedBlacks. Drew Willy and the first offensive unit never really got into any sort of flow. Willy completed 11 of 15 passes for 87 yards, a lot of his throws outlet passes to Andrew Harris coming out of the backfield. A lack of production on first down combined with some costly penalties held the Bomber offence back and both Willy and head coach Mike O’Shea professed to have no concerns about the lack of production in Ottawa. Both said that they held a lot back in the pre-season games, and they are confident that when the regular season begins on June 24th, the offence will look a lot sharper.
Matt Nichols was solid in relief of Willy completing 6 of 9 passes for 73 yards and leading the only Winnipeg touchdown drive that ended with a short toss from Nichols to Quincy McDuffie. McDuffie also had a 59 yard kick off return to likely claim the kick returners job.
The Bombers headed for home first thing Tuesday morning and the coaches had to cut their roster by roughly 8 players by Tuesday night. The final cuts must be made on June 18th.
Meanwhile, in another Bomber development, the clubs head scout, Drew Morris, has left the team to join the scouting staff of the New York Jets. Morris was considered to be a bright young talent but the Bombers new NFL teams were interested in him. Winnipeg immediately replaced Morris with Craig Smith, a Winnipeg native who is a long-time veteran of the CFL who most recently worked in personnel with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Bombers were fortunate to land someone of Smith’s calibre to replace Morris.