Winnipeg – Winnipeg Blue Bombers held their first practice Monday following cutdown weekend, and head coach Mike O’Shea said he wasn’t the least bit concerned that it was a “quieter” practice than the club has been experiencing.
When asked if practice takes on a different tone once the final cuts have been made, Oshea said “You hope not, you want it to be an intense session out there. We’re not out there on the field very long so you want the guys to be flying around. But right after camp I think there can be just a little bit of a lull. What I notice and what some of the other coaches notice is that a lull for these guys just seems to be a little less chatter. But the effort, the focus is still there, it just doesn’t seem as loud and boisterous, that kind of mood. As long as they keep on maintaining the effort and the focus, I’m okay with a little quieter.”
One of the reasons for the quieter atmosphere on Monday was that there were fewer players on hand following the weekend cuts. And now they have a target in sight, the CFL regular season opener on Friday against Montreal at Investors Group Field. So the focus isn’t just on learning the playbook and their assignments, it’s also on game-planning for the Alouettes.
Receiver Weston Dressler and linebacker Sam Hurl both returned to practice after getting hurt early in camp. O’Shea said he is hopeful second year cornerback Johnny Adams will be available for game 1. Adams has been sidelined for most of camp with a lower body injury.
The Blue Bombers still have 5 or 6 players whose status will have to be dealt with this week, likely on Thursday. Fourth string quarterback Brian Bennett and kicker Sergio Castillo are among those players, and chances are they will wind up on the one-game injured list.
Bombers will hold an NHL draft party prior to Friday’s game and also introduce their first Ring of Honor inductee, Chris Walby.