Bombers’ D demands respect

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:32 AM ET

Regardless of the state of their offence, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers still boast one of the most dangerous defences in the CFL.

Having a fourth-string quarterback running the O does nothing to diminish the D, which leads the league with 47 sacks, has allowed the fewest passing yards in the East Division and has allowed a whopping 67 fewer points than the Eskimos this season.

What that means for Eskimos quarterback Jared Zabransky is this is the toughest challenge of the season.

“They’re pretty stout,” he said. “They’re definitely a good defence, they have a number of guys in the secondary that fly around and their front seven really get after the quarterback.

“That’s only helping their good DBs out and we’ve got to be on our reads and getting the ball out of our hands.”

Zabransky will get his second consecutive start since taking over for the injured Ricky Ray.

Zabransky had just one pass attempt before veteran backup Jason Maas took over for Ray in their only previous meeting with Winnipeg this season — a 47-21 loss on the road in

Week 4.

Learn from loss

“It’s a nightmare. It’s something that you have to be able to look at and take constructive criticism from and learn from it and get better because we can’t repeat that,” Zabransky said. “If we do, we’re not going to win.”

A loss Saturday would open the door for third place in the West Division to be taken over by the B.C. Lions, who are looking for their seventh win of the season Sunday against the visiting Saskatchewan

Roughriders.

While the Eskimos hold the season-series tiebreaker over the Lions, that only comes into effect if they can keep pace with B.C. in the standings. Winnipeg, meanwhile, has been eliminated from crossover contention, but has a chance Saturday to help decide who will claim the third and final post-season berth in the West.

The difference this week is the Eskimos are playing the Bombers at home.

“That helps because they have a pretty hostile crowd and they’re pretty loud down there,” Zabransky said of their last visit to CanadInns Stadium. “It will be nice to have our home crowd and be playing for this playoff run.

“Being on the little run that we are, hopefully we get some fans out there.”

RAY WON’T PLAY: The Eskimos have placed QB Ricky Ray on the one-game injured list, moving newly acquired QB Kerry Joseph to the active roster after spending just one day on the practice squad.

Joseph will be wearing No. 14 on Saturday, switching over from the No. 16 jersey he has been wearing in practice.

“There’s a good chance that he’ll be dressed; on the field is another story,” Hall said. “We’re going to dress three quarterbacks. Ricky’s not going to be able to go, and Kerry will be our third-team quarterback. I don’t see him getting on the football field (Saturday) because there’s Jared Zabransky and then there’s Jason Maas.

“Kerry’s only been here one day of practice, so I’m not anticipating that. As well, we know as with Winnipeg last week anything is possible but I don’t think that’s a high probability.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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