The way Chris Walby sees it, Winnipeg defensive end Elfrid Payton should be the most excited about welcoming Joe Fleming to the Blue Bombers.
The CBC-TV analyst figures Payton can now obliterate the CFL sack record with the acquisition of last year's top defensive lineman from Calgary in the Khari Jones deal, the ex-Bomber said during a casual conversation on the way home from Montreal.
With a pair of sacks against the Alouettes, Payton is now four shy of Grover Covington's 157 standard with four games left.
SACKS STARTING TO COME
"I don't know, I've never played with Joe," Payton said, reserving judgment yesterday. "I just knew he was a good player. I think it's going to be fine. I thought playing beside (defensive lineman) Melvin Bradley was fine."
The sacks were already starting to come in bunches for Payton anyway.
"I knew it was going to come, all I had to do was keep giving myself chances," said the 14-year veteran. "I've been beating my man, like always, I just haven't been able to get rewarded with that stat.
"The more chances you give yourself, the more opportunities you have to get them. You keep getting yourself a chance, sooner or later, they'll start coming so, that's been the case the last three weeks."
Meanwhile, a wide smile crossed Moe Kelly's face as he recalled playing with Fleming when both were with the B.C. Lions.
"Joe's going to bring a lot of intensity to this team, a lot of leadership," the Bomber linebacker said. "I played with Joe for four years so, any time you can bring a guy in the calibre of Joe Fleming, you can't do nothin' but help the team. He's going to give you all he's got. He's one of those guys who's going to die on the field. You can't ask any more from a defensive player. I mean, he's going to make plays and that's definitely what we need right now.
"You lose somebody like Khari, who's done a lot for this team, for this organization and for this city, but I think it worked out well for both teams. And with me being a defensive player, you always look for somebody to solidify the defence and Joe is the guy who can do that."
Defensive lineman Doug Brown believes he is right.
"It's going to be fun," Brown said between poring over the playbook with Fleming. "We've got a lot of cramming to do. It's hard to build up three years of experience and comfort playing next to a guy in three days of practice. But he is somewhat familiar with the (defensive) system so, that helps.
"I've seen a lot of film on him -- combination of a really dynamic player in terms of a pass rusher and run-stopper, as well as a veteran leadership and character. From what I've seen in terms of watching him play, he can do nothing but help this defence. He's a tremendous acquisition. It's (Bomber front four) going to be quite a unit to contend with. It should be exciting. Expectations come with it as well so, we're all going to have to step up to the plate."
Meanwhile, B.C. quarterback Casey Printers is reportedly dreading facing Fleming for the second time in as many weeks when the Lions host Winnipeg on Saturday.