Deja vu for defence

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

For some, this was the final test.

For some veterans, this may have been their final game as a Winnipeg Blue Bomber.

For the rest, last night's exhibition game against the Edmonton Eskimos before 28,013 witnesses at Canad Inns Stadium was simply a warmup for the start of the CFL season next week.

The first quarter of Winnipeg's 23-9 loss looked like deja vu again for the Bomber defence. The front seven could get little pressure on Edmonton quarterback Jason Maas, the secondary did little to shut down the Eskimo receivers and Winnipeg trailed 10-0. The front four did at least stuff the run as the Eskimos are still seeking a replacement for retired running back Mike Pringle.

But overall, the secondary still needs work. Bomber pass defenders were beaten too often, including highly-touted defensive back Tim Carter. Cornerback Justin Coleman was also beaten badly on Trevor Gaylor's 23-yard touchdown reception from former Bomber quarterback Khari Jones. And one got the feeling that, had Maas stayed in the game, it would have been a longer night for that secondary.

On the other hand some Bomber defenders did stand out. Those included defensive linemen Doug Brown, Joe Fleming, Jon Oosterhuis, Antwone Young and Tom Canada, as well as linebackers Lamar McGriggs, Willie Fells and Sean Woodson.

Brown sacked Jones in the end zone for a safety touch late in the first half, then followed that up by sacking him again when the Eskies threatened to score moments later. Fells, Fleming, Young and Woodson each recorded tackles for losses. Young also picked off a Jones pass while Woodson, Canada and Oosterhuis had sacks.

Safety Wes Lysack also made his presence felt with three big hits, although each was on a receiver after he had made a catch for a first down.

The Bomber offence looked spotty, especially with Kevin Glenn and Spergon Wynn at the controls. Tee Martin was smooth on the only two series he played, Russ Michna, who entered the game late, turned in the second-best performance, stats-wise.

The only Bomber play that caused any real excitement was a 41-yard completion from Glenn to veteran slotback Milt Stegall. But none of the new pass catchers seeking employment here did much in this on-field interview.

Although Keith Stokes never broke a return, he threatened to throughout the first half. But then, everyone knows what he can do on special teams. Troy Westwood, who had a forgettable time punting in Edmonton last week, proved that he can indeed handle those chores.


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