O-line fails to free up Blink

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 2:01 PM ET

Stop us if you have heard this one before.

"This offensive line has got to block better, period," Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Jim Daley declared yesterday. "We have to be more physical.

"You cannot build an offence if your offensive line is not physical. We have got to improve in that area. That's how you win games -- on the line of scrimmage."

Stuck in Daley's craw is that tailback Charles Roberts, the club's bread and butter, rushed for a meagre 12 yards on nine carries during Winnipeg's 23-9 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos in a CFL pre-season match Thursday.

"That's not even close to the level he's capable of or we, as a team, require," Daley said. "Take pride in blocking for Charlie. We need to have the mentality that we're going to tee off and knock people off the ball. We need to do a better job of that. That's a concern. Our pass protection, overall, was pretty good. But the push upfield on running plays was not evident."

Daley then lamented how hard it is to find either Canadian or American offensive lineman. The Bombers released veteran centre Moe Elewonibi last winter and import guard Orlando Bobo retired when the club refused his contract demands.

INJURY WOES: Injuries have made today's decision at linebacker easier. Travis Ortega suffered a pectoral muscle problem Thursday and could be out of action quite some time. Ron Ockimey (groin) will be put on the disabled list while Ryland Wickman is day-to-day with a groin injury. That leaves imports Lamar McGriggs, Sean Woodson and Willie Fells earning starting jobs.

Non-import wide receiver Gilles Colon also suffered a hand injury. If serious, the Bombers could be on the lookout for another Canadian receiver and word out of Edmonton is that Scott Robinson is available.

The Bombers must pare their roster to 40 players, with a possible five-man practice roster and a CIS development player today.

TEAM LACKLUSTRE: Daley was still frustrated with his team's effort yesterday.

"We were surprised and disappointed at the lack of intensity in the game," he said. "That we did not anticipate. We thought we'd play with a lot more tenacity than we did.

"A game where we played with the lack of urgency that we did causes more questions than it provides answers. It's harder to evaluate than last week where we played very hard on the road."

GLENN ... STEADY: Bomber starting QB Kevin Glenn played the entire first half, completing six of 12 passes for 90 yards, with no touchdowns and one pick.

"Kevin played steady; he executed the game plan well," said Daley, who would prefer to keep all four QBs in camp.

"I felt fine," Glenn said after the match. "The whole thing was consistency as an offence. We showed signs of life at times."


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