Two defenders who can actually tackle have been added to the Winnipeg roster.
Import linebackers Ryland Wickman (elbow) and Lamar McGriggs (pectoral muscle) will return from injury when the Blue Bombers play a CFL match in Calgary tomorrow night.
"They bring their experience and we also need them to make plays and be physical," Winnipeg head coach Jim Daley said yesterday.
And they need guys who can tackle after Toronto Argonauts blew by Bomber defenders as if they were pylons last Monday.
Wickman should re-instill the passion that was clearly lacking on defence during the two games he missed.
"It's hard to watch, especially when you're such an intense player and you're not winning," said Wickman. "I'm definitely looking forward to getting out there and hitting some people again. It's going to be a good game to come back to because they've got a real good running back (Joffrey Reynolds). Those are the kinds of games I enjoy -- a little smashmouth, a little get-down-and-dirty. Hopefully, we can go out there and perform on defence like we did a couple of weeks ago."
Daley will actually dress four import linebackers, with Willie Fells remaining on the roster to play special teams and spell Wickman off. Wickman essentially replaces the released Wane McGarity on the roster while McGriggs replaces linebacker Ron Ockimey.
In other moves, import defensive back Justin Coleman returns from a foot injury to replace the injured Cedric Dickerson (wrist) and Canadian receiver Chad Rempel will replace Canadian defensive lineman Martin Lapostolle.
STILL PATIENT: Considering the release of McGarity, their marquee free-agent signing last winter, Daley was asked if his patience with a 1-5 club was starting to wear thin.
"The patience of most people for rebuilding ended before camp," he replied. "That's reality in terms of people outside the team. The reality is that for years, when I was in Calgary, we heard speculation that this team needed to start rebuilding or you would come to a point where it would be a monstrous task. When I accepted this job, quite frankly, I understood the massive rebuilding job here because it's been delayed a few years.
"Don't mistake patience for tolerance but understand that, when you're the head coach and know the circumstance you're in, patience is part of rebuilding. You rebuild with a combination of patience and urgency. Patience doesn't mean the urgency isn't there. It is. And patience doesn't mean you're not demanding. You are."
PARTY AT PARK: The Bombers will host their first Never Alone Social at Canad Inns Stadium on Aug. 26 when fans can watch the team play against the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton on the Jumbotron. The festivities will include a pre-game and post-game concert and post-game fireworks. Tickets are now on sale at Ticketmaster for $15.50 each with $5 from every ticket purchased going to CancerCare Manitoba. For more info at 784-2583.