Stokes makes case at slotback

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:18 AM ET

Milt Stegall has a theory as to why Keith Stokes had both a missed-field-goal and punt return end prematurely Saturday night when he ran into his own teammates.

"He could've had a bunch more touchdowns if he didn't have those child-bearing hips," Stegall said. "They helped him on the one long touchdown, because those guys couldn't get around him.

"But on those other ones he couldn't get around his own self."

Even head coach Jim Daley took a playful jab at Stokes, who wracked up 276 all-purpose yards in leading the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to a 44-14 thumping of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

"How that guy -- with no height, no speed, no size, not much of anything -- how he's so productive I don't know, but he is," Daley said. "He's a very productive player."

Stokes, who primarily returns punts and kicks for the Blue and Gold, just might have been productive enough to stay in the lineup as a slotback.

The final tally -- in his first career start for the Bombers -- was five catches for 139 yards, including the aforementioned score when he juked and jived his way to a 68-yard major.

Bomber quarterback Kevin Glenn and running back Charles Roberts said Stokes should remain in the starting lineup, as did Stegall.

"After a night like that, you have to try to incorporate him as a regular," Daley said. "But then you got Jamie Stoddard (who shared the position with Stokes) doing the same thing. Jamie just kept catching and catching and catching.

"So if they keep playing like that, then the job they're challenging is Milt's, so Milt better be careful about how many guys he's recommending to play."

Stokes was asked if he should remain in the starting lineup.

"I would think, but I don't make those decisions," he said. "Complaining does nothing.

"... I had the opportunity to go out there and make plays to make it harder for the coaches to take me off."

After Saturday's performance, the new-look receiving corps will probably stick together.

Newcomer Chris Brazzell, acquired a week ago from the Ticats for Kamau Peterson, had two catches for 37 yards, and Gilles Colon, making his first start of the season, had three grabs for 58 yards and his first career touchdown.

Roberts said the new weapons on offence should keep the opposition on its toes.

"When they got (Stokes) to worry about underneath, or Brazzell or Milt to worry about over the top, or me to worry about getting a hand-off, man, it's going to be tough," he said.

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PASSING GRADE

Here's how the Bombers' five receivers performed Saturday night against the Tiger-Cats:

No. Yds. TDs

Keith Stokes 5 139 1

Jamie Stoddard 4 83 0

Milt Stegall 3 69 1

Gilles Colon 3 58 1

Chris Brazzell 2 37 0


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