Expectations are low

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:19 AM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have found that growth comes in many forms this season.

Growth would reach unprecedented levels with a victory over the East Division leading Ottawa Renegades tomorrow night at Canad Inns Stadium.

"Right now is a perfect time for us to be playing them," said Blue Bombers defensive tackle Joe Fleming, noting that some people aren't putting much stock into last week's 44-14 triumph over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. "Wins are wins and you have to get the one's you're supposed to. This is one people don't expect us to win, so it gives us a little extra motivation. We've got a lot to prove to people and that's a good thing."

Blue Bombers head coach Jim Daley didn't need long to answer when asked what was the biggest challenge the Renegades provide?

"Their defence is fast and their secondary is really fast, they're a fast football team," said Daley. "Their core group has been in place for three or four years and they're playing really good football."

MENNIE BACK IN: Rookie linebacker Scott Mennie is the lone roster addition for the Blue Bombers this week, replacing defensive lineman Martin Lapostolle.

The decision was made partly because Mennie has emerged as the backup long-snapper behind Chris Cvetkovic.

"We hope we don't have to punt often but we don't want to have a situation where we take a weapon like (punter) Jon Ryan and not have it available," said Daley, noting Mennie will also be used on special teams.

Daley was tempted to insert wide receiver Darnell McDonald, but he would have had to take out linebacker Ron Ockimey.

"Right now Ottawa's special teams are very explosive, especially with (Jason) Armstead as a returner," said Daley. "This gives us another week to get Darnell in even better shape. There's no question in our mind that when he's game ready, he'll be very good for us."

BREAK ON THROUGH: Blue Bombers returner extraordinaire Keith Stokes isn't concerned he has only one punt return for a touchdown and no kick returns for touchdowns through eight games.

"I try to break one every week but my goal is to give the offence great field position," said Stokes. "I know it's only a matter of time before I break one. I bet at this time last year I probably didn't have any. It's a long season, just be patient and things will happen."

BATTLE TESTED: A day after talking about the need to build depth for the secondary, the Blue Bombers put defensive back Jemonte Battle through the paces.

Battle, 23, was released by the Tiger-Cats last week but appeared in 10 games with the Tabbies in 2004 after signing as a free agent.

Battle had 22 defensive tackles, eight special teams tackles, one interception and one fumble return last season.


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