Defensive line looking like bright spot

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:29 PM ET

The silver lining on defence should be back in the Winnipeg trenches once again.

Tom Canada is playing like the defensive end that earned him the Blue Bombers' nominee for rookie of the year three seasons back.

Defensive end Gavin Walls is rounding back into the form that earned him CFL rookie-of-the-year honours last year. And Doug Brown is still one of the best defensive tackles in the entire circuit.

Throw in Ron Warner, Dante Booker or Cameron Legault and the Bombers can boast a solid front four once again. With some help from rookie Stevie Baggs, should he stick around.

"I think we're ready to go," Canada said after Winnipeg's 30-15 loss to the Alouettes in a CFL pre-season game Montreal on Thursday. "We were real vanilla on defence (Thursday) and the mistakes that hurt us were our own. We don't feel like they came out and pounded on us.

"We've got a hell of a squad. We've had a great camp and we've had some great new additions and solid guys from last year. It will be exciting to see how we all gel once the final cuts are made. Hopefully, we can get some chemistry out there, then we can just go after quarterbacks."

Canada recorded three defensive tackles and two hurries in the game.

"I'm having fun out there, enjoying myself and feeling a lot more confident than you do when you're a rookie and even your second year," he said. "This is my third year and I'm looking forward to doing better things. I'm trying to improve on my game and hopefully, we can all pull together and have THE best D-line in the league."

Even Bombers head coach Doug Berry seemed pleased with the defence.

"We played the run game real well and we didn't do a lot of blitz," he said. "We're still trying to evaluate guys. We're not into our (defensive) scheme (yet). Our cover guys did a decent job."

NOT SHARP: Berry, though, was not as pleased with either the offence or special teams.

"We weren't as sharp as we needed to be," he said. "There were a lot of mistakes in the kicking game, we didn't pass block real well. We didn't come up with plays from the receivers when we needed to."

There seemed to be a flag thrown on every return, one of which negated a 76-yard punt return by Albert Johnson III.

"Obviously, 87 (Johnson) had a heck of a return," Berry said. "The penalty (illegal block on Ian Logan) really had no impact on the result so, in a normal situation, that would have been a return for a touchdown. So he had some nice returns. I'm very pleased with that."

CALVILLO SHARP: Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo completed 17 of 27 passes and two touchdowns, leading the Als to 21 points in only one half of work. He was also picked off twice. Winnipeg cornerback Omar Evans had one of those interceptions.

"I'm trying to get as many (picks) as I can out there this year," Evans said after getting one in the first exhibition game against the Als last week. "I'm trying to start it out right."


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