Door open for Canucks

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

Such is life in the Canadian Football League.

Because starting Canadian offensive lineman Mike Abou-Mechrek will miss Winnipeg's next game due to a shoulder injury, the non-import receivers will have to shine when the Blue Bombers face Montreal at Canad Inns Stadium on Saturday.

Huh?

Jermese Jones, an American, will replace Abou-Mechrek at tackle. To make room, import receiver Shockmain Davis must sit, meaning that Canadian receivers Jamie Stoddard, Arjei Franklin and Darryl Ray -- who will dress for the first time this season -- must pick up the slack sharing two receiver positions.

"It's going to be more of a role that I have to play, as well as the other Canadian receivers," said Franklin. "So, we're going to have to step up. This is an opportunity for us to show that we can play -- even in American spots."

The rookie is at least coming off his best game as a Bomber after catching three passes for 25 yards against the Argos in Toronto last week.

"It felt pretty good to get more action out there," said the 5-foot-9, 191-pound Windsor product. "Every day, I'm feeling a little more comfortable when I step on the field. I just feel like I've seen it before and I'm just excited to take a more active role in the offence."

But playing in his hometown helped.

"I remember just dreaming about playing there as a kid because any kid who's born in Toronto, that's the stadium they want to play in," said Franklin, 24. "To say that I finally had the opportunity to play professional football in the Rogers Centre was just a dream-come-true. I had family and friends come up from Windsor and high school friends I hadn't seen in years show up so, it was great."

Franklin has impressed head coach Doug Berry since training camp.

'DONE A GOOD JOB'

"He's done a good job since he's been here," he said. "He's shown the ability and the mental aptitude to handle it all, moving around from position to position. He's ready to make a bit more of a contribution."

Stoddard, however, had become the forgotten man in the passing attack.

"If the reads take us to Jamie, we go to him and if the reads don't take us there, we don't," Berry explained. "In reality, during a game, we actually try to get the ball to him two or three times and the rest of the time is haphazard. Someone like Milt (Stegall), we try to get him the ball a little bit more.

"It's not like we're not trying to get the ball to Jamie. I want to have equal distribution as much as possible. You know, in Montreal, the theme was to have four 1,000-yard receivers. We may not get that here but the more places you distribute the ball, the more the defence has to worry about."


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