Meet the new Blue

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 2:03 PM ET

Another week, another seven or eight roster changes for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

How do you feel about that, Doug Berry?

"I feel great," the head coach said. "We've got our secondary in place, we've got our linebackers basically in place, we've still got some guys on the D-line, our O-line is in place, we've got our top three receivers, (and) we've got our quarterback. We'll be fine."

He better hope so, because a loss tomorrow afternoon against the host Toronto Argonauts will drop the Bombers out of first place for the first time since Week 3. It would also seriously hamper their chances of hosting the East Division final.

If the Bombers are going to emerge victorious, they will do so without running back Charles Roberts (thigh) and defensive tackle Doug Brown (eye). Fred Reid will start at tailback, while Jon Oosterhuis will line up in Brown's spot.

"It's a tough task. It's not going to be easy," slotback Milt Stegall said. "We've got a couple of topnotch guys down, so we know we gotta really step up if we want to win this game."

Other players coming off the roster include punter Rob Pikula (ankle), defensive end Brian Guebert (hamstring), defensive back Davin Bush (ankle), and cornerback Ian Logan (groin) and kick returner Albert Johnson III.

Linebacker Ike Charlton (shoulder) could still play, according to GM Brendan Taman, and might be a game-time decision. If Charlton can't go, Marcus Winn will start at outside linebacker.

Going on the roster are placekicker Troy Westwood, offensive lineman Matt Sheridan, defensive tackle Jabari Issa, linebacker David Lowry, defensive back Anthony Malbrough, punter Pat Fleming and Keith Stokes, who will back up Reid at tailback and return punts and kicks in place of Johnson.

The Argos traded Stokes to Montreal in the off-season, and he was cut during the Alouettes training camp.

"It's great to be back on a team and given the opportunity to play as soon as I get back," Stokes said. "I'm real excited about going out there to play, not even that it's Toronto. I don't care who we play.

"... We're going to play well. We're going to have a great game, and special teams is going to do real well this week."

WHAT DISTRACTIONS? Things have been tense on Maroons Road this week with the injuries to key players and the kicking situation, but you wouldn't know it from watching practice yesterday.

At the conclusion of the two-hour workout, 312-pound offensive lineman Andrew Greene attempted four field goals in front of the entire team. Those who thought he would make at least half of them lined up on one side, and those who didn't stood on the other.

Greene made only one kick, but all the players seemed to get a kick out of it. Berry hinted it was exactly what the doctor ordered after a tension-filled week.

"This is what I wanted to end practice with," Berry said.

Stegall said Berry has done a great job of keeping the team focused on the biggest game of the season despite all the potential distractions. Besides, Stegall noted, the focus this week was mainly on the kickers.

"Kickers aren't football players," Stegall said. "They're important. Don't get me wrong, they're very important, but kickers don't go through the same thing other players go through, so we haven't put much emphasis on that.

"Coach Berry's taken care of that, and he's made sure we haven't had to think about that. So that hasn't distracted us one bit, because we know the task at hand."

LATE HITS: The Argos, who have won five in a row, will start John Avery at running back. Robert Edwards is out with an undisclosed injury ... The Bombers are 3-13-1 at Rogers Centre in regular-season games since 1995 ... Argos quarterback Michael Bishop is 9-1 as a starter this season.


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