Shabazz has pizzazz

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 4:58 AM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bomber offence may still be finding itself, but it didn't take long for the defence to pick up its first accolade of the season.

Linebacker Siddeeq Shabazz got the nod as the CFL defensive player of the week for his work in the Week 2 win over Calgary, Friday.

"It's good to be recognized sometimes," Shabazz said. "But the personal accolades don't usually mean as much as the win."

Shabazz's play contributed directly to the win, as his second-half interception for a touchdown sealed it. He also registered six tackles.

"He made big-time plays in that game," linebacker Barrin Simpson said. "He was just flying around. When you get the opportunity and it's your turn to make a play, you gotta make it."

Through two games, Simpson and Shabazz are among the CFL's top-10 tacklers, Simpson tied with Montreal's Chip Cox for the lead league, with 14.

It's a familiar spot for the Minister of Defence, who's led the league in tackles three times in his eight-year career.

"I just go out there and try to help us win," Simpson said. "I don't really keep a tally."

The Bomber defence is ranked sixth, statistically, in the loop, allowing 359 yards per game, but Shabazz says it's better than that.

"I really enjoy watching this defence play," the former Edmonton Eskimo said. "It's the best defence I've been on."

The Bombers and Montreal have been the two toughest teams to run against. But Winnipeg is ranked last in pass defence, allowing 314 yards per game.

When it comes to points against, though, only the Alouettes have been stingier than the Bombers' 24.5 per game.

GOOD READ ON GOODSPEED: Defensive end Gavin Walls will see plenty of former teammate Dan Goodspeed in Hamilton Saturday, as Goodspeed is one of the Ticats starting tackles.

"We're good friends, but at the same time I'm pretty sure we're going to have a good battle going on," Walls said. "He may know some of my secrets. But it'll be hard to game-plan me, because I'm going full speed every play. If you can stop that, then you got me."

Of course, Walls knows what makes Goodspeed tick, too, having gone against him in practice so long.

Walls doubts, though, that he'll resort to trash-talking.

"I wouldn't talk no trash to him unless he hits me in the face mask or something. I hate that, when people hit me in my face mask. It's not going to be nothing personal. As long as they don't take his butt kicking personally."

Walls laughed.

"No, no, it's going to be a good game. We need to win."

ADIOS: The Bombers have released receiver Kyle Smith and OL Thaddeus Coleman, both imports, plus Winnipeg-born linebacker Neil Ternovatsky from their practice roster.

SICK BAY: Fred Reid (ankle) sat out practice yesterday, but head coach Mike Kelly still says the running back is expected to play this week. Kelly said linebacker Joe Lobendahn (shoulder) is still about two weeks away.

MORE STARS: The other players of the week were Hamilton running back DeAndra Cobb (offence), Montreal kick returner Larry Taylor (special teams) and B.C. lineman Brent Johnson (Canadian).

THE LAST WORD: Kelly had this to say, when asked about his combative nature with confrontational fans, such as those on his weekly radio show.

"I have fun with all this," Kelly said. "I understand we haven't won in this city. Perceptions change when you haven't won in 18 years. People are a little skeptical and bitter, if you will.

"If you ask me logical questions, I'll try to give you a logical answer. But expect if you throw a hand grenade at me, I'll try to pick it up and throw it right back at you."

paul.friesen@sunmedia.ca


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