Bombers stick to plan

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:17 AM ET

Nothing new?

The Blue Bombers will employ five-receiver sets this Sunday, Winnipeg head coach Mike Kelly confirmed yesterday.

Michael Bishop will start at quarterback but may not play the whole game and the offensive players will continue to wear the wristbands -- except for the offensive linemen.

Kelly, who had seemed so reluctant to use five-receiver sets earlier, preferring to keep an extra back to block, claimed this will not be the first time.

"A lot of stuff you're seeing is just a modification of what we've been doing," he said. "It's nothing new or anything.

"We got caught last week with the backs not getting out and that hurt us. We need to spread the field, so now we've given it a little more point of emphasis, a little more structure to get them out there."

Kelly did admit to shelving some of those schemes when Bishop arrived "because there was a little more sophistication to it and we wanted to get him up to speed," he said."

But both Bishop and recently-arrived quarterback Casey Bramlet are apparently up to speed now.

Although the QBs and receivers will continue to use the wristband system that allows the pass catchers to stand around waiting for the coaches to call plays and save their legs, the O-linemen will no longer be part of that plan.

"It's hard to change habits with those guy," Kelly conceded.

Bishop, meanwhile, will stay in the game if he plays well. If not, Casey Bramlet will get his first taste of the CFL.

DEFENDING QB: Bishop may have struggled lately but Kelly stuck up for his embattled QB, who replaced injured starter Stefan LeFors six games ago.

"He came in here under adverse conditions," he said. "We throw him in in a week and he goes out there and gets a win for us. He's gone above and beyond what I had anticipated to get himself into a position to be successful. No one should ever sell Michael Bishop short because he's done an outstanding job here.

"Now he finds himself in a situation where another quarterback comes in. Mike struggled a little bit and now, another guy's getting a chance to get looked at and Mike's demeanour hasn't changed. If anything, his focus and determination has increased."

A KEEPER: Overlooked in the wake of last Sunday's 55-10 loss to Saskatchewan was the play of import DL Michael Landry in his first CFL game. Landry recorded five defensive tackles while seeing just spot duty.

"It just felt good to finally get out and play after sitting here for more than a month (with a calf injury)," Landry said. "I can't feel too good because we lost but I felt more confident and I'm just looking forward to playing more."

Kelly noticed.

"He maybe exceeded some expectations and he confirmed some expectations," he said.

HASHMARKS: Winnipeg DL Doug Brown faces off against Saskatchewan SB Weston Dressler in Reebok's Best Move Competition this weekend. Fans can sign up and vote at www.reebokfootball.ca/en ... WR Brock Ralph (hip pointer) will likely miss this Sunday's match. Either DE Riall Johnson or WR Michael Hyman could replace him ... SB Arjei Franklin will return from the nine-game injury list next week.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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