Kelly's humble side

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:19 PM ET

Meet the Mr. Humble side of Dr. Kelly.

Winnipeg head coach Mike Kelly was told that a local bus driver and a season ticket holder left the Blue Bombers game early for the first time last Sunday as they were blown out by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

"If I knew he was leaving early, I would have gotten on the bus with him," Kelly joked yesterday. "I didn't want to watch any more, either. Or maybe stand in front of the bus.

"I know our fans are out there and I know they're frustrated, and we're trying to do everything that we can ... I know it's been a long drive here but we're trying to build something that we can sustain. We really feel like we're close. We're all frustrated and we let our frustrations out in different ways, and I understand I have to control mine better."

SIN CITY: The Bombers leave for Montreal today where they will take on the league-leading Alouettes tomorrow. But Kelly is not worried about his new players getting lured by the temptations of Sin City.

"That's something we have not had one single problem with this year," Kelly claimed. "When we go to play, our guys are focused and understand the task at hand. I also have meetings at night so that breaks the rhythm ...

"Our culture needed to be changed here and our culture in the way we handled ourselves has increased very much in a positive manner. I'm not worried about the guys going out and running the streets in Montreal. We all understand that we're 3-7. That's the reality of it and that's not what we should be and the only way we're going to be 4-7 is if we go over there with a business mindset and a positive mindset, then go and do what we need to do."

Recently-arrived quarterback Casey Bramlet has heard all about Montreal's rep because his brother lives in Vancouver.

"He has in-laws in Montreal and he told me what to expect," Bramlet said. "He likes it. He thinks it's a pretty cool city."

THE ANSWER?: The Bombers may have found the answer to their return game in their own midst. CB Jovon Johnson has improved each time out since being handed the job.

Kelly told Johnson he played "gladiator football" last Sunday.

"He is really playing well at the cornerback position, breaks on the ball very well," Kelly said. "He's calmed down some of the concerns people have had about our return game. He takes great pride in it; he hits it hard, and he's handled the football pretty well and protected it well. My hat's off to him for as many snaps as he took."

Johnson returned kicks last season before being replaced by Jason Armstead.

"I've always been comfortable back there, it was just a matter of having the opportunity to go back there and do it," Johnson said earlier this week. "Early in the year, they told me they didn't want me to do it because they thought I would be tired because I was playing all the defence. But that's not the case. I'm always in shape and I'm always ready to go and I know I'm back there because of ability."

HASHMARKS: DE Riall Johnson will return from injury, replacing WR Brock Ralph (hip pointer) on the roster. Import WR Dudley Guice Jr. will replace DE Michael Landry ... Montreal WR Kerry Watkins (knee) left practice early Thursday but is expected to play tomorrow ... Montreal has signed former Bomber LB Anthony Maggiaccomo, who may play tomorrow.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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