Doggett returning to Bombers

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:37 PM ET

The special teams saviour is on his way back to town.

As QMI Agency first reported, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will bring import linebacker Derrick Doggett back Monday and you can bet the special teams demon will be inserted into the lineup and trying to turn water into wine as soon as this Friday when the Bombers play the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton.

The Bombers have surrendered three touchdowns on kick returns ó two on missed field goals ó in the first two games of the CFL season and Doggett should rejuvenate Winnipeg's downtrodden kick cover teams.

"I heard a little bit about it," Doggett said from his San Diego, Calif., home Saturday. "I'm just going to come, work hard to help out and do my best."

His best is pretty good. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Oregon State product recorded 27 special teams tackles in 15 games last season, which was fifth in the CFL.

"I'm excited about coming back," said Doggett, 25. "I can't wait."

The Bombers actually asked him to return last Tuesday, said Doggett, who had failed a tryout with the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers and remained Bomber property.

"He's got experience in the league, that's the first thing I'll say," said Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice. "Then, we'll have to evaluate whether he'll be on the roster this week. I'm not guaranteeing that.

"But, at least we know he's somebody who made some plays on special teams last year and is somebody who knows the league, and that's a big part of what happens up here, with how many special teams plays there are. He was productive last year and he looked good on film when we saw him on teams last year."

Doggett will be returning to a club with a new head coach and new GM (Joe Mack), but has been kept abreast of all the latest in Bomberville.

"I still know a lot of players there and they've kept in contact with me," said Doggett, who played in college with defensive lineman Dorian Smith and running back Yvenson Bernard. "And I've been talking to some of the veterans like (linebacker) Ike Charlton and (cornerback) Jovon (Johnson)."

No word on whether they were begging him to come back after witnessing yet another TD scored on a missed field goal return during their 36-34 loss to Toronto on Friday.

"The first thing we'd say is we have to make a 45-yard field goal," LaPolice said. "When we get down in our coverage, people have got to be in the right lanes. We had a guy fall down and we had another guy out of position so, we've got to get guys in the right spots, and we'll have to get them coached up to be in the right spots.

"When you miss two tackles on that team, plus have another guy out of position, it will be difficult."

Placekicker Alexis Serna missed that 45-yarder, which could have given Winnipeg a 30-24 lead at the time. Instead, Chad Owens returned the miss for a major and the Argos took a 31-27 lead that they never relinquished.

ďItís a big momentum swing, and we canít do that and be able to beat teams in this league," LaPolice said.

It was Serna's fourth miss in two outings.

ďIt definitely makes a miss feel a lot worse," Serna said. "If I make the kick, they donít get the seven points. Thatís a 10-point swing there. Itís just one of those things. Itís tough. Iím still kind of dumbfounded by the way that ball hooked right to left.

ďMy confidence is definitely not shaken. I hit the ball well all day. I was 2-for-3, but that one miss was kind of big. Itís definitely magnified by the return.Ē

ó With files from Kirk Penton

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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