Bombers looking for placekicker — again

Sakoda first tweaked his calf muscle on Thursday, but didn’t tell the Bomber coaching staff.

Sakoda first tweaked his calf muscle on Thursday, but didn’t tell the Bomber coaching staff.

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:17 PM ET

Try not to get dizzy, folks, because the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ kicking carousel is spinning at top speed once again.

Yes, you’ve seen this movie before.

The Bombers will have two new placekickers on the field when they return to practice on Sunday morning. Louie Sakoda is doubtful to play on Thursday in Montreal due to a strained right calf suffered before Winnipeg’s 39-28 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday.

“We’ll have a couple guys here and make a decision pretty quick,” head coach Paul LaPolice said Saturday.

According to sources, Canadian kickers Warren Kean and Justin Palardy will be the ones vying for the chance to boot for the Bombers (2-5) on Thursday at Molson Stadium.

It won’t be a new situation for Kean, who participated in a kicking competition in Winnipeg two summers ago.

That’s when Doug Berry brought him in to challenge the struggling Alexis Serna, who coincidentally was released on Tuesday.

Kean, who had a solid training camp with the Calgary Stampeders this year, never did kick a ball in anger for the Blue and Gold before getting cut two months later.

Palardy was Hamilton’s punter for its first five games this season before getting released last week. His specialty is placekicking, however, as the Saint Mary’s University product made 23 of 27 field goals last fall for the Huskies.

If Kean or Palardy can get the job done, it would allow the Bombers to dress an import elsewhere in the lineup.

Where Sakoda fits into the situation remains to be seen.

The import kicker was supposed to make his Bomber debut on Friday night, but he informed the brass about 45 minutes before the game that he couldn’t go because of a strained calf muscle.

It turns out he tweaked the muscle on Thursday but didn’t tell anyone.

It wasn’t so painful that he couldn’t boot 50-yard field goals during the warmup, but it became too much moments later when he was kicking into the net on the sidelines.

The Bombers were not impressed that they didn’t find out about the tweak when it first occurred.

“We didn’t know about it,” LaPolice said. “He just kind of thought he’d be fine with it. Those are things they have to understand: Let us know anything that happens the day of or the day before a game.

“I don’t know what we would’ve done, because the reserve was already set and a lot of those things, but at least we could’ve possibly had a backup plan.”

LaPolice said Sakoda was “limping pretty good” on Saturday.

Sakoda’s absence on Friday meant punter Mike Renaud and backup linebacker Chris Smith had to handle the placekicking chores.

Smith had a 57-yard average on two kicks. The rookie’s first boot went out of bounds, but the second, a 72-yard bomb in the third quarter, gave the Bombers some momentum after they had climbed to within 11 points moments before.

The coaching staff held a backup kicker tryout three weeks ago when Renaud was out of the lineup with a knee injury.

“I stuck around and got the job and never thought I was going to have to do it,” Smith said.

“I was a little bit nervous on that first one, and it showed in my kick. The second one worked out nicely.”

The Bombers were never in position to attempt a field goal on Friday, and LaPolice said they would have tried one only if it was from 25 yards or closer.

He added that the team’s kicking misfortune didn’t cost it the game.

“It hurt us field position-wise,” he said, “but we could’ve overcome that and won the game if we played well.”

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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