Sick bay may be a little thinner when the Blue Bombers return to practice Tuesday.
But school is still out on Winnipeg quarterback Buck Pierce, who is being bothered by a knee problem.
“We’re hoping to get some guys back, some healthier guys,” said Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice, who addressed the media for the first time after the club’s bye week ended Sunday. “We’re hoping (safety) Ian Logan will be back. The quarterback thing, we’re not sure about yet. Buck ran around a little bit (Sunday) but we’ll watch him practice and see where he is. What we don’t want to do is put him in a position where he can’t move around, so we’ll evaluate that process. Then, the rest of guys will see day-to-day.”
LaPolice is also hoping rookie linebacker Marcellus Bowman will be able to return this week. But neither rookie receiver Terence Jeffers-Harris nor import offensive tackle Andre Douglas will be able to play against the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the annual Labour Day Classic this Sunday.
LaPolice will welcome at least three new players to practice Tuesday but declined to reveal who they are or what positions they will play. However, it is expected that they will have an offensive tackle, defensive tackle and a receiver — all imports — in town.
“That’s what happens this time of year,” LaPolice said. “It’s an ever-evolving process.”
After taking a couple of days off, LaPolice and his staff spent the week poring over film to assess the first eight games of the season that resulted in a 2-6 record.
“We tried to harp on the coaches — and myself especially — are we putting them into position to be successful?” he said. “A lot of times, we can look at things and say, why aren’t we good at this?”
The quarterbacks had not been good at protecting the ball, at least fumble-wise. The kickoff return game has been awful and the defence has given up too many big plays.
“We can be stronger at protecting the fumble,” LaPolice said. “Defensively, we talked about preventing the big plays and I know we’ve had a lot of different guys playing. What’s hard is that we’ve had so much changeover at the back end and guys playing different spots because of injuries. We still have to make sure we can prevent the big plays.”
LaPolice did point out that the Bombers are among the league leaders in punt returns.
“Jovon (Johnson) has obviously done a tremendous job,” he said. “We showed about four clips and if we make the (block), we get four more touchdowns, possibly.”
The Bombers are currently in last place in the CFL East and, because they need to finish ahead of the third-place team in the West to get a crossover playoff berth, they would be out of the post-season picture if the playoffs were to start today.
“We want to make sure that the players continue to try to get better and we put ourselves into position in the second half to make the playoffs,” LaPolice said. “We’re in a position to still compete for second, third. First is a long way to go but definitely second and third.
“Our goal is to make sure we make the playoffs and what happened before, we can learn from. I want to forget the past but I want to learn from it and move forward.”
But first, the Bombers will participate in their annual golf tournament at Glendale Golf and Country Club on Monday.
So, how is LaPolice’s golf game?
“Not very good,” he said. “I think I’ll just be there for show and helping out (Monday).”