Do away with Club Med

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

WINNIPEG - In a couple of days, Jovon Johnson will purge the 2010 CFL season from memory bank.

Before that happens however, the cornerback and punt returner had one final thought about the season of close losses, during which the 4-14 Bombers lost a CFL-record nine games by four points or fewer.

Call it constructive criticism, but Johnson believes the number of VIP days needs to be curbed in 2011. VIP days are generally given to players deemed old, tired or a little too nicked up to be on the practice field.

That often didn’t stop them from playing at the end of the week, though, and Johnson, who returned to Winnipeg this week to instruct at the Nomads Athletic Camp at North Centennial Recreation and Leisure Facility, figures that trend has to end.

“We spent too much time with guys on the sideline watching practice, and then when game time comes they’re playing in the games,” Johnson said. “We gotta be more professional. If you’re going to play, you should be at practice.

“The coaches have to put more of an emphasis on that, because a lot of guys take days off practice. It kind of makes me mad, being a veteran guy, that we had guys taking days off of practice and there’s really nothing wrong with them if they’re going to play in the game.

“That type of thing is not professional, and we need to have a lot more guys that actually practise that play in the game.”

Johnson figures the Club Med approach may have played in a role in so many close losses.

“It’ll pay dividends to have the guys that are actually going to play in the game practise with the quarterback or with the defence so we can all build a bond,” Johnson said. “Those type of things help you win games, especially in the late moments of the game.”

ANOTHER NEW BOSS: Johnson is about to get his fourth defensive co-ordinator in four years with the Bombers after Kavis Reed left to become the Edmonton Eskimos head coach.

The only way that number will remain at three is if Greg Marshall returns to the Blue and Gold.

“I would love to have coach Marshall,” Johnson said, “but I wouldn’t be opposed to Richie Hall. He’s a good coach.”

HEFNEY WATCH: Johnson likes to call himself the agent for fellow defensive back Jonathan Hefney, who is poised to become a free agent in February.

“He’s still waiting to see what Winnipeg’s going to do,” Johnson said. “He really wants to be here. I’ve talked to him numerous times. He really wants to play in Winnipeg, but he doesn’t know if they’re going to make him a reasonable offer or not.”


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