WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are not planning to change their base defence to a 3-4.
So says head coach Paul LaPolice, who was asked about the possibility after Blue Bombers defensive end Odell Willis tweeted that he was shifting to linebacker this season.
LaPolice acknowledged there were times last season when Willis was used in the linebacker position and that would likely continue in 2011 as the team continues to work on different looks to throw off opposition offences.
“(Defensive co-ordinator) Tim (Burke) spent some time with the Green Bay Packers and part of the things we took out of that was that one of the best defensive players in the NFL is (linebacker) Clay Matthews, who is a guy who can rush the passer and do all of those things,” said LaPolice. “Most of the time he is rushing the passer. There are some packages we’re talking about installing with the guys to put us in a position where we can rush just the passer like we’ve done out of the four-man front, but also back those guys up and let them come off the edge.
“It’s jargon. We know what our players can do and we’ll put them in a position to be successful. Sometimes it could be from a 3-4 (three defensive linemen and four linebackers) and sometimes it could be from a four-man rush.”
There was also a potential development when it comes to Friday’s CFL supplemental draft.
While Central Michigan receiver Kito Poblah remains in the sights of the Blue Bombers, Mississippi defensive tackle Ted Laurent could draw some interest as well.
It is not yet known if Laurent will be eligible for the draft, but he lived in Montreal before moving to Atlanta when he was 13-years-old.
“He might be a little small for the NFL, he’s 6-feet and 305 pounds and has a good motor,” said LaPolice. “He’s very strong, physical. We’re working through the process of whether he’ll be in or not. We’ve been evaluating film and we’ve contacted a lot of the coaches at Ole Miss and had conversations with them. He’s somebody who is going to be highly regarded by a lot of people.”
With defensive linchpin Doug Brown on record saying this is his final season, Laurent might give the Blue and Gold some insurance for down the road.
However, LaPolice said he wasn’t counting on coming away with two players from Friday’s supplemental draft so it’s possible the Blue Bombers may be forced to choose between Laurent and Poblah.
LaPolice said talks with linebacker Henoc Muamba, the first overall pick in the 2011 CFL Draft, are ongoing but that there was no progress to report.
“We’re still working through that process,” said LaPolice. “Not many of the first rounders have been signed yet.”
Blue Bombers general manager Joe Mack re-iterated on Tuesday that the two sides were close and that he expects Muamba to sign prior to training camp.
Rookies report next Wednesday, with veterans arriving for physicals on June 4, with full camp beginning the following day.