Bombers' simple plan: Stop Owens

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:37 AM ET

WINNIPEG - The Toronto Argonauts won a lot of games with defence and special teams in 2010. Three of them were against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The Argos won the first two meetings by two points and four points, respectively. Chad Owens had a return touchdown in both games.

When they met again in October, Owens had yet another touchdown and Toronto’s front seven knocked out Winnipeg’s first- and second-string quarterbacks, paving the way for fourth-stringer Joey Elliott to make his CFL debut in a 27-8 loss.

It’s a new season, but the story will remain the same for the Bombers when they host the Argos in their home-opener on Friday night at Canad Inns Stadium: Stop Owens, establish the run against Toronto’s tenacious front seven, and don’t let them hurt quarterback Buck Pierce.

“They’re going to bring pressure,” Pierce said. “Especially when you have a young receiving corps in there. We’ll have to be tuned into that. And we are. We put the work in this week, now we just go out and execute and have fun.”

Both teams, which the pundits expected would battle for the final playoff spot in the East Division, are 1-0, so one of them is going to be undefeated through two weeks.

If it’s the Bombers, they will all but lock up a playoff spot; they’ve made the post-season 13 of the 14 times they’ve started a season with a 2-0 record.

“That’s another one of those stats, just like losing nine games by four points or less last year, that is true but irrelevant,” Bombers left guard Brendon LaBatte said. “It’d be great if we could go out there and get two (points). That’ll put us on the right pace to make the playoffs, but nothing’s won in two games and nothing’s really lost in two games.”

It appears Winnipeg slotback Terrence Edwards will play despite not practising all week due to an arm injury, while Greg Carr is doubtful with a nagging hamstring pull. Clarence Denmark will take Carr’s spot, and four-year veteran Aaron Hargreaves will replace injured rookie Kito Poblah.

The Argos, who are playing their first three games on the road, upset the Calgary Stampeders last week. Like LaBatte, though, guard Taylor Robertson wouldn’t put too much stock in a 2-0 start for his team.

“It’s better than 0-2, but we’re working towards an end goal at the end of the year,” he said.

Friday’s contest is scheduled to be the final home-opener at the Stadium, with the Bombers scheduled to move into their new digs at the University of Manitoba in 2012. Head coach Paul LaPolice would like to make the final year at the 58-year-old Polo Park site a memorable one for the team and its fans.

“We want this to be a place where it’s difficult to play,” LaPolice said. “The only way you do that is you win at home.”


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