Bomber O-line has hands-off policy

Veteran Obby Khan, at practice above on Monday, anchors an offensive line whose No. 1 priority is...

Veteran Obby Khan, at practice above on Monday, anchors an offensive line whose No. 1 priority is Buck Pierce's health. (MARCEL CRETAIN/IWINNIPEG SUN)

Ken Wiebe, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:56 PM ET

The offensive line knew they weren’t responsible for all of the five quarterback sacks the Winnipeg Blue Bombers allowed in their opening game of the 2011 season.

 

But that doesn’t mean they didn’t want to see that number decrease dramatically.

It was mission accomplished on that front in last Friday’s 22-16 triumph over the Toronto Argonauts as the Blue Bombers gave up only one sack (to former NFLer Claude Wroten).

A step in the right direction? Absolutely.

Cause for celebration? Not even maybe.

“Our No. 1 job is to keep quarterback Buck Pierce healthy,” said Blue Bombers centre Obby Khan. “Even if he doesn’t get hurt or that we don’t give up a lot of sacks, it’s those hits we have to eliminate. We have to prevent people from laying a head-butt on him, we have to completely get rid of people touching him. Until we can go through a game without having Buck even get touched once, I don’t think you’ll see an O-lineman happy.”

That’s a pretty high standard, but it’s a legitimate goal.

“We didn’t like seeing the five go up there, but we’re not happy with the one either,” said Blue Bombers guard Brendon LaBatte. “Our primary goal is to get Buck in a good rhythm and for him to be comfortable. As we move on (this season) we expect to get better and better.”

Blue Bombers offensive line coach Pat DelMonaco says the Calgary Stampeders — who serve as the opponent on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Canad Inns Stadium — present some interesting challenges for line.

“It’s a different MO — they have more of a confusion-oriented style,” said DelMonaco. “They’re going to be bringing people from all different areas and really force us to have to move quickly and make snap decisions.”

HASHMARKS: Defensive back Alex Suber (leg) was back on the field Tuesday and should be in on Thursday, but receiver Greg Carr (quadriceps) remained on the sidelines and is unlikely, though he wasn’t ruled out. LaPolice also said that linebacker Henoc Muamba (knee) didn’t suffer a setback when he did some running Friday but he remains out for at least one more week. Defensive end Fernand Kashama continued to work with the first-team defence on Tuesday.

 


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