Renaud sees Dr. Bob

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:53 AM ET

WINNIPEG - It is not exactly the best time to see your punter start to struggle.

Not when the Blue Bombers are preparing to face the best kick returner in the CFL in Toronto on Saturday.

Winnipeg’s usually-reliable Mike Renaud shanked some punts, simply mis-hit others, and finished Sunday’s game against Montreal with a lowly 38-yard average.

With the task of booting the ball to Argos’ ever-dangerous Chad Owens this week, Renaud stayed in Montreal an extra day to seek out advice from his former college coach, Gerry McGrath (a former CFL kicker), and invited legendary Bomber punter Bob Cameron to practice for some tips Wednesday.

“It was not the best game I had, but those things happen and you just kind of have to pick up and move on,” Renaud said Thursday. “I need to dig deep and find the strength to finish the last seven games strong. It’s not something I’m discouraged by. I look forward to the challenges of getting better and helping the team win.”

Cameron noticed his mechanics were off because Renaud was using the technique for kicking into the wind on every single punt, then helped him correct it.

“It’s just a matter of being mentally tough, starting from scratch and going out there to have a hell of a game on Saturday in Toronto,” said Renaud, who knows just how important the kicking game will be there.

“Chad is a pretty dynamic player and whenever we play Toronto, we have to limit his opportunities,” Renaud said. “So, a large part is on my shoulders and the kicking game is to kind of squeeze the field so, he doesn’t get too many opportunities.

“This happens to be the best returner in the league but, with our cover team and my capabilities, we should be able to limit him and, eventually, erase his dynamics.”

Owens leads the CFL in combined yardage.

“He’s a talented player,” said Winnipeg head coach Paul LaPolice. “We told our players that if we can win the special teams battle against the Argos, we’ve got a good chance of winning the football game because it’s so crucial what they do, and they’re so good at it.”

BROWN IFFY: Bombers import kick returner Tim Brown left the field with the trainer midway through Thursday’s practice and did not return.

“He sliced the webbing in his fingers and we’ll have to see how it is, whether it has to be stitched up,” LaPolice said. “(Then), we’ll make a decision on whether he can go (to Toronto) or not.”

If Brown cannot go, the Bombers would either take an extra receiver or linebacker, LaPolice indicated.

RIBS IMPROVING: Bombers QB Buck Pierce said the bruised ribs that had bothered him last week are starting to improve.

“Yeah, I didn’t take too many shots in the game (against Montreal),” he said. “I took a few, but I feel better than I did last week.”

HASHMARKS: The Bombers released import DB Arrington Hicks on Thursday … Assistants Markus Howell and Casey Creehan screamed at each other during Thursday’s practice. “Just a miscommunication,” LaPolice said.


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