Rival Grey Cup defences trade jabs

Esks Marcus Henry tries to avoid Dante Marsh during the Eskimos game vs BC Lions at Commonwealth...

Esks Marcus Henry tries to avoid Dante Marsh during the Eskimos game vs BC Lions at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, AB on July 9, 2011. (PERRY MAH/QMI Agency)

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:28 PM ET

Consider it the first salvo of what should be a very interesting Grey Cup week.

Sunday night after the red-hot B.C. Lions had dismantled Edmonton, 40-23, in the West Final, Lions defensive back Dante Marsh suggested it was B.C.’s defence, and not Winnipeg’s, that is the CFL’s finest, based on the statistics.

Over to you, CEO of Swaggerville.

“I don’t know what statistical categories he was looking at,” Bomber corner Jovon Johnson said, Monday. “I coulda swore we were the best defence in the majority of the categories. But everybody has their own opinion. He feels strongly about his defence, just like I feel strongly about ours. We’ll see where the chips fall when we play each other this week.”

A check of the league’s season-ending stats shows the Bombers ranked No. 1 in 12 categories, including total yards allowed per game. The Lions ranked first in five, including fewest points against.

“He’s not going to say we’re the best, the way they’re playing,” Winnipeg linebacker Marcellus Bowman said. “That’s OK. I don’t want to get into a battle of the words.”

As Johnson said, at this point it doesn’t really matter.

“Maybe they were the best defence in the West, we were the best defence in the East,” the East nominee for top defensive player said. “Two great defences going against each other in the big game. That’s what we look forward to.”

Winnipeg’s defence will likely be without its other starting corner from Sunday’s 19-3 East Final win over Hamilton.

Brandon Stewart was on crutches and keeping weight off a sprained ankle, Monday.

He’d likely be replaced be Deon Beasley, who finished out Sunday’s game.

Head coach Paul LaPolice termed Stewart “day-to-day,” adding the rest of the team should be ready to go this week, including quarterback Buck Pierce, who turned an ankle against the Tiger-Cats.

The Blue Bombers will head to the Grey Cup in Vancouver via Westjet on Tuesday at 4:45 p.m.

Any fans who want to give them a proper sendoff should be at the airport about 90 minutes prior to that departure.

— With files from Jim Bender


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