Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive lineman riding the Greavy train

Chris Greaves has become a solid offensive lineman after spending most of his football life on the...

Chris Greaves has become a solid offensive lineman after spending most of his football life on the defensive side of the ball.

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:45 PM ET

WINNIPEG - Not even Chris Greaves himself knows what his actual ceiling as a football player might be.

And how could he?

Greaves is about to start his fourth CFL season and second as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers left guard and despite encountering some expected growing pains, the man who spent most of his football life as a defensive lineman has quickly turned heads inside the organization.

“I thought he made a lot of strides last year,” said Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke. “He’s got all of the ability in the world to be an All-CFL player. I don’t think there’s anybody at guard that’s as athletic as him in the league.”

Now that’s what you call heady praise.

But it came with a caveat, which is understandable when you consider the difficulty of the transition Greaves has been making since the Blue Bombers chose him in the sixth round (45th overall) of the 2010 CFL Draft.

“He’s just got to improve his technique,” said Burke. “He has a tendency to be over-exuberant in trying to execute his technique instead of being a little bit more patient and working into his technique. If he learns that, he’s going to be a very good player.

“He’s been a defensive player his whole life, so he’s got a little bit of a defensive personality, a little more aggressive but sometimes he needs to be less aggressive, because defensive linemen are going to move on him, there’s going to be linebackers shooting gaps and he’s got to be under control to see that.”

Make no mistake, for a guy learning on the fly, Greaves is ahead of the curve.

“He had some growing pains last year, but as the season went on, he was probably playing his best football at the end of the year. He progressed well,” said Blue Bombers offensive line coach Pat DelMonaco, now in his fourth season with the club and the man working closely to enhance Greaves’ development. “There’s a little bit of learning on the job and the more he’s in situations, the quicker he is at adapting to the situation the next time he faces it.

“He has athletic ability, power. He’s a phenomenal athlete, he’s quick off the ball, plays with great leverage and uses his hips really well. He’s very explosive.”

But it’s more than his physical talents that impress his coaches.

“Chris is going to continue to grow as a player and he’ll determine what his ceiling is, because he’s a great worker who is dedicated to his craft,” said DelMonaco. “The sky is the limit.”

The soft-spoken Greaves appreciates the accolades, but they’re certainly not going to his head.

When asked if the mentality was any different coming back to training camp after his first full season as a starter, Greaves simply smiled.

“Absolutely not. Your whole premise as a pro is to work as hard every day possible or else,” said Greaves. “The minute you slip up, the bottom can fall out and that means you’re out of a job.”

As for the question about his own ceiling, Greaves took a pass.

“I can’t even assess that, to be perfectly honest,” said Greaves, who played college football with the Western Ontario Mustangs. “My goal is to just get better every day. I’m not even looking that far down the road.

“At the end of the day, if you’re not winning games, it’s hard to gauge my own development. My goal is to win, more than anything. That’s it.”


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