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Bombers Defense …. Is it too Inexperienced?

Posted By Jim Penner On Aug 17 2010 @ 11:24 am In Winnipeg Blue Bombers | No Comments

I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days now.  I really shouldn’t be surprised at the 2-5 record of the 2010 Winnipeg Blue Bombers.  We’ve got a rookie head coach with a couple of rookie offensive and defensive coordinators.  On the defensive side of the ball we have only three regular players who have started games in the CFL for more than a year and a half.

Let me explain about the Bomber D.  You have Doug Brown, the 10 year veteran at defensive tackle.  You have Jovon Johnson, the all star corner back who’s played two and a half years and you have CB LaVar Glover who played parts of 4 seasons in BC before joining the Bombers for this year.  If Ian Logan wasn’t injured the Big Blue would have a fourth player with some CFL experience.  The Bombers did have 6 year veteran LB Ike Charlton start the season, but he was cut after the fifth game of the season.  Everyone else was not playing regularly in 2008 and previously.

Three of the starters on the defensive line haven’t played 24 total games yet.  DE Odell Willis has the most experience with 23 games while DT Dorian Smith has 20 games and DE Phillip Hunt has 14 games.  It’s no wonder that these guys are taking a lot of penalties.

At linebacker the situation is much the same.  Middle LB Joe Lobendahn only took over from Barrin Simpson last year and only has about 15 starts under his belt.  The 3 guys playing the SAM and WILL positions are all first year players in Marcellus Bowman, Courtney Smith and Bernard Hicks.  Missed tackles and missed gaps can happen when you don’t know the guy you are lined up beside.

In the secondary except for at the corner it’s much the same story.  Safety Brady Browne is a 2nd year player whose first starts came this year at the expense of the injured Ian Logan.  At the halfback position the Bombers sport 3 players who have limited starting experience in Clint Kent, Brandon Stewart and Alex Suber.  Suber is a first year player.  Stewart has spent the prior three years in the league but only had 6 games to show for his years.  Kent has the most experience having played 14 games with the Montreal Alouettes back in 2006.  This much inexperience accounts for the reoccurring broken coverages.

Former Bomber coach Dave Ritchie had a saying that you could expect to lose one game for every rookie that you had in your starting lineup.  If this saying is true the Bomber defense will be responsible for 8 or 9 losses themselves.  Thank goodness that along with the coaching staff there are only 3 rookies on offense and one at the kicker position.  A record of 5 and 13 is going to make for a long year but with all the changes in BC and Edmonton maybe we can eke out a crossover playoff spot…… if the Bombers can maybe get 6 or 7 wins total.

The upside of all this is that the future looks bright.  If the Bombers can keep the nucleus of this young team together for a couple of years, there’s enough talent to be a top notch CFL defense.  This 2010 defensive dozen ranks 2nd in giving up yards and except for giving up the 2nd most points would have to be considered a top three CFL defense so far this year.  Once these rookies and 2nd year players have a little more game experience, there’s no reason this team shouldn’t be able to go 11 to 14 wins regularly.  After all they shouldn’t have any defensive rookies to blame the losses on.

Notes:  The Bombers take on the 5-2 Alouettes in Montreal this Thursday.  The Als will likely be upset over their last week’s loss to the Toronto Argonauts.  The Bombers should have a new kicker in the lineup once again as Warren Kean, and Justin Palardy are attempted to win the position vacated by Louie Sakoda who pulled a muscle in his leg prior to last week’s game.  Of the next 5 games for the Bombers 4 of them are against league leaders Montreal and the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

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