As the Winnipeg Blue bombers made final preparations for Saturday’s opening pre-season game in Regina, two players who joined training camp late have really pushed themselves into the mix.
Matt Smalley, a defensive back and kick returner from tiny Lafayette college in Pennsylvania, has only been in Winnipeg for 4 days, but both head coach Mike O’Shea and defensive co-ordinator Richie Hall were singing his praises on Wednesday.
“First he’s smart. He’s only been here a short time but he already knows more than some of the vets who have been here for the last couple of years. He’s very confident and when you have it figured out mentally, you can play fast, and that’s what he has shown” said Hall.
On the other side of the ball, 6-foot 4-inch L’Damian Washington has turned heads since arriving on May 31st. Washington played at Missouri and has been with 7 NFL clubs since graduating. He also spent some time last year on Edmonton’s practice roster. “He picked up the play book very well, knew his stuff very well, he’s fast, very fast, and given his height, that’s an interesting combination. He has made some excellent catches the last couple of days and now we will get him in a game and see how he does” said O’Shea.
O’Shea says the pre-season game tell the final tale on all the newcomers. How they perform when the lights come on is always the ultimate test. And that first test for the Bombers comes Saturday night in Regina.
It’s CJOB’s first football broadcast of 2017 with the pre-game show at 6pm and the play by play at 8 featuring Bob Irving and Doug Brown.