June 14, 2019 6:00 am
Updated: June 15, 2019 4:22 pm

Ed Tait’s Five Things for Saturday’s Winnipeg Blue Bomber regular season opener

Matt Nichols (15) and Andrew Harris (33) of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the game against the BC Lions at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, BC., on Friday, July 21, 2017.

Johany Jutras / BlueBombers.com
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This time it’s for real! The Winnipeg Blue Bombers start playing for two points on Saturday Night, and you can hear all the action on 680 CJOB with Bob Irving and Doug Brown starting at 7 p.m. with the pregame show, and then the play-by-play broadcast at 9 p.m..

And Bob and Doug will also be joined by Director of Digital Content Ed Tait of BlueBombers.com who has put together his weekly array of some of the most important things to listen for during the game.

FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

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1. The Bombers open their 2019 CFL season on the road for the third time in the last five years. Winnipeg has won its last two road season openers, knocking off Saskatchewan 30-26 in Regina in 2015 and then christening the opening of Mosaic Stadium with a 43-40 win over the Riders on Canada Day in 2017.

2. Every CFL team undergoes some change in the off-season, but the Bombers are preaching continuity with their entire coaching staff and many of the same faces returning. The Lions, meanwhile, have undergone an extreme makeover. Hall of fame coach Wally Buono no longer roams the sidelines in Vancouver, with his successor being former Calgary Stampeders defensive coordinator DeVone Claybrooks. But the biggest change on the West Coast is at quarterback, where Mike Reilly returns after spending the last six years in Edmonton. Reilly wasn’t brought on board simply because he is a great quarterback, but because the Lions believe he can help increase the franchise’s profile in their market and beyond.

3. The Bombers added some key pieces in the offseason, chief among them dominant defensive end Willie Jefferson — a CFL all-star who was both Saskatchewan’s Most Outstanding Player AND Most Outstanding Defensive Player last season. Keep an eye on Jefferson — he will wear No. 5 — as he is the kind of disruptive force that can cause nightmares for quarterbacks.

4. There are also some new pieces on offence to monitor. Receiver Chris Matthews hasn’t practiced for a couple of weeks and will be iffy for this week, but the receiving corps now features newcomers Kenny Lawler, a former draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks, as well as speedster Lucky Whitehead, who should also be a threat in the kick-return game.

5. The Bombers take their show on the road this weekend, and then are off next week for the first of three byes this year — the others coming after the Banjo Bowl in September and in the final week of the regular season.

The Bombers home opener goes Thursday, June 27th against the Edmonton Eskimos.

FYI: Fans wishing to get on board for season tickets or single-game tickets should call 204-784-7448 or visit bluebombers.com/tickets.

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