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September 7, 2017

48-Hour Primer | Banjo Bowl

Kevin Glenn (5) of the Saskatchewan Roughriders during the game at New Mosaic Stadium in Regina, SK, Saturday, July 1st, 2017. (Photo: Johany Jutras)

They have a superb receiving corps and a defence that is an emerging force in the Canadian Football League.

And yet, take a quick poll of some of the men in Winnipeg Blue Bombers colours this week and they’ll insist the key to this week’s Banjo Bowl is trying to limit the damage done by a 38-year-old quarterback who has been kicked to the curb more than once in his career.

Yes, Kevin Glenn – twice a Blue Bomber and ranked third on the club’s all-time passing yardage list – has proven beyond a doubt this season that he does indeed still have game.

“He’s always been the guy that everyone’s trying to replace, but everywhere he’s been he’s always performed,” said Bombers defensive coordinator Richie Hall, who was with the Riders when Glenn first broke into the league in 2001.

“There’s a reason why he’s still playing: He’s a good football player and he’s produced.”

Glenn has certainly produced against his old squad this season. The Riders and Bombers have split their series so far – with Winnipeg winning 43-40 on Canada Day and Saskatchewan answering with a 38-24 victory last weekend – and in both games, Glenn has been prolific.

He threw for 377 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions in July and torched the Bombers for 386 yards and three scores last Sunday.

“He’s savvy. I mean, he’s been in this league for years,” said defensive back T.J. Heath. “There aren’t new things that he hasn’t seen. He is a smart guy and really, right now the mind runs everything. He doesn’t have to be the fastest guy. All he has to do is use his mind and then throw the ball and that’s what he’s been doing.”

Glenn was especially effective in the first half last Sunday before the Bombers managed to tighten up defensively and limit the Riders to just four second half points.

But making a veteran pivot who has seen it all, who sets up in the shotgun and gets rid of the ball so quickly, will again be one of the critical Bomber keys in the rematch.

“You have to continue to pressure him, continue to hit him,” said defensive end Jamaal Westerman. “When you have an opportunity, you have to get in his face, hit him, knock the ball down… he’s seen everything, so nothing really surprises him. The one thing I think, no matter how many years you’ve played or how good you are, no quarterback wants to be harassed.

“No quarterback wants to be pressured or hit or sacked. Up front those are some of the things we can do, including some of the wrinkles Richie has drawn up in coverage and the different things, the disguises and the different things we might not have run before that we’re putting in for this game.

“It’s not hitting him with a steady dose of anything, but a lot of different things… mix it up and know when it’s time to mix it up.”


BOMBER REPORT – September 7, 2017

The Bombers completed their final full practice on Thursday in advance of Saturday’s Banjo Bowl showdown with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Here are three things you should know before Friday’s walk-through practice…

COMINGS/GOINGS

The Bombers announced before practice they were bringing back defensive back Darnell Walker Jr., who was with the club in training camp, while moving Roc Carmichael to the suspended list.

“He’s on his way home to take care of some family business,” said Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea of Carmichael.

Asked if he expected Carmichael to be back with the team, O’Shea added:

“We’ll see. We’ll see how long it takes and what happens there.”

Brian Walker, meanwhile, returned to practice on Thursday after missing two games due to injury and was back in his halfback spot with the No. 1 defence.

“It’s been tough watching games from home, watching film from a different perspective” said Walker. “But you learn a lot. You get to see different offences, the receivers… it’s a different perspective for me and I feel like it helped me out in a film-room standpoint in terms of being able to break down film and really be able to see what our defence is doing as well against those teams.”

THE KNOX WATCH

Bombers linebacker Kyle Knox took limited reps at practice on Thursday, with his spot in the defence being taken primarily by Jovan Santos-Knox.

Knox was injured in Sunday’s loss to the Riders and was replaced by Jesse Briggs. Santos-Knox has been a dynamo on special teams, leading the Bombers with 14 kick-cover tackles, third overall in the CFL.

The 23-year-old product of UMass passed through the NFL Draft in 2016 before a tryout with the Philadelphia Eagles. He played weak-side linebacker with the Minutemen, so would be comfortable lining up there if Knox can’t go against the Riders.

“I would love the opportunity,” said Santos-Knox. “All I can do is prepare myself mentally, physically, get the game plan down and if my number’s called, do the best I possibly can and make my teammates proud.

“I can bring some help in the secondary, I’m good in coverage and I’m just a guy that’s going to fly around all the time and run to the ball and be where he needs to be.

“Special teams has got me in a groove, got me going and definitely got my swag going. I feel comfortable out there and it’s not going to be a big adjustment playing defence.”

“He’s done really well for us on special teams,” added Mike O’Shea on Santos-Knox. “He’s an active type of player. He’s young, he’s very smart and he has a quality about him where he recognizes situations very quickly and he holds himself accountable to his teammates.”

O’Shea said he would be checking in with Knox and the training staff on Friday as to his availability, listing him as ‘possible’ for the Banjo Bowl.

Safety Taylor Loffler, who has not practiced again this week, will be good to go.

NOISE PREP

The Bombers practiced with the fake crowd noise occasionally pumped into Investors Group Field, both to prep their offence and defence for dealing with a sold-out crowd on Saturday.

The offence is hoping the noise will die down a tad when they’re at the controls, but the defence needs to be able to communicate when the Riders are on offence and the crowd is at full throat.

“There’s always crowd noise. There might be some Saskatchewan fans in the building… hopefully not,” said O’Shea with a grin. “Hopefully nobody’s selling their tickets to any green Rider fans.”