July 11, 2019

“I don’t think we’re playing our best football by any means.”

Winnipeg Blue Bombers #4 Adam Bighill

Adam Bighill gets an immense amount of joy in planting ball carriers into the turf, tracking down a quarterback, or swatting a pass out of the sky.

But the Winnipeg Blue Bombers middle linebacker also understands sometimes there are decisions made in the short term that have a bigger picture in mind.

In that regard, Bighill’s status for Friday’s home game against the Toronto Argonauts has yet to be officially cemented even though the club moved him from the injured list to the active roster on Thursday.

“Coach has been great with allowing me to have some say with how I feel,” said Bighill.  “At the end of the day, I understand and feel comfortable if he says I’m not playing. I do understand that.

“I prepare like I’m going to play and even though I haven’t practised I go through all rehab protocols and I’ve been levelling up through that and feel comfortable I could do everything I want to do, it’s just am I going to get a green light and a lot depends on how I feel tomorrow, too.”

Bighill missed last week’s win over Ottawa – Kyrie Wilson moved into the middle with Jesse Briggs sliding into the weak-side linebacker spot – and has been limited in work this week. But Head Coach Mike O’Shea said that with Bighill’s experience, he would feel comfortable letting the veteran step on the field Friday night without practising.

All that said, Bighill was asked Thursday if he considered giving his injury another week’s rest rather than potentially further aggravating it.

“That’s definitely a thought,” he said. “You would rather make sure if you miss one or two games it’s better than missing four games.

“It’s about being smart. It’s about making the right decision for the team and within that there’s some flexibility for how I feel and the communication with Coach Osh. It’s a mix of all those things together.”

The Bombers and Argos have completed their final preparations for Friday’s game at IG Field. Here are some of the other news and notes from Thursday…


The Bombers have activated receiver Kenny Lawler in place of the injured Chris Matthews. Lawler had two catches for 19 yards in the season-opening win over B.C., but was moved to the injured list with the return of Matthews.

“It’s exciting being back, just being under the lights and in game situations,” said Lawler. “This is going to be my first home game for me. I’ve been a part of the preseason game, but this will be the first regular season game for me. I know the energy is going to be great and so I just can’t wait to get out here.”

Lawler had earned a starting job coming out of camp with a superb training camp. The fact that he quickly established a rapport with quarterback Matt Nichols obviously factored into the decision to return him to the lineup over some of the other talented receivers still around, including Rasheed Bailey and Kenneth Walker.

“It’s huge to have some chemistry with the No. 1 quarterback,” said Lawler. “It’s important that he knows where I’m going to be and trusts where I’m going to be. That’s really the name of the game.

“But every practice matters because we’re so deep at wide receiver. Man, any one of us can make plays so you’ve got to stay consistent and let them know that we’re continuing to work and then show it in the game.”


It’s one of the unwritten commandments in football, and it’s a big reason why the Bombers have been respectful in everything they have said this week about the winless Argos, despite being 11.5-point favourites.

“You look at this last game, they had a real opportunity to win the game,” said Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea of Toronto’s 18-17 loss to B.C. last weekend. “Portions of each and every game they have times when they’re playing good, winning football. I think it’s a matter of time, I think their defence has improved, they’ve got a lot of weapons on offence… the one thing they haven’t done is put a ‘W’ up yet, but they’ve had opportunities.”


O’Shea was asked in his media session how close his team is to playing great or stacking up to where he wants them to be.

His answer was telling, although not surprising.

“Every time we review the film the guys have a good understanding that they can do better and they’re not ones to rest on what they did the week before,” said O’Shea.

“We’ve had some good success so far, but I don’t think we’re playing our best football by any means.”

“We hold ourselves to high standards and have high expectations for ourselves on a weekly basis,” added quarterback Matt Nichols. “So, for us it’s all about getting better and better each week and playing better than we did the week before. Ultimately that’s going to get you to where you want to be.

“It’s having that leadership within the coaching staff and the veteran leaders that regardless of whether we’re winning games or not we always expect to do better and when you have that mentality you’re going to put yourself in a good position.”