July 19, 2023

Game Preview | EDM vs WPG

Scene setter:

The Blue Bombers get a chance to change the narrative following last Saturday’s ‘Capital Collapse’ – a 31-28 OT loss to the Ottawa RedBlacks in which they surrendered a 16-point lead with less than three minutes remaining. The club is 4-2 at the one-third mark of the season, two points back of the 4-1 B.C. Lions, who also knocked off Winnipeg earlier this year to take the first of three meetings between the teams this season.

The Elks are struggling, having lost their first six this season and 10 straight dating back to last year. Edmonton’s last victory came in Regina last September 16th in a 26-24 decision.

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The Basics

Kickoff: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. CDT, IG Field, Winnipeg
U.S. and International live streaming:
Radio: 680 CJOB
Last meeting: Winnipeg 48 Edmonton 11 last October 8th at IG Field.
PlayNow odds: The Blue Bombers are favoured by 15.5 points. For more betting options, click here.
Your attention please…: The Blue Bombers will be wearing their white jerseys – normally reserved for road games – Thursday against the Elks. Fans are encouraged to do the same as part of the club’s now annual ‘Wear White’ game.

The uniform combos for the rest of the home schedule:

  • August 3: home blue jersey, gold pants
  • August 24: home blue jersey, gold pants
  • September 9: alternate blue jersey, blue pants
  • September 29: Orange jerseys for warmup, Indigenous logo on helmet, home blue jersey, and gold pants for the game
  • October 21: home blue jersey, gold pants, pink laces, and tape

The QBs

Winnipeg lines up Zach Collaros behind centre. He is 65-38 in his career and a ridiculous 37-7 in his games as a starter in Winnipeg, including playoffs and two Grey Cup victories. Collaros is 9-6 all-time in games against Edmonton.

Edmonton starts Taylor Cornelius. He is 4-21 as a starter in the CFL and 0-4 in starts vs. the Blue Bombers.

The Coaches

Winnipeg: Mike O’Shea has a career won-lost record of 86-60. O’Shea’s 86 wins as a Blue Bombers head coach has him tied with Cal Murphy on the club’s all-time list, behind only Bud Grant (102). O’Shea’s Blue Bombers teams are 11-8 all-time vs. Edmonton.

Edmonton: Chris Jones is in his second go-round as the Elks coach. He is now 57-57 as a head coach and 7-7 vs. Winnipeg.

Blue Bomber Roster Notes

  • The Blue Bombers have made four changes to the roster this week, adding WR Kenny Lawler, DB Jamal Parker, dime back Redha Kramdi and FB Damian Jackson. Off are WR Carlton Agudosi, DB Jake Kelly, LB Malik Clements, and DE Celestin Haba.
  • Both Clements and Haba have been moved to the six-game injured list, where they join LB Shayne Gauthier, WR/KR Janarion Grant, DE Thiadric Hansen, CB Desmond Lawrence and FB Mike Miller. LB Kyrie Wilson and CB Winston Rose are on the one-game injured.
  • Lawler and Kramdi move right into the starting lineup; Lawler bumping Greg McCrae and with Kramdi starting at Dime ahead of Alden Darby, Jr. Parker is listed at CB behind Abu Daramy-Swaray. Parker is also listed as the punt returner with McCrae the kick returner.
  • With Clements down, Les Maruo is listed as the starting weak-side linebacker. Also listed there are Canadians Jesse Briggs and Tanner Cadwallader along with American Brian Cole.

Blue Bomber Spotlight: Kenny Lawler, WR:

The Blue Bombers get their prized free agent addition into the lineup for the first time this year after he had his immigration issues settled and spent six games on the injured list.

Lawler led the club in receiving in 2019 and 2021 – leading the CFL in ’21 – before leaving for the Elks in free agency in 2022. He had 58 receptions for 894 yards and five TDs in just 12 games in Edmonton a year ago.

“I’m just ready to get back to work and it’s an unbelievable feeling,” Lawler said when he met with the media on Tuesday. “(The suspension/immigration issue) is something that happened that we had to deal with and I’m just lucky I had good people like Wade (Miller, Blue Bombers President & CEO) and Sofia Mirza (the immigration lawyer) to help me with the process. If it wasn’t for those two, I don’t know where I’d be.”

Full video from Lawler’s session with the media:

And ICYMI, the story from a conversation with Lawler.

Scouting the Elks

The Elks are struggling, with six straight losses to open the season and a home losing streak that has now covered a whopping 20 games. They roll into Winnipeg having played solid ball at times and having lost three of their games by 10 points or less.

The organization made a commitment to QB Taylor Cornelius in the offseason, but he has completed just 59.6 percent of his passes with three TDs against five interceptions this season. His 73.1 QB-efficiency rating ranks 9th in the CFL. The Elks rank last in points scored (15.2 per game) and second last in points allowed (26.2).

Worth noting, especially in the wake of Saturday’s loss in Ottawa in which the Blue Bombers struggled late to contain RedBlacks pivot Dustin Crum outside of the pocket: Cornelius is averaging 6.1 yards per rush this season and his 122 yards along the ground ranks 12th in the CFL.


  • Demerio Houston leads the CFL with seven takeaways – four interceptions and three fumble recoveries. He’s also added four pass knockdowns.
  • Sergio Castillo has connected on all 13 of his field goal tries this year. He is 5-for-5 from 40-yards plus and 2-for-2 on kicks 50 yards or longer. Including his finish last season in Edmonton, Castillo has hit 23 field goals in a row – tied for the 14th longest streak in league history.
  • In two games vs the Elks last year, Dalton Schoen had 11 receptions for a remarkable 308 yards and four touchdowns – 4 catches for 146 yards and one TD in a win in Edmonton in July and then 7-162-3 in a victory in Winnipeg in October.
  • Dustin Crum’s 29-yard TD run in OT last week was the longest rushing score in extra time since Montreal’s Tracy Ham ran for 57 yards in a win over Toronto in August of 1996.


  • The Blue Bombers are 28-3 in their last 31 home games and 30-3 including the last two West Final victories.
  • Blue Bombers DE Willie Jefferson has seven sacks this season and now has 64 in his career – ranking 40th all-time in CFL history. He has three multiple-sack games this season and has also swatted down five passes. Since the league started tracking sacks and knockdowns, Jefferson is the only player in history with at least 60 of each.


“Part of my job is to take the temperature of the guys as we enter into the next day. You wander around and you quickly realize they’re ready to move on; they’re ready to get going. They’ve practiced that for a pile of years. Win or lose, good or bad, get it looked after immediately. Find the truth, find the reasons why you win or lose, make some corrections, and move on.” – Mike O’Shea on how his club has responded since Saturday’s loss in Ottawa.