Nearly two weeks since their last game, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defence and special teams will look much different when they face the BC Lions on Friday following their bye week.
The Bombers released their active roster on Thursday and it included returner Janarion Grant, along with linebacker Kyrie Wilson and defensive tackle Steven Richardson.
The Bombers’ mediocre return game could certainly use the boost from Grant after he returned three punts for touchdowns as a rookie in 2019. Grant comes off the six-game injured list after hurting his ankle in the season opener.
The blue and gold’s stingy defence has given up the least amount of points in the CFL this season, but they haven’t defended the run very well in their first seven games.
Richardson could make a big difference in the trenches against the Leos, as the Bombers are currently dead last in the CFL against the run. They’ve given up an average of 5.7 yards per carry, so getting back a run-stopping specialist like the man they call “Stove” is exactly what the doctor ordered.
“It makes it easier for us to get through,” said defensive end Willie Jefferson. “To have Steve back in the lineup, starting on the front line — it’s going to be harder for teams to run the ball on us in the middle.”
Richardson has missed the past six games with a partially torn plantar fascia in his foot.
“Stove’s a different animal,” head coach Mike O’Shea said. “I know he’s very excited to be back.
“He packs a lot of muscle onto that frame, and he’s able to use it extremely well. He’s very powerful, very explosive.”
Wilson will be making his season debut after missing all of the first seven games of the season with a hip flexor injury. He made a huge impact in the team’s Grey Cup run in 2019, but hasn’t played a game in about 22 months.
The Bombers are making four lineup changes in all with defensive back Sergio Schiaffino Perez of Mexico set to make his CFL debut after toiling on the practice roster for a season and a half.
Coming out of the lineup this week is returner Charles Nelson, linebacker Kevin Brown, defensive tackle Ricky Walker, and linebacker Les Maruo.
The Bombers and Lions kickoff at 9:00 pm on Friday night.
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