Blue land two master craftsmen
Smith and Weston might turn out to be more deadly than Smith and Wesson
IT t ook one rep at the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ offensive minicamp in late April for head coach Mike O’Shea to verify why the team went after two of the league’s top receivers in the off-season.
Weston Dressler and Ryan Smith practised like they were in mid-season, like there was a meaningful game on the horizon.
“They’re extremely O’Shea said, noting he caught Dressler in the film room late one night, reviewing plays on his own. “They’re going to lead that way. They’re going to make sure guys are doing the right thing. There are all these intangibles beside the fact they’re both extremely fast, very smart football players — highly competitive guys. I don’t know any other word to sum it up.”
For fans of the team, superlatives aside, what happens on the field will matter most from a team going into its 26th year of Grey Cup drought.
The good news, then, is production from either player — the wily vet Dressler, or the younger Smith — has never been an issue.
The duo’s numbers for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2015 in some cases combined to be half or more of what all Bombers receivers posted.
Dressler and Smith combined for 13 receiving touchdowns, six and seven, respectively. The Bombers had 19, split between eight players. The duo combined for more than 1,900 yards receiving; the Bombers had just more than 4,100. professional,”
‘I’m going to work hard, outwork my opponent and play fast and relentless, that’s what I’ve been taught my whole life’
Both are looking to build off near-1,000-yard seasons.
“I’m going to work hard, outwork my opponent and play fast and relentless, that’s what I’ve been taught my whole life,” Smith said. “It was just the way I was taught. When I was in college, in high school, you can only get better if you try harder.”
Dressler carries nine years of CFL experience and wisdom, both of which he hopes to impart on a team of young receiving hopefuls.
“Hopefully I can help a lot of the younger guys understand that to be successful, everyone in the unit has to be working together,” Dressler said.
Dressler said the team concept rings especially true in the scheme new offensive co-ordinator Paul LaPolice is installing.
“Obviously, there are times where you’re isolated as a receiver and you’re one-on-one with the quarterback working together to make a play, but under coach LaPo’s offence, there’s a lot of concepts that require us to work together to make sure everyone has the spacing properly,” he said.
Dressler said the Bombers’ front office did its job, one of the main reasons he decided to sign here.
“It’s headed in the right direction,” he said. “They want to win now and they are doing everything they can to do that. It’s on the players and the coaches now to play and win games.
“The pieces are here, we have to put them together.”
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @scottbilleck
Receiver Ryan Smith is only 5-7, but is blistering fast and wildly elusive.
Wily veteran Weston Dressler hauled in six touchdown passes last season.