The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are getting awful thin at the linebacker position, but they are turning to a familiar face to get them out of the bind.
Canadian Jesse Briggs has drawn the start at weakside linebacker for Friday’s game against the Toronto Argonauts after rookie Jontrell Rocquemore was unable to practice Wednesday with a hip injury. Rocquemore was already filling in for starter Kyrie Wilson, out with his own hip flexor issues.
The six-foot-one, 211-pound Briggs is in his seventh season with the Bombers after originally being selected by the team in the second round, 17th overall during the 2014 CFL Draft. The McGill University product has filled in as a starter before, but rarely so early in a season.
Briggs has been a fixture on special teams during his days with the Blue Bombers, but the veteran linebacker was limited to just four regular season games due to injuries in 2019 after missing only three games in the first five years of his career. He recovered in time to play all three playoff contests, including the Grey Cup.
Briggs finished the year with three tackles, two on defence and one on special teams, adding two special teams tackles and a defensive tackle in the post-season run. Briggs has suited up for 92 CFL games during his days with the Bombers, registering 21 tackles and 57 more on special teams.
Head coach Mike O’Shea has the utmost faith in his Canadian linebacker’s ability to fill in but the linebacking corps is already thin, with corner Mike Jones also moving to strongside linebacker for the injured Josh Johnson. The good news is they’ll have some help from pressure up front, with both Willie Jefferson and Jackson Jeffcoat staying in the lineup in Week 2 despite missing practices this week.