Monday, May 30, 2016
BLUE BOMBERS COVERAGE
Growing up on an Alberta feed lot with purebred angus and simmental cattle, Shologan learned not to be a pushover - just the kind of trait the Bombers are hoping for a unit that's minus three starters from last season.
"We used to break them and show cattle,'' Shologan said after the Bombers opened main training camp Sunday with more than 80 players at Investors Group Field.
The former Ottawa Redblacks tackle was one of two key free-agent signings for Winnipeg's defensive line after the CFL club cut ties with starters Zach Anderson, Greg Peach and Bryant Turner.
Import tackle Euclid Cummings also left the Toronto Argonauts to join the line, which only has defensive end Jamaal Westerman left as a starter.
The trio don't yet know who'll fill the other end spot, but it could be one of returnees Justin Cole, Nate Collins and Derrell Johnson or a newcomer.
What there is no doubt about is that the front four has to become more feared.
"I don't think anybody needs to be a mean player,'' said Shologan, who's heading into his ninth season after spending the first six with Saskatchewan.
"Nasty yeah, and a guy that's going to go hard and be consistent and whip some tail.''
That wasn't the case last season for the 5-13 team. Winnipeg was seventh in the league against the run, allowing an average of 112.8 yards per game.
When it came to quarterback sacks, Westerman was the standout.
The West Division nominee for most outstanding Canadian finished second in the league with 17 sacks. The team only had 46, tied for sixth fewest. Ottawa led the league with 62.
Westerman said he was surprised during the off-season to learn about Anderson, Peach and Turner. The former NFLer gave them a lot of credit for his development and personal accomplishments.
But hearing about the signings of Shologan and Cummings was good news.
Shologan had a career-high seven sacks last year, while Cummings notched eight in his second season - high numbers for interior linemen.
"They're very explosive guys,'' Westerman said.
Their experience could also help them click as a unit, he predicted, adding the defence as a whole needs to improve and that should happen with another season under defensive co-ordinator Richie Hall.