Stewart looking fit as a fiddle, likely to play in Winnipeg
Veteran adds some pop to Stamps defensive line attack
“Hey, I feel good,” assured rush end Anwar Stewart, following his second full-tempo practice since last November when he was still a Montreal Alouette. “I woke up this morning at 6:15, ready to go to practice. I think that’s a great sign. I wasn’t sore. Just very anxious about getting here and getting going.
“Some of the guys tell me I’ve found the Fountain of Youth, but I just tell ’em ‘Take care of yourself and watch what you’re putting in your body.’
“I’m excited. I have a good chance to come in and help Charleston (Hughes) and (Corey) Mace, (Juwan) Simpson and the rest of the guys. I want to fit in, but I also want to show them that I can still get after the quarterback, that I still have that fire and desire.
“At the end of the day, that’s why they brought me in here.”
Although coach John Hufnagel wasn’t in the mood to tip his hand (“We’ll discuss it once we get into coaches meetings, what direction we want to take”), all indications from first-team reps are that the 36-year-old Stewart will relaunch his stellar career on Saturday at Canad Inns Stadium against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
“They fire me in there, I’m ready. I’ve been running around the last two days. I feel great about everything. I want them to know if they throw me in there, they can count on me.”
Count the man who’ll book-end Stewart on the defensive line, Charleston Hughes, as one of those impressed by the veteran campaigner.
“He looks good at practice. Man, you can tell he’s still got it. Even in the meeting room, he brought a lot of experience. Brought his insight to the D-line. So he should make us better overall.”
ELLIOTT AN IMPROVED THREAT?
To describe Joey Elliott as “somewhat confused” on Sept. 14 would be, well, massively charitable.
That grisly night at McMahon Stadium, the Bombers backup QB went only 5-for-8 through the air as a woeful Winnipeg was put to the lash 44-3 by a rampant group of Stampeders.
With the perennially-dinged Buck Pierce still not medically cleared to play, Elliott gets the start again Saturday when the Stampeders.
But coming off a poised performance in an upset 27-22 win at Montreal last weekend that netted Elliott Player of the Week laurels, Hughes isn’t reading much into that deer-in-the-headlights look of a month back.
“You never know when his breakout game will be. So you can’t underestimate his ability. But I don’t really pay much attention to who’s playing at what position because it’s football and what it comes down to is you gotta beat the man in front of you.”
Fair enough, but watching Elliott operate against the Als, he seemed a different player altogether.
“I think what gave him more success was that he showed more poise in the pocket. Before, against us, he had ‘happy feet.’ He just wasn’t comfortable, within the scheme, it seemed to me. I think now he’s more comfortable with what’s going on.”
And when a young quarterback has the jitters, the defence can sense the fear, right?
“Like a bunch of sharks and blood in the water,” replied a grinning Hughes.
NOTABLE . . . Left offensive guard J’Micheal Deane was back on the field after a maintenance day and is good to go Saturday.
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