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Bombers' Burke threatens cuts if secondary doesn't improve

TSN.ca Staff

6/4/2013 6:22:07 PM

Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke made it clear on opening day of training camp that he wanted a lot more from his defensive backs and said if some of last year's starters don't get better they'll be replaced.

He reiterated that statement following Tuesday's practice at Investors Group Field.

"I told the first group of secondary people last night I wasn't happy with their performance and if they don't pick it up they're going to be gone," Burke said at a press conference. "I don't know how many times I gotta say it. I guess it's gonna take somebody getting their ass cut... to get the message across.

"I'm not happy with the first secondary, how they're performing. Everybody else is performing really well."

Burke, who is in his first full season as head coach, had already issued a warning that play needs to get better from cornerback Jovon Johnson - the league's outstanding defensive player in 2011 - all-star Jonathan Hefney, Alex Suber and Brandon Stewart.

"Not good enough," Burke said. "I told them that, too, at the end of practice."

Considered the heart of the celebrated "Swaggerville" defence of 2011, the core secondary group all struggled at times last season. Coach Burke is looking to change that this season.

"Our secondary did not play well last year. We gave up way too many big plays and were terrible at man-coverage. So, those guys have to either get better or they're going to be gone," Burke said last Thursday.