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This was about more than just X’s and O’s, though. It always is.
Relationships are critical in this game, and the extra week gave everyone time to establish one with their new teammate.
“Another chance for us to bond,” is how Neufeld put it.
The lineman recalls a team yoga session that included the entire O-line, running back Andrew Harris and Collaros.
The quarterback suggested they go out for dinner after.
“For basically two, three hours, we just hung out,” Neufeld said. “He was instantly just one of the guys. It felt like he’d been around for a long time.”
Back at the facility, down the hall from the offensive meetings, another unit was making good use of the extra days.
A unit that was about to up its game to a whole new level.
* * *
Players say nobody went home that bye week. Workouts were mandatory, some players got treatments, everybody on board.
There was an enormous amount of work to do, after all, on both sides of the ball.
Bo-Levi Mitchell had just passed for 350 yards and four touchdowns against Winnipeg’s defence, so Bighill and Co., as charged up as they were about the victory, weren’t exactly gloating.
“We were starting to transform some of the things we were doing, especially on the back end,” Bighill recalled. “We were working on giving different looks to offences, especially Bo.”
Job 1: take away the long ball, Mitchell’s bread and butter.
The strategy: give him different looks, and try to fool him with different movement out of the same old looks.
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