Streveler returned to Winnipeg this year after four seasons as a clipboard holder in the NFL.

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Bob Dyce can be quick with a quip.

After it was mentioned that Micah Parsons was scheduled to be at TD Place helping out at Jesse Luketa’s camp for kids following the CFL team’s walk-thru on Thursday, the Redblacks head coach was jokingly asked if he could find a job for the Dallas Cowboys superstar linebacker should he fall in love with Ottawa and decide he wants to stay.

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“Maybe on special teams,” Dyce replied without missing a beat.

As it turns out, the one roster change the Redblacks are making for Friday’s game in Winnipeg against the 0-4 Blue Bombers is on special teams, with former Ottawa Gee-Gee James Peter replacing Tyron Vrede.

In fact, the Blue Bombers will see very much a familiar lineup to the one that defeated them 23-19 in the nation’s capital on June 13.

Since then, the Redblacks have made one switch at corner, with Sherrod Baltimore replacing the injured Money Hunter, another by dressing Tyrie Adams as third string quarterback instead of Jake Dunniway, and one more with Zack Pelehos starting at right tackle instead of Dontae Bull.

That’s it.

“When you have continuity in your whole roster like that, things naturally gel better,” said Dyce. “Obviously when you have your whole roster and you don’t have to make numerous changes, it’s always a plus.”

The bigger news Thursday was the Blue Bombers confirming Chris Streveler will be their starting quarterback against the Redblacks, but that’s not exactly stop-the-presses stuff since Zach Collaros hasn’t practiced since suffering a thorax injury against Calgary last Saturday.

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“Zach and Chris are different players. They attack differently,” said Dyce. “And so you have to adapt in some regards, defensively.”

Streveler, who returned to Winnipeg this year after four seasons as a clipboard holder in the NFL, will be playing in his 40th CFL game.

To date he has thrown 20 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions, but also has almost half as many rushing yards as passing.

He can be counted on to tuck the ball in and take off considerably more often than the 35-year old Collaros would.

Before his rough start this season with zero TD tosses and four picks, Collaros had been recognized as the best QB in the league for awhile, which is why Winnipeg didn’t find it necessary to re-sign Dru Brown.

In preparation for the game earlier this week, Redblacks defensive tackle Cleyon Laing said he expects to see a “very hungry” Blue Bombers team no matter who is under centre.

“They’re well coached, they have good players, very talented,” said Laing. “They’re in a s—ty situation right now and they’re scratching, crawling, trying to do everything to get out. So we have to respect that. Wounded animals are always most dangerous.

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“They’re gonna be ready to fight, they’re gonna be ready to bite. We just got to be able to deliver that first punch and keep swinging.”

Among the positives for the 2-1 Redblacks this season has been their ability to prevail in tight games.

Last season they lost six times by five points or less. In 2024, their victories have been by four and two points.

“It’s definitely a good taste in our mouth, that we’re getting to experience those close wins,” said Laing. “Hopefully we can develop that hunger for that dominant turnout, that dominant game where we can really find our true identity, but being able to close out close games definitely develops character.”

Perhaps the biggest reason they were able to defeat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last Sunday was the play of the offensive line. It allowed zero sacks on 39 Brown drop backs, and is currently tied for the league lead for fewest sacks, with five.

Pelehos was unnoticed in the victory over Hamilton, and that’s a tag he would wear all day long.

“As an offensive lineman, it’s one of those things where when you’re doing everything right, you never get talked about and when you’re doing everything wrong, well that’s when you’re the star of the show,” said Pelehos, the Redblacks’ first-round pick in 2022. “So yeah, being told that I had an unnoticeable game, that felt very good. But it’s just the beginning. I need to keep stacking and going forward from there.”

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Playing a role in Pelehos’ development is the guy who lines to his immediate left, veteran guard Dariusz Bladek.

Like Pelehos, he points out a “no sack game” is a combined effort that took Brown getting the ball away quickly, receivers coming back to help out and the “phenomenal job in protection” being done by running back Rock Armstead.

At the same time, the continuity of having the same starting five is extremely beneficial.

“Being a great guard is about being a master facilitator,” explained Bladek. “I’ve got to be able to be as strong as my tackle’s weaknesses. I’ve got be able to help him and help my centre and do my best job to assist where I’m need to assist outside of my own job.

“I think that we’re in a really good place. With Zach, we’ve had a good two consecutive weeks of me and him working side by side, and just with those two weeks the chemistry and the understanding of the space in between each other has gotten really, really better. I think that it’s going to continue, we’re going to continue to grow in space and communication.

“Eventually it’s going to cut like butter.”

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And then there’s Brown, who will be playing in Winnipeg as an opponent for the first time after three seasons in royal blue, gold and white.

While he has yet to have a 300-yard passing game, and has a modest three TD passes to one pick, Dyce sees his quarterback making steps of improvement every week.

“Whether it’s the command of the offence, or the sense of urgency, or the conversation in the room in a meeting, and maybe even having more voice in there,” said Dyce. “It’s just been a continual process and growing every week.”

Brown, meanwhile, will maintain the same routine as he does for every road game. That means going to dinner Thursday with left guard (and former Blue Bomber) Drew Desjarlais and the rest of the O-linemen.

Why dine with the line, rather than the receivers?

“I guess I’m more like an offensive lineman than I am a receiver, like personality-wise, in a weird way … like you’d look at me and probably say that’s weird,” said Brown. “That’s not to say that I don’t get along with the receivers. We have a good time. It’s just there’s a previous relationship with one of those guys (Desjarlais) in the offensive line room and so inherently I’ve spent more time around those guys outside of the building.”

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Brown isn’t being driven to beat his former team as much as he just wants another victory.

“A win in general is huge,” he said. “We’re kind of building something here that I believe is going to be special, we all just have that belief in each other. I don’t think anyone goes into a game in our locker room and is apprehensive about us winning … there’s a confidence in that locker room that when push comes to shove, we’ll be able to pull it out regardless of how it looks. We’ll play complimentary football, and we’ll pick each other up in all three phases.

“But, you know, any win is big, because that’s what we’re here to do.”

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