Do the Bombers measure up?

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:29 AM ET

We knew last weekend's game in Montreal was going to be a good measuring stick for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

We didn't know the Alouettes were going to take it and wield it like a club.

Welcome to your latest challenge, coach Jim Daley -- getting a team that was knocked cold on Saturday back on its feet and in the ring a mere seven days later.

Oh, and convincing 40 players they actually have a chance against yet another of the CFL's heavyweights, the B.C. Lions, would be good, too.

"The challenge on Saturday is enormous," Daley was saying yesterday. "And the need for us to improve after Montreal is critical."

They couldn't get any worse -- or could they?

According to Daley, the Alouettes, when they're clicking, can make you look worse than you really are.

He's not about to suggest the Bombers played well in that 47-25 laugher, but he's convinced they didn't take a huge step back, after three straight wins.

"This is going to sound funny," Daley began. "I didn't really put it into those terms, as a step back. Obviously, anytime you don't have success, it's not perceived as a forward step. And I don't mean to imply that it is. But Montreal was a tremendous indication of how much work we've got left to do."

And this week's game against the Lions -- the only squad to beat Montreal this season -- that'll just tell us if there's any point at all in the Bombers making the playoffs.

Because if they can't compete with the best in the West, why bother?

"It's good that we're playing these two teams back-to-back," receiver Milt Stegall said.

It is? Isn't that kind of like going straight from the dentist's chair to the proctologist?

"It's going to show what kind of character we have," Stegall explained. "Especially after the way we lost that game. It's going to really show what we're made of."

Of course, this team's makeup changed substantially this week, with the acquisition of three new starters from Calgary.

But Joe Fleming, Wes Lysack and Scott Regimbald can all play the game of their lives, and it won't mean a lick if the same players who were overwhelmed by the Alouettes throw themselves to the Lions with the same enthusiasm.

Yes, Als quarterback Anthony Calvillo was hotter than Arizona asphalt in July, but the Bomber secondary wasn't exactly providing concrete coverage in that first half.

"I'm still confident," insisted defender Justin Coleman, who talked a better game than he played last week. "We're not good enough as a team for the offence to carry us or the defence to carry us. We've all got to play. If we don't do that, this week the same thing's going to happen.

"It's about taking pride in yourself, looking at yourself in the mirror. Your name on the back of your jersey means a lot. Stand up for it."

WEARING ZEROES

On the Winnipeg offence last week, everybody was wearing zeroes. For the fourth time this season, nobody got in the end zone.

It looked like a high school team trying to move the ball against the 1985 Chicago Bears.

Of course, all this malfunction was overshadowed by The Trade this past week.

That'll end at B.C. Place, where the light may be poor, but, like Montreal's Big O, not poor enough to expose a team's weaknesses.

"Our offence was real bad and their defence was real good," Stegall said, revisiting the blowout one last time. "It's like they were in our huddle and knew exactly what we were going to do."

Hey, at least the Lions aren't stealing signals.

So step right up to the growth chart, Blue Bombers, and see how you measure up.

And this time, stand up straight. You know what happens when you don't.


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