Daley preaches patience

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:19 PM ET

Hold your heads high, sure, but maybe not quite that high.

Winnipeg head coach Jim Daley told his troops that they should be proud of their improved play during a 21-15 loss to the Calgary Stampeders Thursday.

The Blue Bombers, however, did drop their third straight match to open this CFL season.

"When I say there's improvement, there's no indication there that it's OK to lose," said Daley, bristling at any such suggestion yesterday. "Telling them to keep their heads up is not because we're happy that we lost, or that we're improving, so it's OK. There's no implication of that.

'GREAT PRIDE'

"The reality is, when I tell our team that we have to take great pride in the improvement and to make it a great priority to build on that improvement, that's how you build a team. In no way does it imply that anything at this point is satisfactory or acceptable ... There's not a person in our locker room who doesn't understand that 0-3 is not good enough. There's also a need to build the team, not destroy it. There's enough people -- the media and the fans -- who will bring the negativity to it. As a coach, we have to support and build a team, not tear it down."

And despite calls to yank quarterback Tee Martin or replace pass catchers who can't catch, Daley is not about to punch the panic button.

"We're not going to build anything by not being patient," he said. "Then, we'd just have a circus. Patience doesn't mean acceptance. Patience means you have a deliberate path you are going to pursue despite all the outward pressures to do something different. We're going to rebuild this team and I don't care if anybody doesn't like that word -- that's reality.

"We're going to rebuild with our resources to the best of our ability as fast as we can. Patience does not mean that it's agreeable to be 0-3. Patience means that when you are building a team, you support the people who are working with ya. I don't know how else to explain it."

Although the record may not reflect it, the team has steadily upgraded since camp opened.

'PLAYED SO POORLY'

"The improvement from the Saskatchewan game, where we played so poorly (in the season-opener), to now is huge," Daley said. "Our guys understand that and they can sense it.

"Our team came out of the game the other night disappointed as to the outcome, not disappointed as to the effort and the improvement."

Daley must still firm up his roster and hope that a winning quarterback emerges from the foursome on hand before the Bombers are ready to threaten the upper echelon. But they may be ready to take on the lower echelon.

"It's disappointing to lose," said defensive end Tom Canada. "But the main thing we need to focus on is the improvements we made as a team. It's something to build on."

The Stampeders offence failed to score a single touchdown on the Winnipeg defence.

"If we keep up and put some points on the board, I don't think they'll be able to stop us," Canada said.

"We've just gotta get out of this hole," said linebacker Lamar McGriggs. "Hopefully, we can climb out of it and get on some kind of roll."


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