July 13, 2005
Time for Tee to step upChanges please rookie pivot
By JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun
Now that the pawns are in place up front, it is time for the rook to make his move.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers just completed their latest O-line shuffle on the weekend in an effort to allow the playmakers to start jumping across this CFL chess board.
In the past two weeks, the Bombers added two import tackles -- John Feugill and Dan Goodspeed -- traded popular veteran tackle Dave Mudge to Montreal for centre Aaron Fiacconi and moved centre Matt Sheridan back to guard.
"We have not played well enough on offence thus, the changes we've made in the last two weeks," Bomber head coach Jim Daley said yesterday. "The CFL is an offensive league. Realistically, you have to be productive and score points on offence to have a chance to be competitive."
So, with better protection up front, it's up to rookie quarterback Tee Martin and the rest of the big pieces to launch a more effective attack. After all, the Winnipeg offence has managed a meagre total of 421 yards and just two touchdowns in three outings thus far, all losses.
Martin is well aware of the importance of an early long TD drive in this Friday's game against the Eskimos in Edmonton.
"That would help our overall confidence," he said. "You only identify yourself by what you do and you gain confidence by success. You're not successful as an offence until you score points and no matter how far you've come, if you don't score points, you feel like you fail."
Although that success has been slow to come, Martin has refused to panic.
"You can't get frustrated because, really, as a quarterback, you're not playing against the guys on the field, you're playing against the defensive co-ordinator and his tendencies," said the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Tennessee product. "It's like a chess match out there so, I can't get emotional about whatever happens. I have to think about our strategy. Like last week (versus Calgary), we had our ups and downs and we still, with three minutes left in the game, had a chance to win the whole game. If I had gotten frustrated and thrown in the towel earlier, we wouldn't have had the opportunity to win the game in the end."
Martin also seemed pleased with the changes on the O-line.
"It's encouraging to see that, up front, we're all trying to get better and making the necessary moves to do it," said Martin, who has completed 24 of 52 passes (46.2%) for 237 yards and one touchdown, with one pick. "I don't think we're making trades and moving people around to be worse."
The moves should also help tailback Charles Roberts, who finally broke out with a 100-yard game versus the Stamps.
"Charlie needs to stay on track and we need to block for him," Daley said. "We're putting together an O-line now that I think will give us that opportunity. We need to protect the passer and allow our receivers get the ball.
"Our offence needs to get drives and put scores on the board. We need to keep ourselves on the field but we need to do it with production at the end of the drive and we need to give an opportunity for our defence to be off the field."