Defence was ugly

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:42 AM ET

The unfortunate reality for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defence is that the game tape of Friday's 41-39 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats was probably as ugly as the real thing.

Actually, after watching Ticats quarterback Danny McManus rip them apart in their minds during the plane ride home from Toronto, it was likely worse.

The beleaguered defence gathered in the film room yesterday afternoon to determine what exactly went wrong for the Bombers (3-7) in their untimely loss to the previously winless Tiger-Cats (1-8) at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

Was it because all-star defensive tackle Doug Brown was out with a foot injury? Maybe.

Was it because defensive co-ordinator Rod Rust had to leave the team for personal reasons last weekend? Perhaps.

Neither Brown nor Rust cover receivers, however, and that was Winnipeg's biggest problem Friday night.

McManus, who had been downright awful before missing three starts with a thumb injury, completed 20 of 29 passes for 440 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

GOOD AT MAKING LONG PASSES

McManus was so good at making long passes Friday night that he could have picked up women in Europe. He had seven completions of at least 20 yards, including three that went for 50 or more.

"D-Mac is a great quarterback," Bombers cornerback Omar Evans said. "I don't know why people (criticize him) because he has a couple hard games.

"... We all know he's going to be in the hall of fame afterwards, but still, whether it's D-Mac, Charlie Ward or Steve McNair, we still gotta come out and play with more fight."

Two of McManus' touchdown tosses went for 75 yards to Craig Yeast and 72 yards to D.J. Flick, and they both occurred in the first quarter, which really irked Bombers head coach Jim Daley.

"It was very disappointing, because our secondary has been much more successful against the long ball than that," Daley said.

"... That first quarter, whether we were in shock for some reason or what, I don't know," Daley said. "They just came out ... and hit us for a touchdown on the first play of the game.

"It took us a long while to get back on track."

The good news for the Bombers secondary is that it might get a chance to redeem itself a week from today when Winnipeg travels to Regina to take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders (3-6) in a crucial Labour Day Classic clash.

"There's only so many options available in personnel," Daley said. "I would hope we can fight through this with the people we have.

"We need to play better on defence ... and hopefully that involves the people that are here."

Bombers GM Brendan Taman said yesterday that he isn't bringing in any defensive backs in the near future.

"When we finish with our defence today, and when we come back to work to get ready for Saskatchewan, you'll see a very determined, aggressive and anxious defence (ready) to make amends for this," Daley said.

The return of Brown, who said yesterday his foot is getting better, appears to be much more crucial for the Bombers now than it did three days ago.

"Normally teams aren't that successful in getting pressure on Danny, but we were very deficient in that regard," Daley said.

"It was very apparent that without Doug Brown, the protections all doubled to Joe Fleming, and that was very effective in neutralizing the inside pass rush.

"It's hard to get a rush on Danny anyways because he's such a quick releaser, but last night we were way off the mark we need to be. Our struggle on defence wasn't just at the back end."


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