Emergency meeting for rusty Bomber DBs

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

The veteran cornerback was still accepting the brunt of the blame for the Winnipeg secondary's sorry performance last Friday.

William Fields was the first to get burned for a long bomb on the first play from scrimmage as Hamilton beat the Blue Bombers 41-39 for its first win of the CFL season.

"I played terrible," Fields admitted yesterday. "I don't know what it was. I was feeling kind of sluggish in that game. My legs didn't feel right but I make no excuses. I mean, I was playing a good receiver (D.J. Flick). I felt like I won the first battle (when Winnipeg defeated the Tiger-Cats earlier) and he won the second battle. It's going to happen like that to a defensive back but I don't plan on making it a habit."

Fields, however, had plenty of company in the DB doghouse as Hamilton quarterback Danny McManus scorched the secondary for 440 yards and three touchdowns when he completed 20 of 29 passes.

"We came out and didn't play well in the beginning," said safety Wes Lysack. "We played better as the game went on but we still didn't play good. We didn't play the way we can for the entire four quarters so, it was a big letdown, that's for sure."

To address those concerns, head coach Jim Daley called an emergency meeting of all available defensive backs and linebackers on a day off. Defensive co-ordinator Rod Rust just recently left the team due to a family medical emergency and Daley wanted to ensure that his pass defenders understood the system without Rust there to hold their hands.

"On Sunday night, 12 out of 16 DBs and linebackers were in here for 2 1/2 hours going over every coverage and how we teach it and how they understand it just to make sure we're on the same page," he said. "I thought that was really good because it helped me -- I hope it helped the players -- but it helped me get a better feel for our coverage concepts."

Apparently, it was worthwhile.

"When Coach Rust left, a lot of people were still a little confused," Fields said. "Not everybody was on a different page but there were some aspects of our defence, we were on different pages and we just got everything straightened out in that meeting."

Yet, Fields believes he failed in his duty as an on-field leader.

"I'm my worst critic right now," said Fields, who is tied on the CFL's list for most picks this season (four). "I'm supposed to play above average. I'm not an average defensive back so, I felt like I could have played better. Maybe people feed off me so I've got to go out there and do my job and maybe have a lot of the younger guys play better also.

"The defensive back has the shortest memory on the field. People are going to make some plays and you're out there on an island so, the percentages are against you. You just try to win more than you lose and so far, I have been winning more than I have lost. It's a minor setback. I'm back focused and back on my game. I feel good right now and I feel like I'm going to make some plays this week."

The whole defence will rebound when the Bombers play the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina this Sunday, Lysack assured.

"The Hamilton game, as a whole, was a setback and we need to find a way to overcome that," he said. "The reason I'm confident in the guys we have is because of the character we have. So, overcoming that shouldn't be an issue for the guys."


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