'The Trade' looks good on Bombers

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:44 AM ET

Defensive lineman Joe Fleming is beat up, Wes Lysack's secondary is ranked dead-last and fullback Scott Regimbald touches the ball about as often as the guy in the first row of the upper deck.

So does this mean the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have come out on the losing end of The Trade, which sent quarterback Khari Jones to Calgary last year?

Not a chance.

In fact, with the benefit of 12 months hindsight -- tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the blockbuster deal -- it's obvious Bomber GM Brendan Taman had his way with Matt Dunigan, his counterpart in Cowtown.

Taman should actually be charged with the way he abused Dunigan that day. Little wonder the Stamps new owners tied the can to their football boss after the season.

And it's only going to get more lopsided.

I mean, Jones has been cut by three teams since, while fullback Randy Bowles also rolled out of the foothills long ago.

Meanwhile, all three players Taman acquired are starting for the Bombers. Not starring, perhaps, but starting.

So, yeah, the Bombers won this one, hands down, despite the fact Calgary, at 7-6, has a much better record.

Why, then, can't Winnipeg win some more games? A 4-9 mark going into tomorrow's visit to Montreal isn't exactly what the three acquisitions envisioned.

"Definitely not four wins," Fleming was saying yesterday. "I knew there'd be some growing pains, but definitely (thought we'd be) better than where we're at."

Lysack and Regimbald concur.

Let's be honest, though -- none of the three are lifting their teammates to new heights. At least, not yet.

Start with Fleming, who's playing hurt, even though he doesn't like talking about it.

"You get injuries and you deal with them," Fleming said yesterday. "You play through whatever you get. It's never an excuse. I feel like I can still be effective and contribute. Can I do the things I'd like to do? No. That's obvious."

Ask the Bomber coaches about Fleming, and they'll tell you he's been one of their steadiest players.

Of course, that's like saying Hemingway's work is readable.

"(He's) not quite as visible as in past years," head coach Jim Daley said. "But probably close to every bit as effective for us, in terms of what the defensive front is asking him to do."

Then there's Lysack, who set his sights on being the CFL's all-star safety during training camp.

According to Daley, Lysack has been "pretty steady" -- there's that term, again.

"A lot of people don't understand the defence we run," Lysack said. "They think I should be a deep middle player every down. Within the realm of the defence they've asked me to play here... I feel like I've had a good season."

Regimbald, called a solid, "blue-collar player" by Daley, figures he's done his bit, too. And he won't grumble about his role, even though he's used as a blocker more than anything.

"I haven't been given the opportunity to run or catch the ball that much," he said. "But that's the role they've wanted me to play, and that's fine. Sometimes the fullback gets lost in the shuffle. You can't be selfish. For me to be upset or angry makes no sense."

He is, however, PO'd about losing. As is everyone.

So did the Bombers overestimate the impact the three ex-Stamps would have?

Daley doesn't think so.

"It's hard to sense that when you're 4-9... but they have played very well," he said. "And as our team is more successful, they will be more noticeable."

We'll agree with that.

The part about the Bombers being successful, well, we're still waiting.

So I guess you can say they won this particular battle, but are still losing the war.

And in the end, that's all that matters, isn't it?


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