VANCOUVER -- Their opponents believe the Blue Bombers have gotten so bad that they have stooped to ensuring wins over Winnipeg now.
Former Bomber slotback Geroy Simon has been slighting Winnipeg here all week by guaranteeing victory in tonight's CFL game (TSN, CJOB, 9 p.m.).
"If I didn't believe it, I wouldn't have said it," Simon told reporters yesterday. "I'm definitely guaranteeing it."
Whoa there, Geroy. The Leos have not only dropped four straight but one of those came when Winnipeg whipped them 44-23 just two weeks ago.
"Part of losing four games in a row was because they wouldn't believe they could win," suggested B.C. head coach/GM Wally Buono, who blamed the mental fatigue of a long season on that shaken confidence. "And there is a difference between being confident and being cocky."
But that won't make a difference when the Bombers post the message delivered by Simon and some of his teammates on the bulletin board in their locker-room.
"It's good to be confident," Bomber defensive back Brad Franklin responded. "But they have to say that. That team came out firing to start the season (11-0) but they say pressure busts the pipe so they have to do something because they were the best team in the league and they lost four straight. Now the town is talking.
"But we just beat you at home and, aside from (B.C. quarterback) Casey Printers playing more, not that much has changed. So, we're not going to come out here and lay down, no matter what our record (5-11) is. We're not going to move over and say, 'Here's a win so, you guys can get your streak back going.' It's not going to come that easy. If they're claiming they're going to beat us like that, we're not going to take it. We're not going to stand aside and give it to 'em."
Winnipeg quarterback Kevin Glenn figures the Leos are still stinging from losing to Montreal on the last play of last week's game.
"I think this is a real hungry team," he said. "Wally has probably challenged those guys so they're going to come out ready to go and we just have to try to match them.
"We're hungry, too. Even though we won't make the playoffs, that doesn't mean anything. This is our job and this is how a lot of guys feed their families so, we're going to play hard."
The reason for Simon's optimism was the return of Printers from injury and his invigorating attitude.
"Last year, we attacked," Printers said. "When you look at statistics from last year compared to this year, I feel like we're not an attacking bunch and we've fallen into a conservative type of thing (under Dave Dickenson) and that's not our demeanour. That's not us.
"We have to attack, that's us. We have big-play guys at every position, we just have to go out and make sure we attack them and not be an attackee. Then, we'll have a better chance to win."
On the other hand, beating B.C. two weeks ago gives the Bombers reason to believe in themselves.
"It gave our team confidence to know that we can win games against big-quality teams," said Winnipeg tailback Charles Roberts. "We will come out confident with the belief that we can win the game.
"We have a better team than what our record shows. We just want to continue to build these last two games and show the CFL that we're going to be here next year and that we're going to be a team to be reckoned with.