Encouraging start

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:46 AM ET

Two games into the season, and there's still no sign of a top-flight quarterback in the Blue Bombers camp.

There are, however, some very encouraging things happening on the other side of the ball.

In fact, a stingy, take-no-prisoners defence might just be the calling card of the '06 Bombers, and how's that for a transformation from last season?

This is the same team that gave up the most total yards in CFL history last year, remember? Easiest team to pass against, too.

Actually, this isn't the same team at all, as more than half the dirty dozen are either in new positions or are new faces altogether.

And first-year co-ordinator Greg Marshall's schemes are like night-and-day to the two-headed monster Jim Daley and Rod Rust, last year's head coach and defensive boss, came up with.

That said, what Bomber fans saw last night in a 16-9 victory over the Toronto Argonauts, coupled with the encouraging effort in Montreal last week, bears a striking resemblance to some of the team's great defences of the past.

IT'S A LITTLE EARLY

OK, so it's still a little early to be drawing comparisons to the run-stuffing gang of a few years ago, not to mention the all-time greats from the late eighties and early nineties.

Still, there's something about this year's squad that suggests the Bombers might just be in most games, regardless of how good the quarterback is.

And Kevin Glenn hasn't been very good.

First-year boss Doug Berry has spent a lot of time talking about attitude since taking over the Bombers, and he got plenty of it from his defence last night.

Take this sequence midway through the third quarter: linebacker Ike Charlton stuffed Argos running back Ricky Williams for a loss, after which Ron Warner and Ron Ockimey combined for a sack on Toronto pivot Spergon Wynn.

If that wasn't enough, on Toronto's next series the Bomber D stuffed a third-and-one attempt, and when's the last time we saw that?

Led by Warner and a rejuvenated Doug Brown on the inside of the D-line, Barrin Simpson at linebacker -- this team's best free agent find in years -- and a completely revamped secondary (thank goodness for that), the Bomber D brought the crowd to its feet like it hasn't in a long time.

The numbers bear it out, too: the Argos managed a paltry 38 yards offence in the first half, a ridiculous 72 yards, overall. That is not a misprint.

At the same time, the Bomber offence was tripping all over itself whenever it got near the Toronto goal line.

The glamour boys drew most of the attention going into the game.

Williams vs. Charles Roberts was a storyline too juicy to ignore, as the CFL's best running back tried to outrun one of the best in the NFL.

At quarterback, it was Glenn, the Winnipeg starter who still hasn't proven he's a winner, against Toronto's Wynn, the Damon Allen fill-in who wallowed on the bench here in '05.

Roberts won the rushing contest by a mile, getting the 32 he talked about during the week in the form of carries, not a jersey number.

WON'T COMPLAIN

We presume Roberts won't complain about his lack of touches or his jersey number this week.

Glenn, though, could only produce a single touchdown. And for the second straight week it came on Winnipeg's first drive of the game.

Beyond that, No. 5 did little to silence his critics.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: Glenn doesn't have to morph into a marquee passer for his team to win.

He didn't last night. The Bombers did.

Fittingly, it was the defence, with yet another third-down stop, this one with just over a minute to go, who put the kibosh on a possible Toronto comeback.

Now if this team can get its quarterback on track, or find a new one, we'll really have something here.


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