Playing it safe won't work against Esks

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

Safe football isn't like safe sex. That is, it's not always a good idea.

Last week against the Toronto Argonauts, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers practised safe football.

They ran the ball a ton, took few chances and rarely threw deep passes, which led to predictable results on the scoreboard: one offensive touchdown, 16 total points.

It's low risk, low reward.

So much for first-year head coach Doug Berry's plans to be an attacking team.

The Bomber boss had his reasons, though, for going all retro on us.

No. 1, the Argos defence tries to force teams to play it that way. It'll give you the run, and dare you to nickel and dime your way down the field.

Reason No. 2, the Bombers weren't too concerned about Toronto quarterback Spergon Wynn, filling in for an injured Damon Allen.

They figured Wynn would be hard-pressed to generate more than one offensive touchdown, and they were right, a16-9 victory their just reward.

Which brings us to tomorrow's Canada Day game against Ricky Ray and the Edmonton Eskimos.

Safe to say, safe football is out.

One touchdown, 16 points, won't cut it. Simply avoiding turnovers won't be enough.

If running back Charles Roberts gets the ball 32 times tomorrow, I'll eat my depth chart.

"We're going to have to produce," Berry was saying yesterday. "This is going to be a different offensive game plan than we played last week. We felt like last week we needed a ball control (approach), slow, stay on the field, try to work field position.

"We've got to try to score as many points as we can this week. Because we just don't know about Edmonton's explosiveness. We could tame them like Winnipeg even did one time last year, (losing) 14-12. But then again, they could go bananas."

In other words, the Bomber offence is going to have to peel off a few big plays of its own.

Which brings us to quarterback Kevin Glenn.

Through two games, the Bomber pivot is the lowest-rated starter in the CFL. He's still looking for his first touchdown pass, too.

Yes, he's 1-1, and the won-loss record is the ultimate measuring stick.

But tomorrow should tell us a little more about Glenn, specifically, whether he's able to step out of the pack and put up some points when his team needs them.

He didn't do it against Montreal Week 1, he didn't have to against the Argos last week -- but he'll likely have to against the defending Grey Cup champs.

"I'm not going to say this is all on Kevin Glenn," Berry said. "But Kevin will be asked to do a little bit more this week."

Glenn, for his part, doesn't sound antsy about getting his first touchdown strike, or having to generate, say, 30 points.

As usual, he's taking the, "What, me worry?" approach.

Asked what this game is about for him, he goes straight for the bottom line.

"Going out and putting my team in a position to win," Glenn said. "It's all about wins."

Yes it is. And to put the Bombers in a position to win tomorrow will likely mean something entirely different than it did last week.

If Glenn can't do it, we'll have a better idea of what the Bombers are in store for.

They'll have a shot at winning the tight, low-scoring games, but won't consistently be able to hang with the Alouettes, Esks and B.C. Lions of the world.

There's not much of a future in that.

Now, if Glenn begins clicking in this new offence and we see some signs from those new receivers, well, the possibilities are endless.

Particularly if that defence is for real.

So this time it's high risk, all the way.

With a significantly higher reward: a share of first place in the East.

And when's the last time we heard that idea?


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