Strong start uncharted territory for many Blue

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

For much of the last three years, the day after a Winnipeg Blue Bombers game was spent examining the wreckage from another loss.

These days? Not so much.

It's rather difficult to find fault in their latest triumph, a 29-0 thrashing of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Friday night -- on the road, no less.

You could point out the three turnovers, a holding penalty that nullified a touchdown or a few dropped interceptions, but that would be nitpicking.

The Bombers (5-2) have won four of their last five games and trail the Montreal Alouettes (6-0) by two points in the East Division.

In addition, Winnipeg gets to host hapless Hamilton (1-6) in a rematch on Friday night at Canad Inns Stadium in the first of three straight home games.

In a way, this bright future is uncharted territory for many Bombers who have spent the past few seasons wallowing in doom and gloom.

GOAL HASN'T CHANGED

They're not, however, about to let this early-season success go to their heads.

Head coach Doug Berry said the pre-season goal hasn't changed, which is making the playoffs.

"Until we get there, that's still the goal," he said.

Veteran slotback Milt Stegall said there's no reason to get excited just yet.

"We still got a long way to go, so we don't need to feel good," he said. "It's seven games. Don't get complacent. Don't get happy."

It doesn't mean they're not confident. Berry scoffed when it was pointed out that three of his team's five victories have come against backup quarterbacks, including Hamilton's Kevin Eakin on Friday night.

"What did we do to those teams? Did we beat them?" Berry asked rhetorically. "I don't care. Technically, I thought we were playing all year with a backup quarterback (Kevin Glenn).

"That's what I was led to believe here when I took the job, so I don't buy into any of that business."

The Bombers could be pummelling the Sisters of the Poor for all Berry cares. He's just happy that his team's two biggest pre-season concerns -- the starting quarterback position and the defence -- are concerns no longer.

"I just can't believe how good our defence is right now," Berry said.

So basically what you're saying, coach, is that your team is officially among the CFL's elite?

"We're 3-1 on the road, and who else is?" Berry asked, this time not rhetorically.

Well, Mr. Berry, the Alouettes are 3-0 on the road.

"Right. That's what I'm saying," Berry countered. "We're as good as most teams in this league right now.

"We're competing, we have a great attitude, we're playing hard, and we're having fun."

And the rookie head coach, who could've declared that he's the main reason why the Bombers are soaring, instead heaped the praise on his players.

"They're the guys that play," he said. "... They're just a joy to watch. They are a joy for me to watch.

"I can't imagine how exciting they've gotta be for the fans."


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