Blue still sitting pretty

Mike Quinns gets the start at quarterback for the Blue Bombers when they take on the Toronto...

Mike Quinns gets the start at quarterback for the Blue Bombers when they take on the Toronto Argonauts in Winnipeg tonight. (Winnipeg Sun/Chris Procaylo)

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:27 AM ET

All too often in this business, we get accused of focusing on the negative.

So today I'm putting on my rose-coloured sunglasses, pouring a glass half full of my favourite drink and plunking myself down in the backyard hammock to look for silver linings up in the clouds.

What I see is a Winnipeg Blue Bombers team that has a chance to do something special over the second half of the season.

Despite all that's gone wrong the last two games -- the injuries, the horrible quarterbacking of backups Mike Quinn, Brad Banks and Russ Michna, the indifferent play by the entire offence and a coaching staff that hasn't adjusted very well -- this team is still in a pretty good spot.

A far better spot than anyone could have predicted back in June.

Due, in part, to a Toronto team that lost quarterback Damon Allen early in the season, Winnipeg's 5-4 record is good for second place in the CFL East, and only the eternal optimists saw that coming.

Think about it: if the season were to end today, the Bombers would be getting ready to host the East semi-final -- just two victories from an appearance in their own Grey Cup game.

We don't need to tell you what would happen to this town if they make it that far. This franchise hasn't won a Grey Cup in 15 years. Safe to say Grey Cup week would be a complete zoo.

Only twice in the last 22 years has the host team made it to the big game: the B.C. Lions in '94, Edmonton in '02. The Lions are the last team to win it at home.

So you can see how rare and special this could be.

Thanks to their stunning, 5-2 start, the Bombers have a shot at it. It's not that long a shot, either.

I remember, back in training camp, asking head coach Doug Berry if he'd use the home Grey Cup game as motivation for his players.

Not until later, he said.

"If we can make the playoffs... there might be some hidden motivation, incentive, for the guys to try to do it," Berry said. "Maybe they'll start sniffing, and see if we can smell that Grey Cup out there."

You can start turning your noses to the air tonight, gentlemen. Because this game with the Argos will go a long way to deciding second place.

Win this one, and it'll be awfully tough for the Argos, who'd be 4-6, to catch the Bombers for second. Keep in mind, Winnipeg's already won the season series, so, in effect, they'd be three games up, with eight to play -- and quarterback Kevin Glenn and receiver Milt Stegall are coming back next week.

I'd like their chances in that case.

Lose tonight, those chances are no better than 50-50, with the Bombers clinging to the tiebreaker like a castaway to a piece of driftwood.

It's obvious the good ship Argo is looking at this as a game that'll determine who'll face smoother sailing, come playoff time.

"Winning this game is really our greatest opportunity to be able to host a playoff game," head coach Pinball Clemons said yesterday. "It is a big deal."

We're going to learn a lot about both teams tonight.

Pinball's crew, finally getting over a horrific injury bug, will reveal whether they should be considered serious contenders again.

Meanwhile, Berry's bunch will reveal its character.

It won't be easy without Glenn and Stegall. But character teams can sometimes find a way to win when they're short.

It doesn't have to be pretty. Nobody's looking for style points.

More than four points would be nice, though. That's how much the offence has generated over the last seven quarters.

But focusing on that would be negative.

And right now, we're positive.

Positive this isn't just another football game in just another season.


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