Bold prediction was bang on

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

It turns out Barrin Simpson isn't crazy after all.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers middle linebacker made a wacky statement back in the spring when he said the Blue and Gold defence would be among the top three in the CFL this season.

The reason Simpson's statement was "out there" was because the Bomber defence in 2005 was the worst in CFL history, surrendering a record 458 yards per game.

Lo and behold, Simpson was right. The Bombers defence is currently No. 2 in the yards allowed department, trailing only the B.C. Lions by 19 yards with two games to go.

"I know it raised some eyebrows when I said it, but that's just how I felt about our talent," Simpson said yesterday.

The Bomber defence has had its ups and downs, but it still has a shot at finishing No. 1 in the category in which it set a record for futility just 12 months ago.

"It would mean a great deal for us to finish as the top defence in the league," Simpson said. "We've probably played more plays than anybody in the top three right now, so we've been holding our own for a good while.

"We've got two games left against two of the top offences in the league (Calgary and B.C.), so what better way to do it?"

The free-agent signing of Simpson, of course, is one of the main reasons the Bombers have clamped down. The hiring of defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall didn't hurt, either.

Then you have players like defensive end Gavin Walls, who survived last year's nightmare and has helped right the ship this season.

Walls, who yesterday was named the CFL's lineman of the week for his three-sack performance against Hamilton on Sunday, would love to go from worst to first.

"That right there would be one of those deals that only happens once in a lifetime," said Walls, who leads the Bombers with 10 sacks. "It's just good to be a part of that."

Defensive back Anthony Malbrough, another key piece of the defensive puzzle this year, isn't as concerned with the top defence label as he is with an even bigger prize.

"It means a lot if you win the Grey Cup," he said. "Honestly, if we had that (No. 1 label) and for some reason we lose in the playoffs, it doesn't really mean that much."

Simpson is a big believer in the notion that defence wins championships. He knows the onus is on his group to lead the Bombers back to Canad Inns Stadium on Nov. 19.

"We gotta really do our job if we're going to have a shot at winning the championship," he said. "I definitely think we got the talent to do it."

Listen to the man. He knows what he's talking about.


Videos

Photos