While the media waited for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers locker-room to open Saturday night, head coach Doug Berry could be heard inside screaming, "We will be better!"
He better hope so, because Saturday night's 37-16 road loss to the Calgary Stampeders was just another piece of mounting evidence for those who believe this year's version of the Bombers just isn't that good.
Most of you are probably saying, 'Well, duh!', but there has always been an underlying belief that last year's Grey Cup finalists were going to turn it around.
"Most everybody has had faith the entire season," outside linebacker Cam Hall said yesterday.
The Bombers, however, have yet to give reason to believe. Saturday night's contest was a perfect opportunity to make a statement, but it didn't happen.
Not even close.
Bombers quarterback Kevin Glenn, who got yanked at half-time, said the Stamps defence did exactly what they thought it would do, yet the Blue and Gold managed only 211 yards of total offence and got blown out by 21 points.
What would the score have been if they didn't know what Calgary was going to do?
Winnipeg will be the fourth team since 1990 to finish second in its division with a losing record. It learned it will host the East semifinal on Nov. 8 moments before Saturday's game, but that's not a good enough reason to explain why the Blue and Gold laid a cow pie on the Cowtown turf.
The bottom line is this: The Bombers haven't beaten a solid team in nearly three months.
Four of their six wins have come against two of the worst versions of Toronto and Hamilton teams we've seen in a while.
Nothing from Saturday night -- on offence or defence -- showed that Winnipeg can run with the CFL's big dogs.
Rationalize all you want, but those are the cold, hard facts.
"This whole season, to a certain extent, has been a concern," Hall admitted. "At one point or another, every week, there's been a concern. Even when we win and we look good doing it, there's been concerns. It's one of those things.
"Obviously in the next couple weeks, for lack of a better term, there's nothing on the line, but we're going to find out come that playoff game whether all the anticipation and all the good faith is going to pay off."
That's the thing. Stinking out the joint for four months means squat if you win three games in a row in November.
It's just awfully difficult, right now anyway, to picture the Bombers doing that.
INJURY UPDATE: Running back Fred Reid does not have broken ribs, GM Brendan Taman reported yesterday, but is questionable for Sunday's game in Montreal.
Defensive back Anthony Malbrough (hamstring) is also questionable.