Bombers playing catch-up

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:56 AM ET

Yes, his numbers are god-awful and Stefan LeFors knows it.

But some of the blame for the Winnipeg quarterback's woes can rest on his revolving-door receiving corps.

It actually started in Game 1 when veteran pass catcher Derick Armstrong overreacted to head coach Mike Kelly's last-minute demotion, ultimately costing him his job here.

Then the Blue Bombers lost their best Canadian receiver, Arjei Franklin, to injury for half a season. And, for at least tomorrow's game against Toronto, import receiver Adarius Bowman -- who was already new to the team -- will be out with a hip flexor injury.

As a result, the Bombers have been forced to work Bowman, Brock Ralph, Aaron Hargreaves and now, Craphonso Thorpe, into the offence more than originally planned.

"Obviously, some consistency would be nice between myself and the receiving corps," LeFors readily admitted yesterday. "But that's part of the game."

When the season started, LeFors had been looking forward to working with three 1,000-yard receivers -- Terrence Edwards, Romby Bryant and Armstrong -- as well as one of the most promising Canuck pass catchers in the CFL in Franklin.

"We've got to help him a lot," said Edwards, who did not make a single catch in the last outing. "We've got some veteran guys with myself, Romby and Brock. We're the older guys and we've got to step up our games to help out this offence along the way."

Edwards is also inspired by the way LeFors rebounded from the hellacious hit he took from Hamilton linebacker Otis Floyd in the last game.

"He took one for the team and we've got to come back and take one for him," Edwards said. "We've got to help him help us."

LeFors, who was the third-stringer in Edmonton last season, has completed 34 of 77 passes (44.2%) for 429 yards (5.6-yard average) and two touchdowns, with one interception in three games.

"That's been part of the deal also, that we haven't had any real consistency with the receiving corps," Kelly said. "You have to know each other. I'm not standing here making excuses. I really believe in it. I know we can throw the ball effectively and be more effective than we've been. But that is the reality of it.

"People say I'm defending Stef but I would defend any quarterback when he's got changeover in the receiving corps, particularly with some of the things we're trying to do with making adjustments to routes on the run."

LeFors is also dead-last in the CFL with a quarterback efficiency rating of 65.34. The leftie may have been bothered by a bad right shoulder in the last half of his last game but was completely healthy before that.

"You want to come out here and erase any doubts out there that we can play and that we're way better than we showed last week," said LeFors, adding that his shoulder has improved each day.

And yes, LeFors wants to erase doubts about his own shortcomings when Winnipeg plays host to the Toronto Argonauts tomorrow.

"Yeah, we want to try to be consistent throughout the game and try to get some completions early, and getting the team moving would help," he said. "So, you just want to bounce back and get off to a good start. That would be important to me and to this team."

Despite the pitiful passing numbers, Kelly still believes in his starter.

"We just have to get a few things straightened out with the pass game and I recognize that," he said. "I hate the way we're throwing the ball right now ... But I think I know how to fix it and I have guys who want to fix it."


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