Bombers pray Bishop answer

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:57 PM ET

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have completed one pass longer than 20 yards through four games this season.

A man who will likely be on the practice field tomorrow at Canad Inns Stadium would be able to improve that stat in a jiffy.

Two sources close to the Bombers said yesterday the team is finalizing a deal with hard-throwing quarterback Michael Bishop, formerly of the Toronto Argonauts and Saskatchewan Roughriders, and there's a chance he could arrive in Winnipeg as early as today.

One of the sources indicated there's a chance Bishop could start Saturday in Toronto against his former team.

Bishop was coy when reached last night in Texas, but he hinted he was all but on his way to Winnipeg.

The Bombers, who also reportedly considered pursuing free-agent Casey Printers, have to do something after their offence produced one of its worst performances in decades Friday night in a 19-5 home loss to the Toronto Argonauts that dropped their record to 1-3.

Head coach Mike Kelly didn't confirm or deny a new pivot would be at practice tomorrow, but signs point toward that happening.

"I do like this football team. I really do. But there comes a point where if guys aren't making plays, you try somebody else to make plays," Kelly said of the entire offence in general. "That's just the nature of the game.

"We've got two phases of our football team that are playing outstanding and good enough for us to win, and one phase that is wretched. We gotta find a way to fix it. There's still plenty of time, and we have to find a way to fix it."

Kelly pointed out, however, Stefan LeFors could still get the start in Saturday's rematch with the Argos (2-2) at Rogers Centre. LeFors threw for just 30 yards in the first half Friday.

Bishop, 33, is a seven-year CFL veteran whom the Roughriders released last November after he threw three interceptions in their West Division semifinal loss to B.C.

He is known for his big arm, but accuracy has always been a problem for the former Kansas State star, who finished second in Heisman Trophy voting to Ricky Williams in 1998.

Bishop, who spent the spring playing for the Corpus Christi Hammerheads of the Indoor Football League, has thrown 51 touchdowns and 56 interceptions in his CFL career.

President and CEO Lyle Bauer also said something has to give when it comes to the woeful Bombers offence, which hasn't produced a touchdown in two consecutive games.

"All I'm going to tell you is that there's a recognition that changes need to be made in a variety of ways, and they will be made," Bauer said.

"I can't remember a more frustrating evening of offence since the day Lee Saltz was starting for us in 1989. I certainly didn't enjoy reliving that."

Friday's game marked just the fifth time since 1970 that the Bombers scored five points or fewer at home.

KIRK.PENTON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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