Bombers seek jump start

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

Grab hold of something, Bomber fans.

The keys to the offence have just been handed to one Michael Bishop.

History suggests it should be a wild ride.

Bombers head coach Mike Kelly made official yesterday what had been apparent all week: The hard-throwing Bishop, who arrived in Winnipeg only last Sunday afternoon, will start at quarterback tomorrow afternoon against the Toronto Argonauts, his former team.

'Excited'

"I'm definitely excited," Bishop said. "I'm excited to be back on the field. I'm excited to get out there and play the first game with my new teammates.

"I'm glad I get the opportunity, so I gotta go out and make the best of it."

It won't take much for Bishop to be better that the trio of quarterbacks Winnipeg used last week.

Stefan LeFors (the former No. 1), Bryan Randall and Richie Williams (since released) combined for 66 passing yards and generated a mere 123 yards of offence in a 19-5 home loss to the Argos (2-2).

The Bombers, who are last in the East Division at 1-3, simply want Bishop to get their struggling offence to show some signs of life.

"We've got the jumper cables in our hands. We might as well use them," Kelly said. "So let's go ahead and get this going and put Michael out there and see what we can get accomplished."

Bishop, who spent six and a half seasons in Toronto, feels comfortable despite having only four days of practice under his belt.

He reviewed game and practice tape after hours this week, and he and running backs coach Manny Matsakis had even more film sessions together after that.

"He's put in the extra time that's necessary for him to get prepared," Kelly said, adding tomorrow's game plan will have 30 fewer items than normal.

"We're not going to run anything that I haven't seen here all week, and if we do we'll just make the best of it," Bishop said. "I feel comfortable in the game plan. It's a good game plan, and we're going to go out and attack."

The knock on the 33-year-old Bishop throughout his seven-year CFL career has been that he too often makes bad decisions that result in interceptions (he has 51 touchdown tosses against 56 picks).

Despite that, Kelly doesn't want his new No. 1 pivot to feel constrained on the field.

"I have every confidence in the world that he's gonna try to function within the system, but I've also told him that I don't want a robot, that I want Michael Bishop," Kelly said. "I want him to go be an athlete when he needs to be an athlete."

While Bishop can move the chains with his legs, you can bet he's going to throw the ball deep.

Not every long bomb is going to connect, but odds are some of them will, and that has Kelly feeling positive after four weeks of offensive ineptitude.

"I'm just excited to just move the football," Kelly said. "I don't care if it's Ronald McDonald running the offence. I just want to move the ball down the field."


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