Alouettes toughest test yet for Bombers

Linebacker Barrin Simpson said the Bombers can be 'very dangerous' if the offence moves the ball...

Linebacker Barrin Simpson said the Bombers can be 'very dangerous' if the offence moves the ball consistently. (BRIAN DONOGH/Sun Media)

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:04 PM ET

To become the best, you have to beat the best.

And make no mistake, the 5-1 Montreal Alouettes are the best club in the CFL right now. So it will be the ultimate litmus test for the Blue Bombers when Winnipeg plays host to the Als at Canad Inns Stadium today (7 p.m.).

"We understand the challenge we have before us," Bomber head coach Mike Kelly said yesterday.

"This certainly will be a measuring stick for our level of improvement that we're looking for."

Besides, the last thing the Bombers want to do is fall to 2-5.

'Urgency'

"We've got to go out there with a sense of urgency and show a sense of desperation," linebacker Barrin Simpson said. "We've got to get to 3-4 -- right now! We need to be 2-1 at home and we've got to get it going. We've got to get it going -- right now!

"The thing is, we want to finish first and if we beat the first-place team, that would put us a lot closer. That would put us at 3-4 and just four points behind (them) at 5-2."

The time for experimenting is over.

"If we win this game, it would get us rolling in the direction that we thought we'd be in this year with the talent we have," Simpson said. "The chemistry's got to come now ... The first four or five games is really like a feeling-out process and getting chemistry down so we've got to out there and get it done.

"If the offence plays the way it played the last half of last week's ball game, we can be a very dangerous team."

Winnipeg ran roughshod and out-scored the reigning Grey Cup champion Stampeders 20-8 in the second half of a 31-23 loss in Calgary last week.

But Montreal will present a much stiffer challenge.

"This week is a big test for us," said quarterback Michael Bishop, who completed 16 of 30 passes for 209 yards in Calgary. "We made some strides last week and did some great things. Now it's another opportunity for us to go out and play well against a good defence ... That's a good test for us and we're definitely up for the test."

But Bishop knows it won't happen if the Bomber offence stinks in either half.

"Each one of us wants to have a complete game," he said. "Last week, we played a great second half. If we come out and put both those two things together, the sky's the limit as far as us being successful."

Winnipeg slotback Terrence Edwards just wants to win.

"They (Alouettes) have the best record right now but it doesn't matter if we were playing against the last place team in the West," he said. "We need a win right now, it doesn't matter who we're playing against. It just happens to be Montreal this week."

The Als will not take this game lightly, despite Winnipeg's record.

Renewed hope?

"At 4-2 right now, Hamilton is right behind us and anything can happen when you play against Eastern opponents," said Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo.

Lose to the Als at home and the future starts to look bleaker, with games in B.C. and Saskatchewan ahead.

But a victory would give renewed hope to the Bomber faithful and the players themselves.

"It would be a big confidence-booster for us," said Winnipeg offensive lineman Ryan Donnelly. "It would not only be a confidence-booster for us in the dressing room but it would make people realize that we're for real. I think we really believe it."

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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