Bomber jobs on the line

Bombers linebacker Barrin Simpson is 0-4 when playing against the Lions' Jarious Jackson. (Sun...

Bombers linebacker Barrin Simpson is 0-4 when playing against the Lions' Jarious Jackson. (Sun Media/Brian Donogh)

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:45 AM ET

Barrin Simpson lives way back in the past when it comes to his history with Jarious Jackson.

Simpson, the Bombers' middle linebacker, conveniently forgot to mention that he is 0-4 against Jackson, the B.C. Lions' starting quarterback, when they've gone head-to-head in the CFL.

It wasn't until the interview was well over when the Minister of Defence admitted that little nugget of information.

"We call it the curse of Barrin Simpson," defensive tackle Doug Brown quipped from two lockers down.

Simpson would much rather talk about the fall of 1994, when he and Jackson were both high school seniors in Mississippi. Simpson played at Starkville, while Jackson was up the road in Tupelo.

They played each other once that season, and the game was a one-sided affair.

"We won 63-7. On his turf. Right before he went to Notre Dame," Simpson said proudly. "He didn't make any plays that game. None.

"I hit him a lot. They ran a little option. He didn't throw as much, but everybody knew he had a cannon. We shut him out. I think they got an interception for a touchdown or something."

Nearly 15 years later, they meet yet again. Jackson, in place of the banged-up Buck Pierce, is the new No. 1 quarterback for the Lions, while Simpson is in his fourth season with the Blue and Gold.

The Bombers and Lions tangle today at B.C. Place (9:30 p.m., TSN), and it's safe to say Simpson had better be 1-4 against Jackson after tonight.

If not, the Bombers will enter their bye week with a 2-6 record and have no idea what their team will look like when it returns for the final 10 games of the season.

Winnipeg has lost two in a row, and, considering its offence is the worst in the CFL by a country mile, not many are giving the team a chance tonight. Throw in the fact that many Bombers will be leaving for their bye week straight from Vancouver, and another major letdown appears quite possible.

Centre Obby Khan said he and his teammates had better focus on tonight's contest and not the thought of a week without having to hear how bad they are at playing football.

"If guys don't realize that and start taking it for granted, they won't be back after the bye week. Plain and simple," Khan said.

"This is a huge game for us. It would almost turn the season around for us. We'd still only be 3-5, but it would be almost like a turnaround of the season.

"We need some sort of momentum, we need some sort of positive feeling going into the bye week, and this would really help us for sure."

One thing the Bombers have going for them, according to Simpson, is no tension in the locker-room.

"This is, to me, the best locker-room I've been around -- by far," he said. "Everybody's sticking together. Everybody's frustrated with losing, but you don't see any bickering."

The Lions (3-4) have won two in a row, including a comeback win over the Toronto Argonauts last week, and have won six of the last eight meetings against the Bombers at B.C. Place.

Jackson may be viewed as an inconsistent pivot, yet he is 13-5 as a CFL starter and engineered last week's big comeback at Rogers Centre.

"He makes them go this year," Simpson said. "You watch film and you see Jarious get out of the pocket, and you're like, 'Oh, crap,' because of that arm he's got.

"We even made that a drill this week, the scramble drill, where the quarterback breaks the pocket and throws it deep. He'll catch you sleeping on that, and he scores every time."


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