Nowhere to go but up

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:22 AM ET

The bookies must have woken up on the right side of the bed yesterday.

They've listed the Montreal Alouettes as only 14 1/2-point favourites against the Bombers on Sunday at Molson Stadium.

Considering the Saskatchewan Roughriders lambasted the beleaguered Bombers by 45 points on their own turf three days ago, one might suggest the odds makers are being kind.

Bookies, however, aren't looking to make friends; they're out to make money. So they obviously feel the Blue and Gold will at least put up a little bit of a fight at Molson Stadium this weekend against the CFL's top dogs.

At least one CFL insider believes the Bombers aren't as bad as everyone thinks they are right now.

"Look what happened out in B.C.," the insider said. "A lot of us thought the Bombers were dead, no chance to win, but they played their butts off in Vancouver and won.

"They could surprise everyone again. Talent-wise, they're a lot better than they looked against the Riders."

The Alouettes lead the East Division and the entire CFL with an 8-2 mark. The Bombers are 3-7 but find themselves only two points out of a playoff spot.

Winnipeg is coming off its ninth-worst loss in franchise history, so when the players say they've reached rock bottom, it might actually be true.

At least, they better hope that's the case.

"It can go nowhere but up. We're at the bottom," said slotback Terrence Edwards, the lone bright spot in the Bomber receiving corps this season. "We gotta do some soul-searching. Everybody. We gotta look deep and see what we can do.

"I know we got players out there playing hard and trying to do the right thing, but something just ain't working. We're 10 weeks in, and something's just not working right now."

The Bombers return to the practice field today, and there's a chance new quarterback Casey Bramlet will be getting reps with the first-team offence.

Head coach Mike Kelly said last week that Bramlet was learning the system quickly, mainly because he's familiar with de facto offensive co-ordinator Manny Matsakis' terminology from their season together at the University of Wyoming 10 years ago.

While throwing Bramlet into the fire after six days of practice might seem a bit drastic, it's hard to imagine he'd be any worse than Michael Bishop and Bryan Randall were on Sunday.

"I like to get out and throw the ball, so (that's) another good reason why I think the CFL could be a good fit for me," Bramlet said last week. "I'm excited to come out and show them what I can do."

If Bramlet does get the nod to start from the coaching staff, he will at least have a fired up team behind him thanks to Sunday's embarrassing Banjo Bowl loss.

"If anybody's not upset about this loss on this team, they need to get the hell out of here, because this is not something that you can feel good about," right tackle Glenn January said.

"It's tough to bounce back from it, but we have no choice but to bounce back," linebacker Ike Charlton added. "We can't just go into the tank. We go into the tank, we end up with just three wins on the season and we don't want that.

"We've still got a fighting chance to claw our way into the playoffs, and in the playoffs it's a one-game season."

-- With files from Jim Bender

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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