Blue Bombers' O was no-show

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:14 AM ET

There isn't much debate about the Bomber offence in 2009.

It was bad.

The better question is this: How bad was it?

Well, it depends on how you look at it.

The team's quarterback play, which head coach Mike Kelly criticized on more than one occasion, is the first place to start. The Bomber pivots threw 11 more interceptions than touchdowns and completed a paltry 47.8% of their passes.

To put that in perspective, it was the CFL's worst completion percentage since 1994, when the Shreveport Pirates purred along at a 44% clip.

The Bombers scored 21.4 points per game in 2009, which is better than last year's 20.9 points per game, but that includes defensive and special teams scores.

The Bombers averaged 301.7 yards per game this season, which was their worst mark since 266.3 in 1998.

They scored only 27 touchdowns after averaging 40 over the last four seasons.

While several experts called Kelly's game plan rather simple, it appeared his players had trouble learning its nuances. Receivers were still missing assignments in Week 19, and quarterback Michael Bishop wasn't hitting them when they were.

There were also times when offensive linemen wore wrist bands and the backup quarterbacks held up play numbers on the sidelines.

None of it ended up working very well, and the Bomber defensive players all but said after last week's season-ending loss to Hamilton that the offence was to blame.

"The last third of the season we were masking a lot of problems," defensive tackle Doug Brown said. "We were maybe getting away with things, and at the most inopportune of times it reared its ugly head in front of us.

"Problems we've been trying to address came up and bit us in the ass. You guys were right. You don't need us to verify what you guys already know. You don't need us to say it to you."

Kelly said schematic adjustments and personnel changes will be made this off-season, but he doesn't plan on putting together a traditional CFL attack. In other words, don't be surprised to see more plays like the "jet" package, where receivers take handoffs.

"I'm not going to be a copycat," Kelly said. "I want to do stuff that's different than everybody else, because I want them to spend extra time preparing for us. We're not going to be a cookie-cutter offence."

Slotback Terrence Edwards believes the pieces are in place to field a successful offence.

"We have the right guys in this locker-room to get it done," he said. "Coach Kelly and his staff is going to put a plan together this off-season and come back in June and be ready. I don't think we need to overhaul anything. Michael is the guy who can get it done. The offensive line is a group that can get it done. I know the receivers are talented, and we have one of the best backs in the league.

"We gotta gel more. I don't think we gelled as well as we should have. With another training camp we'll gel together and get our chemistry together, and we'll be fine."

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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