Doug Brown has obviously grown weary of this repetitive scene.
For the third straight season, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers head into a bye week with a miserable record — under their third different head coach in as many years — and little hope of challenging for a Grey Cup title even if they do manage to turn things around somewhat.
And the veteran defensive tackle, who had considered retirement last winter, does not have much time left.
“You look for a direction, but it’s everywhere,” a sombre Brown said in the dressing room Thursday after a 39-17 loss to the Alouettes in Montreal. “Very few areas escape culpability in a lopsided performance like that.
“We’ve got over a week to address the problems we have and try to rally the troops for the last half.”
Brown, 35, plans to head to parts unknown during the bye.
“I’m going to be like the Invisible Man,” he said. “Your record’s part of your identity and right now, ours isn’t very good. It’s hard to sort of go out like that.”
The Bombers are in the CFL East cellar with a 2-6 record and unless there is a major shakeup of some sort, there remains little optimism for the immediate future of a team that keeps stumbling over its feet.
Brown was asked if he was going to make his annual sojourn to the lake during the break.
“Yeah, with cement shoes on or something like that,” he managed to joke.
“We have a break but we won’t forget,” said veteran centre Obby Khan, who plans to visit his mother in Ottawa. “I mean, you learn from your mistakes, right? You learn from your past. We’ll come back after the bye week and correct our mistakes and get ready for the second half of the season … We can turn things around.”
The Bombers did rebound enough to make the playoffs in 2008, but that wasn’t enough to save either head coach Doug Berry or quarterback Kevin Glenn their jobs.
The Bombers did just enough after last year’s bye to be in a position to earn a playoff berth in the last game of the season, but failed. A lot of Bombers lost their jobs after that, including head coach Mike Kelly.
“Players can get away, refresh, and get ready to come back,” said rookie head coach Paul LaPolice, who will also get away for a few days.
“I’m going to work for a couple of days, but I can’t be selfish because I have a family at home,” he said. “I think my wife wants to go to Grand Forks and take my daughter because my wife is pregnant and it will probably be our last vacation before another baby’s on the way.”
Quarterback Steven Jyles will go home during the break.
“I’ll return to my Louisiana home and hang out with the family for a little while and just spend some time relaxing,” he said. “I’ll also work on game plans and watch some film.”
Safety Brady Browne is heading home to Vancouver.
“It sucks when you have a loss going into the bye week,” Browne said. “Now, you just think about the loss. It’s not fun at all.”
Slotback Terrence Edwards has already gone to Atlanta while linebacker Pierre-Luc Labbe stayed in Montreal.
Offensive lineman Kelly Butler and defensive lineman Dorian Smith — both imports — plan to stick around town to work out and watch a lot of film.
“I’m going back to Houston to chill with my family for a little while and relax and get back to get ready to play Saskatchewan,” said defensive end Phillip Hunt. “We’ll get recouped and relaxed, and come back here ready to go.”
The Bombers next face the Roughriders in the annual Labour Day Classic in Regina on Sept. 5.
— With files from Kirk Penton