Bombers won't play blame game

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:42 AM ET

WINNIPEG - It was back to practice for the Blue Bombers, Tuesday, on the same field where they felt they were robbed of victory by the officials in their last game.

But before getting back to work, head coach Paul LaPolice tried to ensure his players put Friday's bitter loss to Montreal behind them.

"When we started the meeting I said the people who were responsible for it are right outside the door," LaPolice said. "And I said, 'Let's bring em in.' And I brought in a mirror, and I put it in front of them all.

"I said, 'We were responsible for what happened. And the only person who's going to change it is you.' "

It's a far cry from how a former boss of LaPolice's would have handled the situation.

Ex-Bomber coach Dave Ritchie likely would have pulled out the "everybody is against us" card in an effort to rally the troops.

"We talk about that a lot when we're going on a road game," LaPolice said. "But I don't really throw the refs in there, because the other team plays with the refs. It's our job to find a way to win the football game, and there were plenty of opportunities for us to do that."

One aspect of Friday's controversy lingers, and that is whether or not the CFL will fine some of the players who lashed out at the officials.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the players still hadn't heard. If a few are fined, it's likely they won't be on their own, as teammates have offered to help out.

"Shawn Gallant, on the first day, he was like, 'Man, stick out a hat and we'll put some change in there for you,' " D-lineman Phillip Hunt said.

Change? Only in the CFL.

"Loonies and toonies," Hunt said, laughing. "But anything will help right about now."

NO SHOW: Starting Bomber QB Steven Jyles missed Tuesday's practice, leaving backups Alex Brink and Joey Elliott to handle the offence.

"He's sick," Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice explained. "He had a virus so we just sat him down and said, 'Stay away from the other guys and get healthy.' Hopefully, he'll be back (Wednesday)."

Winnipeg's fading playoff hopes ride on Jyles handling the controls down the stretch. as veteran Buck Pierce is on the nine-game injury list with a dislocated elbow.

BACK IN BUSINESS : Receiver Chris Davis declared himself ready to get back into the lineup, after missing last week's game due to the birth of his daughter.

"My mind is fresh. My legs are fresh. My focus is a little more in tune now that I have a bigger picture at hand," Davis said. "I'll be able to plug in anywhere on the field."

Davis said missing the Montreal game was "bittersweet."

"I didn't want to leave my daughter back at home," he said. "By the same token I knew I had to get back to my job and try to make it back in time to help us win. But I didn't make it back in time. I didn't have enough time to come over and look in depth at the game plan with coach Lapo."

Davis said he was held up more than an hour clearing customs.

RECEIVERS READY?: Both import receiver Greg Carr (shin contusion) and import slotback Terence Jeffers-Harris (ankle) practised, but their status for this Saturday's game against the Lions in B.C. will be determined by how they practise Wednesday.

LaPolice said you could tell Jeffers-Harris had been out a while (eight weeks).

"Rusty," is how the coach described the rookie. "But he's got some tools. I think he'll be ready to play. I've been trying to impress on him the last three weeks is to get as many mental reps as possible. I think he's done a good job.

"He came into the office yesterday after treatment with the biggest smile on his face, 'I'm ready to go, coach. Can I have a game plan?' This is a day he had off. So it was great to see."

HICKS BACK: Linebacker Bernard Hicks is ready to return after rehabbing a knee injury. If he suits up Saturday, Clint Kent could drop back to his natural DB position.

CB Deon Beasley missed Tuesday's practice to attend a family function, but is expected back Wednesday.

LULAY UP: The Lions say backup QB Travis Lulay will replace Casey Printers as the starter when they host the Bombers on Saturday.

"He's a bit more mobile than Casey and Casey's been fumbling the ball too much," LaPolice said.

TOP PLAYERS: Montreal QB Anthony Calvillo, who led the Als to that 44-40 win over Winnipeg, was named the CFL's offensive player of the week. Edmonton safety Elliott Richardson was named both top defensive player and top Canadian, while B.C.'s Yonus Davis took special teams honours.


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