Blue veteran cites mental weakness

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:10 AM ET

MONTREAL - Doug Brown, watching yet another Bomber season circle the drain, figures he has come up with the reason for his team’s struggles.

The veteran defensive tackle offered up some rather frank comments in the wake of Sunday’s 22-19 loss, his team’s eighth road defeat in as many games this season.

“On the road it’s one of two things,” Brown said. “It’s either your team’s not good enough (to win on the road) with all the advantageous factors you have at home, or you don’t have enough guys that have the mental acumen in order to put yourself over that hurdle on the road. It’s probably a combination of both right now.”

Brown is saying home-field advantage has gone a long way in helping the team build a 4-3 record at Canad Inns Stadium this season and that it needs to be mentally stronger when it plays outside of Manitoba’s borders.

The 10-year veteran also could not believe there wasn’t more fire in the team’s collective belly trailing only 12-11 going into the third quarter.

“We had more on the line than they did, so I don’t know why we required extra motivation coming out of the locker-room,” the frustrated big man said.

“It was a one-point game, and we let it get away from us in the third. We battled back as we usually do but fell short, so it’s an old story, man. It’s a broken record right now.”

The third quarter has been especially awful for the Bombers of late, as they have been shut out in the frame in five of their last six games. Head coach Paul LaPolice even noted there wasn’t much life on the Bomber sideline in the third, when the team mustered 11 yards of offence and one first down.

“We have to find ways in the third quarter to come out and respond,” LaPolice said. “They’re going to make their plays, but we have to respond and step up and make plays.

“We need to be more intense on the sideline and ready to go. We kinda fell in a doldrum when we didn’t get a first down or two, but guys gotta step up and find ways to make plays.”

Quarterback Steven Jyles, who returned to the starter’s role after being benched last week, vowed to attack more in his second chance to prove himself, but it didn’t work out.

After a decent opening 15 minutes he underthrew Brock Ralph on a second-quarter interception and failed to get much else going until the final two minutes of the fourth.

“He used his legs well when things broke down,” LaPolice said. “They played a lot of press/man (coverage) on us, and we didn’t get as much separation as we needed. Sometimes he didn’t have some guys open.”

Jyles, who completed 16 of 28 passes for 272 yards, said he won’t be deterred by plays like Etienne Boulay’s interception on his throw to Ralph and vows to press on with his aggressive ways.

“I’m still learning to be a starting quarterback,” said Jyles, who on Sunday threw two interceptions in a game for the first time since July 24. “That’s a picture in the back of my mind: Don’t make that throw next time.

“But I truly feel that I’m at that level and that spot where I can be a competitive starting quarterback.”

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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