One last zinger for Bombers

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:21 PM ET

Amid the cheers and beers of a raucous Toronto Argonauts locker-room, a playoff-quality zinger aimed Winnipeg’s way.

It came via Argos offensive guard Taylor Robertson, a 317-pound mass of humanity from Brantford, Ont., whom we wouldn’t want to argue with even if we didn’t agree.

Robertson was talking about how the Argos offence doesn’t have the glitzy stats, specifically the CFL’s regular-season rushing champion, nodding his rather large melon in the direction of Winnipeg.

“The guys that have that, they are sitting at home right now with their titles,” Robertson said. “And we’re moving on to the second round.”

Atta boy, Taylor, hit us when we’re down.

And so it is a team that’s hardly a passing fancy has made it all the way to the East Final with a combination of smoke, mirrors and a Lemon.

The Argos somehow won a playoff game in Hamilton, Sunday, by throwing the ball for 134 yards, or about a typical day in penalties for the Blue Bombers.

Toronto’s average gain per pass, a barren 4.6 yards, two yards less than the Winnipeg offence gained per rush this season.

Yet, I’m not sure there’s a Bomber fan who’d trade a Buck, as in Pierce, for a Cleo, as in Lemon, the Argos’ pedestrian pivot.

If Lemon’s job was simply to manage the East Semifinal, he did it with all the flair of a government bureaucrat guiding an office full of nine-to-five drones.

Toronto’s strategy seemed to be to not do anything particularly stupid, and let the Tiger-Cats self-destruct.

Not a bad approach when Kevin Glenn, Rick Foley’s favourite crybaby, is your opposing quarterback, I suppose.

The fact it actually worked has to seal the coach-of-the-year trophy for Jim Barker, the man who wanted to generally manage the Blue Bombers this year, but was turned down by the big thinkers in the Bomber boardroom.

And it sets up the most anticipated post-game handshake since former Winnipeg boss Doug Berry raised his middle finger in salute of Don Matthews while the former Montreal coach tilted the scoreboard on him a few years back. We don’t recall that one leading to blows, but maybe this one will.

Barker was less than impressed with the Alouettes’ Marc Trestman after Trestman blew off a handshake a couple weeks ago. Now, the two go head-to-head in the East Final.

Barker has proven what we’ve suspected all along: that strong coaching and team chemistry can win over talent. Paul LaPolice, feel free to take notes.

That alone won’t be enough to get the Argos to the Promised Land, though.

The Alouettes beat themselves about once every decade, so Lemon and Co. are actually going to have to put up some points to keep Cinderella in action.

Over in the West, Berry’s sporadic offence, now being practised in Saskatchewan, figured things out in time to lead the Riders past the B.C. Lions.

We didn’t hear any Winnipeg shots emanating from the Riders locker-room, but with Berry, Bob Dyce and Jim Daley on the staff, Brendan Taman in the GM’s chair and Barrin Simpson, Dan Goodspeed and Ryan Dinwiddie in uniform, it may as well be the Big Blue alumni in the West Final.

If only the Bombers had won even half their close ones and grabbed the crossover spot in the West. The mind boggles at a Winnipeg-Saskatchewan playoff tilt and the subplots that would have accompanied it.

Hell, we would have settled for third place in the East, and a date with the Ticats’ Glenn, Greg Marshall and Khari Jones, three men whose spurning by the Bombers has caused much ink to be spilled in this space.

Alas, we have to settle for a spot in front of the tube, yet again, with our cheers, our beers and, yeah, a zinger or two for good measure.


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