Fan friendly Blue Bombers

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:22 PM ET

Strangely, there was little grumbling about a 4-14 record and no real outcry about trading away their only proven backup quarterback. They came to support their Winnipeg Blue Bombers, even if they were lovable losers, not to complain about them at the club’s annual Fan Forum where about 500 filled the Tijuana Yacht Club on Wednesday night. The local CFL club dealt QB Steven Jyles to divisional rival Toronto Argonauts but there was only one question raised about the fact that there is almost no experience behind oft-injured starter Buck Pierce. Yet, it remained a concern in some quarters even after Bombers GM Joe Mack suggested that the club has confidence in the other QBs in camp, particularly Joey Elliott. “I am stressed out beyond belief about that,” season ticket holder Andrei Halkewycz said shortly after the two-hour session was done. “Buck Pierce is a great guy, a tough guy, but he’s proven to be a glass quarterback. “As we all know, this is a quarterback-driven league so hopefully, they do have somebody in the plans because you need depth at every position but particularly at that position.” On lookout for QBs Mack did say the club is still on the lookout for other promising pivots. Nor was there much hue and cry about a record that was poorer than the one recorded by former head coach Mike Kelly, who was chased out of town after the 2009 season. “I am not very proud of what we did last year as a head coach. I am not proud of 4 and 14,” head coach Paul LaPolice told the forum. “That’s not the expectation of our players, it’s not the expectation of the organization and it’s not my expectation. “People talk about progress and they say it’s winning more games than previous years. My job each day is to make sure everyone understands that there is progress every day and I think there was a lot of progress in our football club last year. We got better in a lot of ways … We’ve still got a ways to go.” Afterwards, LaPolice said he was not surprised by the fans’ reactions. “I pretty much expected this — great turnout, great fans and they asked some great questions and like I said before, it’s great to coach in a place where people care about football,” he said. Judging from the applause to answers that ranged from poor officiating to the new stadium, as well as the positive financial support, the fans to believe in the Bombers’ approach — for now. “I thought this evening went well, it was very informative but you know it’s always a love-in at these things,” Halkewycz said. “It’s kind of like a pep rally for the season so there’s lots of things to look forward to.” Mack said the club is building towards long-term success where the Bombers will compete for the Grey Cup year after year. BLUE BITS: The Bomber announced that they have extended the naming rights agreement for the stadium with Canad Inns for one more year … Mack said the Bombers will allow TSN to televise the Bomber warroom during this year’s draft on May 8. jim.bender@sunmedia.ca twitter@bendersun

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