Bomber confidence highest in years

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:34 AM ET

WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, with a win this Saturday night in Vancouver, would improve to 6-1 and equal their best start since 1984.

That just so happened to be the year the Bombers ended a 22-year Grey Cup drought. The franchise is currently in the midst of a 20-year championship famine.

Could the stars be aligning? Perhaps, but there’s a long way to go and Montreal hasn’t been the opponent yet.

The Blue and Gold are riding their first three-game winning streak since 2009, its defence is absolutely ferocious, and the offence is putting up points when needed.

If you think more than a few players will have trouble getting their swelled heads through the locker-room door on Tuesday morning when the team returns to practice, think again. The first thing head coach Paul LaPolice said to his players on Saturday, the day after their big 28-16 win over previously undefeated Edmonton, was to remain calm.

“We talked about being very humble,” LaPolice said. “We gotta go out to play B.C. in B.C. after they just got a win. They’re going to want to beat us, because then they’re right back in the playoff hunt.”

Calm would be the most incorrect way to describe the second half of Friday’s game and the party in the Bomber locker-room afterwards, although several players were saying all the right things.

“Coach LaPolice and his staff do a really good job of keeping us humble and keeping us sane,” centre Obby Khan said. “We’re not stupid. We haven’t accomplished our ultimate goal.

“Yes, we’re a very good team. We’re 5-1. But how many times in years past have we seen teams come out on fire and then fizzle? We gotta push ourselves every week, and we gotta get better every week.”

The players feel they’re pretty good already, though. There is a confidence in the locker-room that hasn’t been seen in years, and they know it.

“It never felt this good,” said four-year Bomber veteran Jovon Johnson. “We should be 6-0 right now. We were one play away. It feels real good.

“We’re really starting to put it together right now, which is going to cause trouble for the rest of the league.”

If the Bombers can win on Saturday against the Lions (1-5), it would give them their first four-game winning streak since 2003. The only player in the locker-room who was around in 2001, when the Bombers were 14-4, is Doug Brown, who said they are two different teams.

“It’s so different,” Brown said. “Even 2001, when we won a lot of games, we were an older group. We were veteran guys. That was the apex for a lot of careers. It was my first year in the CFL, but I had already played four years in the NFL.

“This is just a bunch of young, athletic guys going out and imposing their will on people and having a fun time doing it. The enthusiasm around here, it’s infectious. It’s a very different team from 2001, but thus far very, very effective.”


Photos