July 14, 2012
Gut-check time for BombersShip not sinking yet—but many issues need serious attention
By KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
WINNIPEG - Here’s a bulletin to be filed under the category of not exactly breaking news — it’s gut-check time for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
We understand the calendar still reads July and there are 15 games left to be played on the 2012 CFL season, but as the Blue Bombers go into Wednesday’s contest against the Toronto Argonauts with an 0-3 record, the boat has already sprung a leak.
It’s too early to say the ship is sinking, but there are a litany of issues that require serious attention.
And with a short work week ahead, the Blue Bombers had best show up Sunday prepared to get their work in.
In the wake of Friday’s 42-10 beat-down at the hands of the Edmonton Eskimos, the Blue Bombers players and coaches were saying all the right things — talking about the need to be accountable and getting it together right now.
“I feel like we kind of gave them 24 points in the first half — a blown coverage, an interception for a touchdown, a fumbled punt for a touchdown. You can’t have plays like that in this league,” said cornerback Jovan Johnson, referring to the 35-0 deficit the Blue Bombers faced after 30 minutes. “Everybody is good enough to beat anybody on any given day, so we’ve got to limit our mistakes. That just comes with everybody being focused and being ready to play. We need to start going back to the drawing board and doing a better job with that.
“I’m not frustrated. It’s football. It’s part of the game and it’s the way the game goes. We just keep playing.”
That’s true, but Johnson also pointed out something that’s been lacking.
“I don’t know if there’s much to say at this point, everybody has just got to start looking in the mirror and having the attitude we need to start playing with,” said Johnson. “Right now, we’re not playing with no attitude, no enthusiasm. We’re just out there and it’s not good right now.
“It starts within you, intrinsic motivation. You’ve got to start pumping yourself up, getting yourself ready to go. You shouldn’t have to have a coach start screaming and yelling at you to start playing football. It’s what we love to do. It’s why we play the game. We’ve got to start getting ourselves ready to go.”
Those experiencing personal success say they can’t even really enjoy it right now, another sign that the team goals outweigh personal ones.
“If we were 3-0, I’d be the happiest guy in the CFL, I promise you that,” said Blue Bombers defensive tackle Bryant Turner, who leads the CFL with five sacks. “We’ve got to figure out how to change this thing around.”
Signs of leadership are there for the Blue Bombers, but the time has come for action.
Words can’t get things turned around, only improved play will.
Playmakers must make plays and everyone on the roster must find a way to contribute, since the Blue Bombers can ill afford another stinker.
Slow starts have killed the Blue Bombers to date and a whopping seven turnovers helped do them in on Friday.
“The best thing to do is not get in those situations, then you don’t have to worry about it,” said Blue Bombers left tackle Glenn January.
As Blue Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice has been saying ad nauseum, what’s been happening on the field so far is simply unacceptable.
“It starts with me. Everyone is frustrated,” said LaPolice. “They’re a together team but we have to play better.”