WINNIPEG - Remember roughly two weeks ago when Edmonton Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed was at the podium saying he didn’t want desperation to enter into the equation as his team prepared to face the Winnipeg Blue Bombers?
We certainly do.
The words were fitting and Reed had an excellent grasp of the situation as his 1-1 Eskimos were coming off a miserable 17-1 defeat at the hands of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and looking to rebound.
Yes, Reed was disappointed but also knew that in an 18-week season, it was far too early to push the panic button.
Desperation occasionally causes players — and teams — to be uptight, on edge and trying to do too much.
All the Eskimos have done since is blow out the Bombers and upset the B.C. Lions to move into a first-place tie in the West Division at 3-1.
Wouldn’t you know it, those Eskimos will serve as the opponent for the Bombers in Thursday’s home opener at Canad Inns Stadium.
After limping out of the gate with an 0-4 start, is it time for the Bombers to start playing with more desperation in their game or can they afford to follow the path of the Eskimos?
There are 14 weeks to go and the Bombers play their next four at home, but the opponents are the Eskimos, Montreal Alouettes, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Lions.
That will take them to the Labour Day Classic to begin a home-and-home series with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Is an 0-5 record the end of the world?
Not exactly, but if the Bombers don’t win soon, an element of self-doubt is sure to start creeping in.
It’s true the Bombers have yet to compete with a full roster and a few important pieces should be returning to the lineup this week in the form of tackle Andre Douglas and receiver Cory Watson (possibly one or two others), but there are still more questions than answers right now.
We’re still not sure who is going to be the starting quarterback on Thursday, though both Alex Brink and Joey Elliott are ready to answer the call.
The Bombers still haven’t produced a 100-yard rusher in a game this season, though Chad Simpson finished with 91 and likely would have achieved the mark had he not been injured early in the third quarter before eventually returning.
The Bomber defence took another step forward against the Toronto Argonauts and gave their team a chance to win.
However, a major communication breakdown in the secondary allowed Ricky Ray to hit Jason Barnes for the game-winning touchdown.
“It was just the way the game goes. They’re going to make plays,” Bombers defensive back Jovon Johnson told Winnipeg Sun colleague Kirk Penton.
“We stepped up. We came out to play. We made a lot of plays. That’s what we’re about, and those are the kind of games that we expect to be playing in. It’s definitely a lift for us, but we hate to lose.”
Mistakes happen, but until the Bombers clean things up in all three phases, wins are going to be tough to come by.
With that in mind, we don’t think the Bombers have the same luxury the Eskimos did and suggest Thursday is a perfect time to start playing with desperation.
Sounds like receiver Clarence Denmark agrees.
“We have to get things turned around and I believe that we will,” said Denmark. “Get the first one and roll off of that.”
If the first win doesn’t come soon, some players won’t likely get the chance to try and dig out of the hole because changes are sure to be made.