August 14, 2012
Bombers back to searching for a cure
By PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency
They say winning is contagious, although that’s a condition we don’t know much about in these parts.
Losing, now that’s another story.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, mired in another one of those decades-long Grey Cup droughts, are battling yet another bout of the nasties going into Thursday’s home game against Hamilton.
Of their last 18 games, dating back to last season, the Bombers have won a disturbing five (4-8 in their last dozen of 2011, 1-5 this year), a run that will cause even the most diehard fan to question those in charge.
But when the players jump ship, that’s when things get really ugly.
Have the Bombers begun to wonder if head coach Paul LaPolice and GM Joe Mack know what they’re doing?
The vets insist that hasn’t happened.
O-lineman Glenn January goes one further, saying there’s not even a hint of a fracture in the locker-room.
“Anybody that says differently, I don’t know what they’re looking at,” January said, Tuesday. “Because I’m one of the first guys in and one of the last to leave, and I see no infighting or bickering or negativity. And I feel like I’ve got my finger on the pulse of the team.”
That may be, but reading between the lines of some recent post-game comments makes you wonder.
Receiver Terrence Edwards sounded fed up with young, inexperienced teammates after the last loss, to Montreal.
“Screw all the playfulness,” Edwards said, post-game. “You’ve got to pay attention to detail ... guys think it’s OK to joke and jive, but it’s about winning games.”
Tuesday, Edwards described the Bombers as one big happy family.
“It doesn’t seem like it’s a 1-5 team,” Edwards said. “Guys are flying around like we’re 6-0. Might as well go out here and have fun and enjoy what you’re doing.
“If you take it too tough, things will get tougher. This week it seems like guys really enjoy being out here. I don’t see a reason to be down.”
I guess the bye week helps erase bad memories, recharges dead batteries. Maybe even rekindles faith.
“Players have to believe in the course this team is taking,” Edwards said. “You gotta believe in that. If you don’t, there’s no reason to be out here. The players do believe.”
But what a difference a year makes.
In stark contrast to their 7-1 start a year ago, the Bombers enter each week feeling overmatched. Like they have to play perfect football to have a chance.
“That’s evidence that stuff can turn around in a season pretty quick,” January said. “Hopefully we can flip the coin the other way now.”
OK, let’s switch gears and look for a bright side.
You first, Mr. January.
“The bright side is we’ve got a very talented group,” the head hog said. “We’ve got a pretty tight locker-room.”
Over to you, Mr. Edwards.
“The bright side is the team cares,” the receiver said.
Middle linebacker Henoc Muamba, freshly minted as a starter, weighed in next.
“The bright side is we believe in ourselves.”
Even the staunchest believer, though, is being tested.
“It gets shaken a little bit,” Edwards acknowledged. “But you know the old saying: a win cures all.”