Bombers hoping to fly high

Offensive coordinator Gary Crowton (left) watches as Joey Elliott makes a throw. The offence will...

Offensive coordinator Gary Crowton (left) watches as Joey Elliott makes a throw. The offence will be in tough Friday against a B.C. defence that leads the CFL in turnover differential at plus-8.

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:08 PM ET

WINNIPEG - As the Winnipeg Blue Bombers offence struggled out of the gate for much of the first six weeks, many were wondering just when offensive coordinator Gary Crowton’s vaunted air attack might be coming out of hibernation.

After all, the man with the impressive credentials was supposed to give the Blue Bombers what they had been missing for quite some time — an immediate boost to the offence, one that worked quickly, played with pace and had plenty of wrinkles, including the no-huddle attack.

Well, truth be told, during the opening third of the CFL season, the Blue and Gold attack was pretty mundane.

Whether that was more related to the Blue Bombers not having running back Chad Simpson at their disposal for the opening three games or losing Buck Pierce late in the first half of their opener and then again during the first half of Game 3 remains to be seen.

What was clear was that by his own admission, Crowton was adjusting to the CFL game and still is.

“I’m definitely learning about the league, understanding the three downs, the width of the field and the 12th man,” Crowton said Monday. “Every week, I understand what I can and can’t do. It’s not as much trying things anymore, it’s going to things that we know will work. That’s where we’re at.”

While some criticism was sent his way in the early stages of the season, Crowton was undeterred, determined to get things clicking and taking the offence forward.

It was mission accomplished on that front in Thursday’s 32-25 triumph over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Although he wasn’t about to take the I-told-you-so approach, Crowton did confess he was able to take some satisfaction in seeing the offence perform the way he envisioned it could.

It’s tough not to when the quarterback puts up 406 yards and the 505 yards of net offence certainly brought a smile to Crowton’s face.

“Well, yeah it is rewarding,” said Crowton. “Any victory is rewarding. It puts you in a position to get some confidence going into the next game.”

Confidence yes. There’s no worries about overconfidence, though.

Not when you’re rolling out the welcome mat for the 5-2 B.C. Lions this week.

Nevertheless, it’s the type of challenge both players and coaches live for.

“They’re really good at reading the quarterbacks eyes and rallying to the ball,” said Crowton. “And when they take chances, they’re on the perimeter, they can pick it and go for six. You have to be aware of that.

“You can’t be careful, you have to be aggressive. You can’t be tentative at all.”

It’s surely to be a fine line to straddle, since the Lions lead the CFL in turnover differential at plus-8 and have nine interceptions this season.

The Blue Bombers are sixth in giveaways/takeaways at minus-2 and that’s after winning the turnover battle 6-0 last week.

But you know the old saying, that in order to be the best you’ve got to beat the best. That’s the rallying cry the Blue Bombers will be using as they try to even the season series against the team that defeated them in the 99th Grey Cup.

Fear not, quarterback Joey Elliott recognizes the task at hand.

“They have a veteran secondary and with a veteran secondary, you have to be really disciplined as an offence. You have to really take what they give you,” said Elliott. “You want to go out and compete and take it as a challenge.”

Gveaways/Takeaways

B.C. —9 INT, 3 fumbles, three on downs 15 takeaways 5 INT, 1 fumble, 1 turnover on downs 7 giveaways +8 overall (1st in CFL)

WPG —4 INT, 11 fumbles, three on downs 18 takeaways 9 INT, 6 fumbles, five on downs 20 giveways -2 overall (6th in CFL)


Videos

Photos