Laughing Blue Bombers anger Tim Burke

Blue Bombers quarterbacks Alex Brink and Joey Elliott. (FRED GREENSLADE/Reuters file photo)

Blue Bombers quarterbacks Alex Brink and Joey Elliott. (FRED GREENSLADE/Reuters file photo)

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:56 AM ET

WINNIPEG - Joey Elliott and Alex Brink were obviously well prepared for the question.

The two Blue Bomber quarterbacks were among a handful of players seen on TV either outright laughing or wearing sideline expressions that didn’t suit the occasion, Friday in Calgary.

Never mind that the occasion was more suited to black suits and a hearse, which obviously weren’t available on short notice.

The fact Elliott and Brink had the audacity to share a chuckle late in a 44-3 burying was no doubt puzzling to the average viewer.

But neither felt the need to explain anything as the Bombers returned to the practice field, Monday.

“I’m looking forward to next week,” was Elliott’s answer. “We’ll be ready to go next week. We’ve gotta have a better game plan.”

Asked again by another reporter, Elliott proved he’s quite the study.

“We’ll be ready to go next week. We’ve got to have a better game plan. And we’ll be ready to go next week.”

How about you, Alex — an explanation, please, for the apparent contradiction in the score and your mood on the sideline.

“When we take a look at the game film, we took the good things from it,” Brink said. “We’re going to look forward to this week.”

Told how some fans are taking it, Brink simply turned and walked away from the interview.

Now, I’ve been fairly easy on the quarterbacks during this team’s collapse this season, mostly because the problems run deeper, right to the top of the organization.

But to see supposed team leaders dismiss a situation of concern so easily, so insultingly, speaks volumes about their status as leaders.

It’s obvious these two have as good a command of the community as they do of the huddle, and an even worse feel for public sentiment as for a pass rush.

If they’d done as good a job of running the Bomber offence as they did of co-ordinating their answers, this team wouldn’t need a reintroduction to the end zone.

The Two-and-Out Twins couldn’t have thought this was simply the media making a story out of nothing, either, because their own head coach made a big deal about the issue in a team meeting earlier in the day.

Tim Burke showed his players TV footage including defensive lineman Brandon Collier laughing on the bench late in the game and the commentary that followed.

“He was not the only one,” Burke said. “There were other guys laughing on the sideline. And I said this is your resume. This is what people in the outside world are thinking about you.

“And so you’ve got to figure out how you’re going to respond to that. Are you going to do it with pride, or are you going to tuck your tail and run?”

Elliott and Brink ran.

Collier ended up on the nine-game injury list where he’ll collect full pay and won’t have to do interviews.

“It’s embarrassing,” Burke continued. “I mean, we’re professionals and we should act in a professional manner. You’re getting paid to play as hard as you can play. We didn’t play as hard as we can play. That’s evident (to) everybody in the stands, everybody watching on TV — we didn’t play hard enough to win. And it’s inexcusable.”

Burke blamed a lack of veterans. But he didn’t say that excused the behaviour or the lack of effort.

“The good people of Winnipeg pay good money to come watch them play,” Burke said. “Their salaries are being paid by the fans of Winnipeg. So they deserve more than they’re getting.”

They also deserved an answer: what can be funny at the end of a game that makes them want to hurl?

I was ready to give Elliott and Brink the benefit of the doubt. Hell, they barely broke a smile on that TV shot, Friday.

No big deal, really.

Then they opened their mouths, Monday.

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Here’s what a few Bombers had to say about teammates captured on TV laughing late in Friday’s 44-3 loss in Calgary:

“I don’t know what the nature of the joke was. For me personally there was nothing funny about what was going on. And I doubt that was the case for the player. It was an unfortunate situation that was caught on film. And it made a bad situation worse.” — receiver Cory Watson.

“Personally, I wouldn’t do it. I can understand fans’ frustration, but I can also understand the players’ point of view. Everybody processes it differently. I tend to bottle it up.” — O-lineman Glenn January

”Hopefully it was taken out of context a little bit. I know those guys. I have respect for them and what they do and how bad they want to win the ball game. I don’t put too much stock in that.” — Buck Pierce on fellow quarterbacks Joey Elliott and Alex Brink.

paul.friesen@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @friesensunmedia


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