Sunday, August 5, 2012

Winnipeg Blue Bombers hit bottom. Al's Excel

The dust has settled on the Bombers 5th loss of the season and the picture is not a pretty one. It appears that players, management and the fans were lulled into a false sense of security after the Bombers beat Edmonton(when in fact the Eskimos beat themselves) last week. It also appeared that Montreal was ripe for the picking after losing to Toronto the week earlier, putting them below .500.

That was not a number the Al's are accustomed to and question marks were being raised about their defense under the tutelage of Jeff Reinebold (the infamous ex Bomber coach who was sent packing on his Harley after amassing a ghastly 7 wins in 2 tumultuous seasons). There was also the fact Montreal was on the road and road teams had only won 5 times in the 2012 season, not to mention the unexpected 12 hour lay over in the Airport where the team had to hold its pre-game walk through.

So the stage was set for the Bombers under 'rookie' QB Alex Brink, starting his 6th game as a pro, to lead the troops to victory. A not so funny thing happened along the way as the Bombers were exposed for the team that they are and will be this season. They are a team full of youthful exuberance combined with enough arrogance to make them think they are better than they really are. However, they lack discipline and experience to over come adversity.

 They do have some CFL veterans like Terrance Edwards and Glenn January to add leadership but as Chad Simpson said 'it takes 12 men to work as a team to win not just one ' and that is the problem here in Bomberland. There are too many individuals on the team and in upper management a fact alluded to by Marcellus Bowman in his post game interview.

This is a by product of Joe Mack and his penchant to axe veterans in favour of younger and cheaper players. In this case, you are getting what you paid for and the fruits of his labour are going to result in another lost season with a Grey Cup appearance sandwiched in between, to leave fans thinking there may be hope.

The score, 36-26 flattered the Bombers as they were down 15-3 at the half and that was due to the defense bending but not breaking. They did break in the 4th quarter but injuries and a sputtering offence were the culprits. However, the blame shouldn't (but will) fall on Alex Brink as he is supposed to inspire and lead the offence.

The problem is he can only work with the system he is given and it lacks spark and imagination. The same problem from last year but with Buck Pierce managing most of the games and the defence in top form, those problems were glossed over. The fact is they don't use Chad Simpson enough and the offensive line is not giving Brink time to make plays, so he is rushed and cannot get in sync with his receivers.

The Bombers can rely on all the typical excuses from the injuries to having too many rookies but it didn't have to be like this if management had some foresight.Mack's arrogance and/or stubbornness has cost the Bombers the 2012 season. He makes a better scout than GM and Paul Lapolice is proving time and a time again that the game moves just a little too fast for him at field level. He belongs in the booth a s a coordinator.

On the other side, we have the Al's who overcame the adversity they faced and that has to do with the savvy veterans that lead the team. A player like Anthony Calvillo comes around once a decade and he is a steadying influence on offense and was was able to keep the ship steady. He was able inspire his club to victory, despite the fact they were not firing on all cylinders last night. His receivers had a case of the dropsies that resulted in several drives stalling in the red zone .

On the defensive side of the ball, the Al's have stalwarts such as Shea Emery, Chip Cox and John Bowman who appear to be buying in to Reinebold's new system. It will take more than a victory over this Bomber squad to prove the Al's are back but the point is they found a way to win last night when they could have rolled over and headed into their by week without even having to deal with the wrath of their fans.

Last night's game turned on one key fact and that is that the right mix of veterans, rookies and coaches are required to make for a successful football team. There will be ups and downs in every season but with the right mix, the ups will be greater than the downs. Unfortunately, the Blue have the wrong mix and no one to right this sinking ship.

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