Monday, September 16, 2013

48 Hours Later: Bombers Put On Ice By Eskimos

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers inability to win back to back games is becoming comical much like their play against the Edmonton Eskimos  almost 48 hours ago, which resulted in a 25-7 drubbing at the hands of the club that heading into this game was 1-8. To be fair the Eskimo's are not as bad as their record indicated but the Bombers proved they are worse than their record. 

The sad part about this disastrous season is there is no reason to believe the Blue have hit rock bottom just yet despite the fact there have been more front office changes than costume changes during a Beyonce concert or the never ending quarterback carousel or multitude of trades made by interim G.M. Kyle Walters since taking over for Joe Mack.

For many teams the ugliness dressed up as a football game that took place on Saturday evening would have been rock bottom but the ‘three stars’ if you will that will only result in a further slide towards the great abyss known as the Bombers 2013 season are their lack leadership, competent quarterback and coaches. Let us look at how these things affected the outcome of the Eskimos game:

Leadership
The Bombers are the youngest and most immature team in the CFL. They have little if any veteran leadership to reign in the troops when hopes (or plays) go astray. Case in point is the Demont Washington punt return for a touchdown that was called back because of holding. 

The Bombers seemed so shaken, rattled and rolled by their misfortune on this play that they proceeded to give up 17 unanswered points, let Mike Reilly throw and run at will and failed to muster a first down until the second quarter. 


A veteran team would have rallied around this play and used it as a catalyst to turn the heat up on the home side that were equally as fragile coming into this game. However, the Bombers simply rolled over and folded like a cheap deck of cards. They desperately need a few good players to hold the others accountable but through no fault of their own those players have been shipped elsewhere or unceremoniously let go because of age or salary.

Quarterback
This is the most obvious area of concern for the Bombers with no easy fix in sight as savvy, experienced veteran CFL QB’s do not just fall from the sky. The Bombers have certainly tried to find the proverbial diamond in the rough and thought enough of Justin Goltz( or not enough of Alex Brink and Joey Elliott) to bump him up the depth chart during the off season. 

Unfortunately, he has not shown that he is a leader or that he has the tools to be an average let alone all-star QB. There are some who will point to Anthony Calvillo’s inauspicious beginnings but the Bombers do not have the luxury of waiting or hoping that one day he will come around. 


They need someone to step up now, to take charge, be the man, be the leader, and give the defense some hope that they don’t have to pitch a perfect game to get the win every time out. 


The fan base after 22 (soon to be 23) years without a title are in the 5th stage of mourning: acceptance as in not caring, moving on and worse following another team or sport all together.

Coaching
Tim Burke seems like a fine upstanding man and is a proven winner as a defensive coordinator but as a head coach he appears out of his element. He admitted as much by stating that We were expecting... they had tendencies in certain areas so we had calls to be very aggressive against those tendencies and it turned out they changed those tendencies. I've been a defensive coordinator long enough to know you can't rely on tendencies because everybody changes, especially with the situation they were in."

This is not the first time Burke has been  refreshingly honest about his failings as a coach and to his credit he is not abandoning ship by putting all the blame on the players but how many chances will his bosses give him to right this ship? Perhaps, he is trying to get out of this mess by being so candid or perhaps he just doesn’t know any better.

I truly believe the turning point in this game was the Washington punt return. I believe Tim Burke should have called a time out and gathered the troops at that point to remind them there was still 58 minutes of football to play, I believe that the leaders on this team should have stepped up after that play and that the starting quarterback should have done everything in his power during the ensuing set of downs to regain the momentum lost by the penalty that nullified the touchdown. 

Unfortunately, the Bombers don’t have the leaders, the coaches or the quarterback to stop the free fall let alone overcome minor adversity such as the said punt and that is why there are still many more rungs of the ladder for this team to slip off of before they reach rock bottom. 


The fact the Bombers could not even score a touchdown in the second half once the Eskimos were on cruise control speaks volumes about just how blue things are in Bomber land.



Blue Bombers Loss to Eskimos

Have the Winnipeg Blue Bombers hit rock bottom?

Yes
No
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