There were no fans on hand to greet the Blue Bombers at the Winnipeg airport this morning, no throng of media hovering by the escalators, and so the quiet after Saturday’s 25-7 loss against the Edmonton Eskimos lingered.
Maybe there are few words left to say at this point in a miserable season, with the Bombers now sitting at 2 and 9 and few answers on the horizon. Every week, athletes and coaches talk about their preparation, their readiness to turn things around.
Most times, it’s turned out more or less the same: No fight, few highlights, not a lot of game.
"Disappointing, disappointing all the way around," said pivot Justin Goltz, who was yanked from the game after he completed five of 10 pass attempts for 54 yards, and threw a pick. He was replaced by Max Hall, who made 15 of 22 for 160 yards and another interception.
"It’s a lack of execution… obviously, guys were optimistic throughout the week after coming off a big win. I thought we had a pretty good week of practice, and obviously it didn’t translate to the game, and that’s all that matters."
It’s hard to rustle up much to be excited about after a game where only kicker Sandro DeAngelis could put the ball into the end zone – two field goals and a missed attempt for a rouge accounted for the Bombers’ seven points – but if there was anything worth noting, it would be the play of receiver Aaron Kelly, who arrived in Winnipeg just last month after learning his former Hamilton Tiger-Cats coach Marcel Bellefeuille was the Bombers’ new offensive co-ordinator.
Kelly made three pretty catches on Saturday for 48 yards, including one where he managed to haul down a funky pass from Goltz that might have been bound for an interception. "I’m just happy to get the ball my way," Kelly said at the airport of that play. "If you make plays like that, it gives the quarterback confidence in you, just throw it up no matter what it looks like on the defensive end."
The looming question: what now? What now, for a team that has shuffled the personnel deck, swapped OCs, still has no clear starter at quarterback and can’t find any way but the occasional gut-busting defence to win a game? Get a clean-up crew, apparently. "It’s just the little mistakes we have," Kelly said. "We have success, then we’ll have a penalty. Or we won’t run something right. It’s just little things we can control."