The Banjo Bowl was a funny game to win for the Bombers, full as it was of funky stats and strange trivia – did you know Justin Goltz was just the eighth CFL pivot since August 2002 to win a game with fewer than 10 completions? – but if anything comes out of it, head coach Tim Burke said today, it is confidence.
What a difference three days can make: on Saturday, when the Bombers were 1-8, who can blame them if they felt deflated. Today, sitting at 2-8, maybe there’s a little more pop in their walk. "Once you feel like you can play with anybody, once you really believe that you can go out and win every game, that mindset changes how much you produce," Burke said. "I’m hoping that’s the number one thing that comes out of it."
The Bombers didn’t practice today, what with guys banged up and the short week before facing the Edmonton Eskimos on Saturday, and Burke didn’t think there was much point practicing with half his regular suspects. So they spent the day watching film instead, and laying out the game plan for the end of the week.
Though Edmonton may be the worst team in the league, Burke said the Bombers won’t take them lightly. "It’s going to be a battle," he said, highlighting the similarities between Edmonton’s struggles and Winnipeg’s, and the chance the team may be poised for a mid-season turnaround. "Their offence is really starting to get going now. They’ve got a different kind of receiver… their quarterback is really starting to play well."
The Bombers, meanwhile, will head into Saturday without a few injured bodies: offensive lineman Paul Swiston will go on the nine-game injured list after hurting his shoulder and his knee. Chad Simpson will still be out with a hurting foot, though Burke said he should be back soon after that. And whether receiver Jade Etienne comes back this week remains to be seen, after he was injured when his head hit the turf. It will depend how he does in practice, Burke said.
To replace Swiston, Marc Parenteau will likely come in at right guard.
Another declaration: Goltz will remain the starter Saturday, Burke said, though he agreed his quarterback needs to work on some aspects of his game. For instance, Goltz tends to telegraph where he’s about to throw: "That’s kind of a maturity thing," Burke said, though the coach said it wasn’t Goltz’s biggest growth hurdle. "You’ve got to go in steps. The first thing is to make sure we’re reading the correct side. He’s almost got that down, but he’s not 100 per cent. As soon as we get to that point, then we’ll start working on the finer points of the game."
Washington, Ford win Player of the Week awards
Two Blue Bombers have been honoured by the CFL after the Bombers curious win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Sunday's Banjo Bowl.
Defensive back Demond Washington was named the CFL's Defensive Player of the Week after a monster game on the Bomber D, in which he strangled Saskatchewan for seven tackles, two special teams tackles, and a sack.
The CFL's special teams player of the week went to Winnipeg running back Will Ford, who blazed out a 98-yard kickoff return touchdown to launch the Bombers into the lead. It was the team's first kickoff return for a touchdown since 2005.
Also on Tuesday, the Bombers added running back Shawnbrey McNeal to the practice roster. McNeal, 24, bounced around a number of NFL training camps as an undrafted free agent between 2010 and 2012. In 2009, McNeal was a star rusher at Southern Methodist University, where he ran for 1,188 yards and 12 touchdowns, plus two receiving touchdowns.