Doug Brown

  • It's show-and-sell time for Bomber QBs

    With only two games remaining, and the post-season seemingly an impossibility, what can the Blue Bombers accomplish as they play out their regular-season schedule? They could try to develop and advertise a possible position of strength and depth, and use it to address a glaring weakness.
  • Ottawa loss shredded Blue psyche

    This football game was never going to be a contest about whether the Blue and Gold could go into Edmonton and keep their playoff hopes alive against the mighty Eskimos. To many of us, it was only a test of whether the Bombers could pick themselves up off the floor and present a spirited front after having it handed to them by the league's worst team last week. Every squad worth its salt likes to be told they can't do something and can't beat someone. Being told your opponent totally outclasses you and is out of your league is often all it takes to spur a superhuman effort from even the most lacklustre of teams. Yet having this gauntlet thrown down in front of them in Alberta, and coming face to face with a history of failure at Commonwealth Stadium, wouldn't have been what plagued the minds of these players going into this game.
  • Blue consistently awful at protecting QBs

    We have all been warned by our parents, at one time or another, if we did not take care of our toys and keep them in good condition, they would break and we wouldn't be able to play with them any longer. Apply this principle to professional football, and at the rate with which Drew Willy is being bludgeoned, it simply is not realistic for him to have a long and productive career as the quarterback of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
  • Fear not, loyal Blue Bombers fans

    Sometimes, to fully appreciate what you have, you need to take a moment to step back and see where and what you came from. While the city and team are understandably reeling from the angst of losing a critical game with first-and-goal on their opponent's three-yard line, the fact the Blue and Gold are trading blows with each and every opponent down the stretch is a magical promised land far, far and away from what we suffered through last year.
  • Bombers fighting momentum in a must-win game

    At this point of the season, it's not just about how many wins you have, it's where and when you got them. Even though head coach Mike O'Shea would probably tell you it doesn't matter, and the only important game is the next one, if the Winnipeg Blue Bombers had a choice, they would reverse the order of the first two-thirds of their football season without hesitation.
  • Bye week should be more flexible

    When your franchise quarterback is out for an undetermined amount of time, and your backup has started zero games in the CFL, it might be time to consider changing some bye-week vacation plans. When you have lost five of your last six games and you're sitting alone in the bottom of your division, it is worth discussing whether to shorten the bye-week schedule.
  • Riders were built to run, Blue did decent job on 'D'

    This may sound surprising after giving up nearly 200 yards on the ground on Sunday -- and 542 yards in three games against the Saskatchewan Roughriders -- but the Bombers can actually stop the run. They just can't stop it against the likes of the Roughriders. This is how the Roughriders are getting paid in 2014. They pound the football and play defence.
  • Kicking field goal on third and one the right move

    Since challenging and overturning rulings on the football field are what's in vogue in the CFL these days, it's time to throw a yellow flag and challenge the opinion that says kicking a field goal on third and one -- late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's Labour Day Classic -- was the wrong thing to do. Initially, I was a part of that consortium of second-guessers.
  • Like Rodney Dangerfield, Blue don't get no respect

    When you are 6-3 at the midway point of the season, it's not often you find yourself without the absolute respect of your opponents. Even though not a single team in the West Division is more than a single win up on Winnipeg, the prevailing assessment from many who aren't buying what the Bombers are selling, is that, "they aren't nearly as good as their record suggests."
  • Blue will win, cuz they got each others' backs

    It's a lot easier to guarantee a win when you're retired, because, quite frankly, if you're wrong, who really cares? I don't think I'll be wrong when I say the Bombers will roll tide over the Alouettes this Friday, and it's for one simple reason: When this team loses, they don't make excuses for their performances.
  • Big, bruising backs coming back

    It's been years since the CFL has seen a big back take over a football game, but with the way franchises mimic successful performances -- and the cyclical nature of the game -- it shouldn't be much longer before this event becomes more than a rare occurrence. In a game last Thursday night where the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defence held the offence of the reigning Grey Cup champions to only 115 yards in the air, and nine points on the scoreboard, a tailback listed at 6-3 and 245 pounds brought us back to an era of downhill running and smash-mouth football that is a drastic departure from the style of smaller backs that populate rosters today.
  • Riders represent true test of where Bombers stand

    Games between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers rarely, if ever, require the services of a professional hype man. If we were to go down that road in this week-seven showdown between last year's Grey Cup champions and this year's Cinderella story, the words of retired WWE superstar Ric Flair would best encapsulate the matchup: "If you wanna be the man, you gotta beat the man." Until the 2014 Grey Cup champions are crowned, like it or not, the Riders are still that man.
  • Let the last two years go, fans; Bombers have

    When trying to make sense of your feelings for this upstart football team, it is best to realize that you are essentially emerging from a two-year, dysfunctional relationship. The problem that has arisen, of late, is our emotional baggage from 2012 and 2013 -- and for some since 1990 -- is affecting our relationship going forward with the 2014 Blue Bombers.
  • New challenge rule is reshaping CFL

    If the ability to challenge the lack of a pass-interference call has not already reshaped the CFL, it won't be much longer before a strategy to exploit this new rule is commonplace. In fact, going forward, if two -- and possibly three -- challenges aren't used by a coaching staff to identify pass interference, each and every game, I would dare say the coaches aren't taking advantage of the bounty the CFL has laid out before them.
  • One-win Bombers have yet to earn respect

    Even after last week's dominant performance by the Blue and Gold over the previous year's Eastern division regular-season champions, it seems respect, from both the CFL and local fans alike, is something that will have to be earned over more than one game. First and foremost, blame the weather, blame a lacklustre expansion team rolling into town, blame whatever you want, but all signs indicate that it is going to take more than a single overwhelming display of competence to repair the damage done to the Bomber brand the last few years.
  • Run 'D' might be weak

    There's a saying in the reality-TV Jackass-era programming, that, "if you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough." Well, in the world of pro-football, if you're gonna be small, you better be fast, and be even tougher. The two-week pre-season in the CFL is not the time to make definitive statements about a football team. While the optics of only being outscored by five points in two games are dramatically better than the 70 points they were outscored by in 2013, it is too early to predict what lies ahead for the 2014 Bombers.
  • Union talks the talk... then quickly taps out

    The most important outcome of a successful negotiation between the CFL and CFLPA would be the fact the season would proceed without interruption, and the fans of Canadian football would not be penalized for their steadily increasing interest in the game. That being said, I am surprised the final deal was reportedly worked out with a mediator going back and forth -- without the two sides stepping into a room again -- as it appears the CFL physically took the CFLPA behind their woodshed and made this deal happen with a switch of bamboo.
  • Every day of practice weakens resolve

    For those of us still concerned about the ongoing labour dispute between the CFL and CFLPA, it is important to recognize that with each day that passes, with the players' full participation at training camp, the more remote any notion of a strike becomes. The players, to a man, are pretty much playing this conflict entirely by ear, because none of them -- save for legal council Ed Molstad-- has any experience walking off of the job, and neither do I for that matter. Yet, you don't have to be an active player to know that with every practice, with every meeting, with every team drill, it gets harder and harder for a CFL player to step away from their commitment to football this season.
  • Hammering together a deal needs to hurt a little

    If nothing else, the negotiations last week between the CFL and CFLPA were an interesting study of bargaining tactics in a labour dispute that has rapidly escalated into hostilities. To review -- from the documents made available to several media outlets -- the first formal proposal from the CFL Players' Association to the league appears to have been on or about May 7. By my count the CFLPA had 110 itemized proposals, of which 96 were declined by the league, seven were agreed to and seven were under consideration.
  • Players getting shafted

    With strike ballots being sent out to players this week, and a final scheduled meeting -- reportedly Wednesday -- it is not too dramatic to suggest the CFL Players Association and the league have reached Defcon 1 in their negotiations. While it has been confirmed another small step was taken last week during meetings -- it was disclosed the length of this CBA has been reduced from the initial requirement of eight years -- the two parties still have an incredible amount of ground to cover.
  • You know CFL draft is boring when...

    While the CFL is more than a worthy opponent for the National Football League when it comes to on-field entertainment, it is fair to say the Canadian Football League Draft, which begins tonight at 6 p.m., regularly has all the appeal of a blizzard in May. Like it or not, in Canada, university football is nowhere near as popular as its American counterpart, so CFL fans don't tend to get too excited, or even get to know their newest players until they've been in the pro ranks for at least a season or two. Yet finally, tonight, through the emergence of an unfortunate drug testing result, for those of you interested in the inner workings of CFL franchises, drama and intrigue will now be on deck.
  • CFL counting on each player looking out for himself

    After yet another meeting -- this time in Toronto -- without any significant progress on revenue sharing, something is becoming abundantly clear: The CFL is not going to revisit this economic model unless they are absolutely forced to do so, and rightfully so. In any negotiation, you don't concede something if you don't respect the resolve of your adversary, and that is what the collective bargaining conflict between the CFL and its players is coming down to.
  • May's a month's worth of people doing good things

    Now that hibernation is over, and the change in the weather is improving our seasonal affective disorders, if you feel like coming out of your winter den and supporting some local Winnipeg initiatives, there is something for everyone during the month of May. Starting on May 17 at Investors Group Field, Kidsport Winnipeg will be hosting their fourth annual skills and drills football camp. A number of current and retired CFL players will be taking around 75 kids through all the elements of a football combine, as well as position-specific fundamental drills and exercises, at zero cost to eligible Winnipeg youth.
  • Uh-oh, looks like players, owners digging in

    There is some bad news and some mildly disturbing news. Which would you prefer to read first? The only stories a team and a fan base coming off a 3-15 season look forward to in the off-season are those about flittering butterflies and the aroma of honeydew melons, so it is time to be as delicate as possible when I share a couple of eye openers from the last few days.
  • All hype and no hope for washed-up former NFL star

    Chad Johnson as a member of the Montreal Alouettes? Ocho-I don't think so. In news heard around the world last week, the Montreal Alouettes confirmed former NFL Pro Bowl receiver Chad "formerly known as Ochocinco" Johnson will be working out and attending their mini-camp in Florida, which begins today.


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