Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 06/10/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
It doesn't smell like crap in Bomberland anymore.
If confidence comes in the form of an aura it can also be said there's a stench that comes along with being inept. That smell permeated the Blue Bombers and everything they did the last couple of years. It's gone.
The Bombers have some work to do in terms of fully restoring their credibility, but they've begun the job. Wade Miller opened the windows and aired the place out. Then he brought in men without the stink of rot clinging to their clothes and let them do their jobs.
Monday night's pre-season game against the Toronto Argonauts may not have been perfect, but the soundtrack wasn't circus music.
Head coach Mike O'Shea didn't make any discernible blunders that had the post-game call in show lines buzzing. Offensive co-ordinator Marcel Bellefeuille wasn't backed into a corner by media jackals before blurting out he was "still learning the game."
Players weren't shaking their heads in amazement before claiming this must certainly be rock bottom.
None of the harbingers of doom easily detected for so very long around this team were apparent.
Sorry to go back to this point, but there just isn't the stink of confusion and apathy in the building. A solid crowd showed up and stayed until the end. So did their team. The Bombers kept fighting and didn't implode. They looked organized and worked with a purpose. The second coming of Doug Flutie or Dan Kepley didn't announce himself but neither did T.J. Rubley.
Maybe it's a low bar to commend the Bombers for not being terrible, but if you've been forced to watch this team sink deeper into the mire on what seemed like weekly basis, this development is refreshing.
It also leads to some easy conclusions. The Bombers will win more games than the three victories they fell into last season. It's not a stretch to see them developing into a .500 team.
Quarterback Drew Willy showed exactly what one wants to see from a project. He moved the ball, threw some strong passes and was composed. He revealed a foundation that can be built upon.
Willy looked stable if not flashy. If he can develop into an efficient game manager the Bombers will be miles ahead of where they were a year ago. If it turns out there's even more upside, as quarterback scout Danny McManus believes, throw out the form chart. Crazy things happen in the CFL and teams can get a lot better in short order.
Guessing about the potential growth of players after one pre-season game is a wasted exercise. But seeing and determining the change in an organization's methods can provide value when analyzing where a team is headed.
Just like it was easy to know the Bombers were going to suck last season, it's obvious now they're taking care of the business they can control. Organization, preparedness and effort. All those principles slipped through the cracks under the previous administration.
Miller and GM Kyle Walters have done their work and given O'Shea the tools to compete. They've added scouts and coaches and worked hard to bring in talented football players. All good things.
O'Shea, however, represents the tipping point. He's the fork in the road. It's his job to make sure the Bombers walk, talk and act like a football team. Not a squabbling circus troupe.
Already the rookie head coach has established things will be done his way. His way led to three Grey Cups as a player and one as an assistant coach.
What O'Shea's methods will ultimately add up to in Winnipeg remains to be seen, but one thing we can already definitively say is his teams won't be beaten before they start. Maybe that seems like a low bar, but around here it's a definite upgrade. And they don't stink. Also a good thing.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 10, 2014 D1
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Salute to Mynarski enters home stretch
Winnipeg veterinary surgeon Dr. Murray Moffatt gets dogs back in the game after debilitating injury
Go with gut instinct when choosing a daycare
Having Jets and Moose will change city's entertainment landscape
Songs I loved, lyrics I can't remember
Wink-and-a-nod won't cut it with the public
Bigger roads mean more traffic
Tell promiscuous woman to avoid your son
Column a form of reproductive coercion
Trending that caught Doug's eye: World class women's soccer
A different kind of backup
A few tips for when you hit the trails
Sister's big mouth starts family fight
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Advice for a few people you might recognize
Setting up jobbers to get squashed
Surplus of sick day benefits
Pardon me, are you calling me a snob?
Farmers don't need to let dust blow away hopes
Too much of a good thing
Learning some new dance moves will have husband wanting to tango
Technophiles love to hate new CSI's cyberphobia
Actress happy to find herself the mane attraction
Perfect for patios
Race for the ages
Willy extension shows Bombers have changed their ways
Police engagement can foster hope
Conference Board hypothesis is flawed -- again
Privacy? There is tweet irony in that
Unflinching faith in a failed fiscal plan
End sham of a marriage and live the single life
A duty-free duty to travellers
After years of losing to Toews, Weise would welcome Hawks-Habs final
Conference Board commentary on NHL disregards too many exceptions
Whedon follows his own thrilling recipe, but Avengers sequel not equal to first outing
Liar, liar, pants on fire
Behold the beauty of Basset in a Box
Making the best out of a bad situation
Household of men can raise children
Short but sweet