Alex Brink has looked at the game film and says he's ready to show his true colours.
He's watched his last two appearances and studied his mistakes. The coaches have been in his ear about what he's done right, and more importantly, what he needs to address tonight when the winless Winnipeg Blue Bombers host the Edmonton Eskimos at Canad Inns Stadium (7:30 p.m., TSN, CJOB).
One might think Brink, making just his fifth CFL start in two-plus seasons in Winnipeg, may be feeling the heat for his poor play this season, but he's not. He's taking it all in stride, knowing a good game tonight keeps the calls for change down to a low rumble for another week.
"My confidence is high. I've played this position a long time," Brink said. "You have good days and you have bad days and you have to flush both of them, regardless of what happens. That's just the way it goes. You can't hang your hat on a good day and keep talking about that, and the same with a bad day."
In his last six quarters of play -- the full game in a 25-22 loss to Toronto last week and two full quarters of work in the 42-10 loss in Edmonton July 13 -- Brink is 17-of-52 for 260 yards and three interceptions.
The Argos game was especially disheartening. He completed just 27 per cent of his throws and continually got the club into second-and-long situations with low-percentage passes designed to stretch the field.
This time around, Brink needs to produce a blockbuster. Offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton, who is taking a fair amount of heat, said the quarterback in his system has the option of going a number of ways with the football, but for whatever reason, Brink was locked in on the deep guy.
"He had his choice, whether he went to the vertical or he went to the underneath on either side," said Crowton, who admittedly has been frustrated with Winnipeg's inability to put pressure on defences. "We spent a lot of time talking about that, because we want to make sure we're throwing higher-percentage passes and not as many home-run shots."
Crowton believes the problem -- though it wouldn't be an issue if Brink completed more of those throws -- has been rectified through preparations this week. Running back Chad Simpson (15 carries, 91 yards against the Argos) should give the 27-year-old pivot a few chances to dump the football off underneath, as should some good news in the receiving corps.
With Cory Watson (hamstring) and Terrence Edwards (leg) healthy enough to play, tonight marks the first game the Bombers will have their entire starting receiving group together on the field.
CORY WATSON'S return to the lineup after missing the first month is the big newsmaker for the Bombers. Those sitting this one out include Ian Logan (leg) and Brandon Collier (shoulder). Both are on the one-game injured list, joining five other potential starters. Brady Browne continues in Logan's safety spot (he'll see less time on special teams as a result), while rookies Jake Thomas and JT Gilmore will platoon in Collier's nose-tackle position.
On the Edmonton side, former Bombers linebacker Clint Kent (knee) and receiver Greg Carr (ankle) are out, as is defensive end Marcus Howard (hamstring) and offensive lineman Simeon Rottier (elbow).
BOMBERS linebacker Pierre-Luc Labbe on the club's mindset after starting the season oh-fer-four and the possible panic that's starting to settle in:
"We want to play like we did last year. It's 0-4, and that's no good. It's not the start we wanted, and it is an 18-game season and all that, but we need a win. We don't want to panic, and we have to remind ourselves to take it easy, but at the end of the day we need to win. This can't continue like it has."
WINNIPEG has held a lead for just 7:57 minutes this season... Opponents are completing 70 peer cent of their passes against the Bombers' secondary... Kicker Justin Palardy has missed only one field-goal attempt (a 48-yard try in Edmonton July 13)... Edmonton quarterback Steven Jyles is 3-0 against Winnipeg... The last time the Eskimos swept the season series against the Bombers was in 2005.
-- Adam Wazny