Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

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BUCK STILL A BUDDY

Receiver Terrence Edwards considers now-B.C. Lions pivot Buck Pierce a friend, he said, except for between kickoff and the final whistle tonight.

Between those two events, game on.

"I really do hope he gets to play against his old teammates," Edwards said, after the Bombers' walkthrough at Investors Group Field on Thursday afternoon. "Hopefully, we'll go in and hit him a few times, and see what happens."

Of course, Edwards means that all in good fun, assuming Pierce plays.

"During the game, I hope he gets some treatment," Edwards said, with a mischievous sort of twinkle in his eye. "But at the end of the day, I wish him well, and don't wish anything harmful on him."

Still, it's going to be a little strange seeing such a once-loyal soldier as Pierce in a Lions uniform this week, to which head coach Tim Burke agreed. There's also the fact the Lions have another former Bomber in Joey Elliott as their third-string quarterback; if Lions starter Thomas DeMarco goes down, it's certainly not out of the question the Bombers might face both their old pivots.

"That just shows you how few quarterbacks can play at this level," Burke said. "Not only is it hard to have a number one who's really good, now it's hard to find a backup who can get you out of the game with a win as well."

Still, other teams seem to have found one: seven quarterbacks have made their first CFL start this season, up from three in 2012 and just one the year before. Of those seven debuts, all but two -- or rather, all of them except Winnipeg's two -- ended in wins, though Montreal's Josh Neiswander was pulled very quickly from his Aug. 22 start, after three pass attempts.

 

THE MAX FACTOR

Max Hall was forced to watch as the Bombers lead vanished in the last minutes of last week's game, an experience he never wants to repeat. "That last one was tough," he said. "That was one of the toughest things I've had to do in my football career, is sit there and watch that game go by."

The good news: first, he feels fine. Second, he said, he hasn't historically been plagued by injuries, so he fully expects to see tonight's game through. Third, Hall reported that offensive co-ordinator Marcel Bellefeuille continued to evolve the Bombers offence this week, putting together a game plan the quarterback said should be a good one.

"I don't think it'll ever get to exactly to how he wants it, because of the language of it, it's not his language still," Hall said. "But we're definitely adding more reads, and adjusting routes, and doing different things. Making it a more complex offence. It's definitely a lot different than the first week he was here, and it's good. It's going to make us better. We understand where everybody needs to be."

 

STILL IN PLAYOFF HUNT

At 2-10, the Bombers have had their worst start since 1998, when they won just one game of their first 12, and yet incredibly they still have a reasonable shot at playoff contention. They are only two wins behind slumping Montreal, and play the Alouettes in three weeks. It seems strange that a playoff ticket could be awarded to a team that just failed to be the best at losing, but sometimes that's what you get in an eight-team league.

"That's CFL football," Edwards said. "You're not out of it, till you're out of it. We still have the chance, we just gotta play like we did in the first half of last weekend... That's why the team hasn't gotten down on itself, 'cause we still have a realistic chance of making it to the playoffs... As long as you get into the playoffs, the record at that point don't matter."

While we're on the topic, a fun fact about the long-term record: if the Bombers win tonight, it will be their 600th regular-season win since 1936, as they are sitting at a historical record of 599-551-14. Only the Edmonton Eskimos have more.

 

-- Melissa Martin

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 27, 2013 C9

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