Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–6–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

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1. Can Joey find the end zone?

The last -- and only -- time Joey Elliott won a football game as a starter for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers this season, Paul LaPolice was still the head coach.

Elliott is 1-4 as the Bombers starter in 2012, the lone win coming Aug. 16 when he threw for 406 yards against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at home.

Since that game, Elliott has thrown six interceptions -- including three as a backup last week -- and zero touchdowns. Pressed into service again this week after medical staff decided a concussed Buck Pierce couldn't go in Montreal, Elliott asked for some understanding Friday as he pointed to the revolving door at starting quarterback for Winnipeg this season.

"It's been a tough situation. It's been up and down for all of us on the offensive side of the ball, not knowing who was going to start (at quarterback) each week," said Elliott. "I'm trying to do the best that I can."

 

2. Montreal's missing pieces

The best news for Winnipeg is that at least they won't have to deal with Brandon Whitaker on Monday.

The Montreal tailback -- who's out for the year with a torn ACL -- feasted on Winnipeg's defence in two previous meetings this season between the two clubs, racking up a combined 415 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns in two Alouettes victories over the Bombers.

On top of that, Montreal is also expected to be without an injured S.J. Green, the CFL's leading receiver, on Monday. That's two big holes for Montreal to fill on offence, but Bombers linebacker Jovon Johnson points out the Als will still have their most important player on the field.

"With (QB) Anthony Calvillo heading the charge, it's always going to be a tough game," said Johnson. "He can make their machine run no matter who's on the field."

The Bombers, meanwhile, will be without Pierce and slotback Clarence Denmark, who flew home this week after his father passed away. Isaac Anderson will fill in for Denmark on Monday.

3. Will Winnipeg go 0-9 on the road for the second time in three seasons? Seriously?

The Bombers are a ghastly 0-6 on the road this season heading into Montreal. If that sounds familiar, that's probably because you're recalling the Bombers were 0-9 on the road in 2010. That 2010 team went on to finish the season at 4-14; this sad-sack outfit is keeping a similar pace at 3-10 heading into this weekend.

 

4. Nowhere to go but up?

There's nothing more liberating than having realized your worst fears.

Look, nobody expects Winnipeg to win in Montreal on Monday and there are a whole lot of folks who think this one has the makings of yet another blowout like the 44-3 manhandling Winnipeg took in Calgary a couple weeks ago or the 52-0 shellacking they endured in Regina on Labour Day.

That's not great, obviously, but at the very least Winnipeg will not be burdened by either pressure or expectations in Montreal. Head coach Tim Burke told his players on Friday to just relax and remember what they loved about football in the first place.

Let's hope it was more than just winning.

 

5. If the Bombers beat Hamilton two weeks ago and Montreal lost to Hamilton last week...

Yeah, I know, it doesn't work like that.

But still, it's worth noting that Hamilton had won just once in their previous seven games when they beat up on Montreal 41-28 at Ivor Wynne Stadium last weekend.

All of which is to say a Winnipeg win in Montreal this weekend wouldn't be the first time the Als been beaten by a bad team lately.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 6, 2012 ??65532

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