December 5, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have done the talking part. Now the question is whether it will begin translating into more wins.
The Bombers held a players-only meeting today, followed by a session with head coach Tim Burke that delayed the start of practice by about 50 minutes. On the field, Justin Goltz got most of the work with the No. 1 offence as Buck Pierce, who was in full gear but did not practice because of an abdominal injury in last week’s loss to Toronto, played mostly the spectator.
Burke said Pierce was still bothered by abdominal pain, but if he is able to practice on Wednesday, would still get the start Friday night against the Calgary Stampeders.
"If Al (head athletic therapist Al Couture) says he’s full go – not if Buck says he’s full go – by Wednesday then he’s good to go," said Burke.
The Bomber boss also said his team’s 1-3 start is partly the byproduct of one specific characteristic: a lack of maturity.
"I don’t know what the players said (in their meeting). I heard it was constructive," said Burke. "In my meeting I just basically said we’ve got to mature as a team. We can’t let adversity set us into the tank every time something happens because there’s going to be adversity in every game."
Goltz said the players-only meeting was beneficial to allow teammates voice their observations.
"We got together and said what needed to be said," Goltz explained. "I mean, a lot of players needed to get stuff off their chest. This isn’t the start we wanted to get out to. But the way the CFL is working itself out, especially in the East right now, we’re fortunate that some of the other teams are trying to figure their stuff out, too. We’ve got an opportunity to turn it around and that’s what we wanted to explain to each other."
The Bombers don’t expect defensive tackle Bryant Turner (chest) to be ready for Friday’s game, as he experienced some pain today while practicing, but J.T. Gilmore, also a D tackle, may be green-lighted to play. Slotback Terrence Edwards will return to the lineup, Kito Poblah practiced and could return while wide receiver Chris Matthews (back) is still doubtful. Long-snapper Chris Cvetkovic remains sidelined.
Burke also said the club is not interested in bringing in veteran punter Burke Dales, released by Edmonton this week.