December 9, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
WINNIPEG -- The weekly game of cat-and-mouse is on as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers prepare for their Saturday contest in Edmonton.
This one might be better described as two mice -- give the Bombers' 2-8 record and the Eskimos' 1-9 mark -- but a fair question will be whether the Bombers can make another effective effort out of increased blitzing that helped them defeat Saskatchewan 25-13 last Sunday.
"Probably in their mind they have to prepare for everything they saw so... we're not going to let them know what we're doing," Bombers coach Tim Burke said after today's practice at Investors Group Field. "You're always trying to change up your game plan to match the opponent.
"One coverage for one team might not work for another. One blitz might have worked against Saskatchewan's protection but might not against Edmonton's. So you have to change your blitzes.
"It's always a chess game as far as you're trying to give them something new that they're not prepared for but you have to stay within who you are, too."
Many will be watching the in-game contest between the Bombers' defence and Edmonton's offence, with quarterback Mike Reilly at the controls behind an offensive line that has been a story in the Alberta capital.
Burke said today he'll simply be telling his players to mimic their preparations of last week.
"Like I told the defensive guys, 'Do what you did last week to get ready for the game because whatever you did as individuals and as a group, that worked," the coach said. "Let's take the mindset and prepare the same way."
But pressing a "repeat" button is never just that easy.
"All week long, you're telling them, 'How are we going to deal with success?" Burke said. "Are we going to just expect to throw our helmets on the field and win or are we going to have to work even harder to get a win.
"As a season goes along, you have to keep improving and if you don't, you're not going to win the game."
The in-game matters for Saturday are the team's focus, Burke said, though that playoff race is suddenly back in the conversation.
Winnipeg trails Montreal by four points heading into Week 11 of the schedule.
"We have a lot to fight for, that's for sure," Burke said.
NOTES: Burke said today that slotback Jade Etienne, out last week with a concussion, is good to go for Saturday...Safety Dan West is out two weeks with a hamstring pull.