The first game for the Blue Bombers offence since the firing of offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton last weekend didn’t look much different than it has all season — which is to say not very good.
The Bombers mustered just 141 net yards passing and just 214 net yards overall in a 37-14 loss to Hamilton on Saturday. They also went through three different quarterbacks and left fans wondering once again why the team used running back Chad Simpson so seldom.
Simpson carried just eight times all afternoon, but one of his carries resulted in the Bombers only touchdown of the day on a 44-yard scamper in the fourth quarter. Simpson finished with 75 rushing yards.
Newly installed offensive co-ordinator Marcel Bellefeuille said injuries to both starting QB Max Hall and backup QB Buck Pierce as well as an early deficit and a bad second-quarter interception all conspired against his fledgling offence before it ever got a chance to get going.
"When you’re not as good as you want to be yet and you’re making changes, you need some early success," said Bellefeuille. "They played hard and they worked hard and it was a lot of little things. But I’m sure it’s been a lot of little things for awhile now...
"That’s the reality of it. It’s going to take some time to build not just the template of what they’re doing, but also build their confidence back up too.
Simpson cited the Golden Rule when asked about the offensive game plan and the struggle to gain traction.
"I’d rather not talk about that right now. I can’t get on my guys, that’s just not my deal. I’m not going to point fingers at them, I can’t do that to them."
Bombers snort a 'paycheque' accusation
Winnipeg players scoffed at Calgary slotback Nik Lewis’s Tweet during Saturday’s game in which he openly wondered whether the Bombers are playing for "anything more than a paycheck."
"Please throw out the paycheque deal," laughed running back Chad Simpson, "because we don’t get paid very much here. And with the Canadian taxes? Yikes. We don’t bring home very much money.
"So tell him chill with the paycheque. We’re probably doing this for free if you want to look at it."
Offensive lineman Glenn January also rejected the assertion his team is just going through the motions right now.
"I can’t be too concerned about comments from other players on other teams, but you do need to be aware of the image you’re putting out there," said January.
"I think everyone bases their opinion on perception and everyone perceives differently. I can tell you I’m out there playing with heart and I think the rest of the guys on the offensive line (are too)...
"We’re busting our chops and making sure we’re doing everything possible to try and succeed. We’re not perfect, we know that and we have to execute better.
"But if guys are doing this for a paycheque, there’s a lot easier ways to earn the money."