Blue Bomber Report Record: 3–15–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

All the ingredients for wins

Now for Blue to combine these qualities during same game

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The ingredients for a decent football team appear, at times, to be present: a respectable offence, with some big-play capability; a solid defence, with a good front-seven backed by a great secondary; and exceptional special teams, capable of the explosive plays that can turn around football games.

The problem for the 2012 Winnipeg Blue Bombers has been putting all those ingredients together in the same game.

Let's review, shall we.

In a 33-16 Week 1 loss to the B.C. Lions, the Bombers got a solid effort from their defence through the first three quarters, but the problem was an anemic offence that registered just 185 net yards and put up only 16 points.

Dynamic

And then in a Week 2 41-30 loss to the Montreal Alouettes on Friday, the dynamic was exactly reversed as the Bombers offence doubled their net yards to 371 and almost doubled their points to 30, but the defence gave up five TDs and 551 net yards in what could only be described as an embarrassing performance.

It's tough to win at the best of times with an effort that imbalanced; it's almost impossible to win when the imbalance comes against good teams like the Lions and Als.

The consistency problem on offence and defence can be viewed in microcosm within the Bombers special teams, which have represented in the first two games both the very best and the very worst this team has had to offer.

The best: the Brandon Stewart fake punt against B.C.; the 80-yard Demond Washington kick return against B.C.; the 82-yard Washington punt return for a TD against Montreal.

The worst: the successful onside kick by B.C.; the Dan West holding penalty that negated that long kick return by Washington against the Lions; the Brady Browne offside on a Montreal punt that gave the Als the ball back Friday night.

Put it together and what we seem to have in this Bombers team is exactly what they are. The youngest and least experienced team in the CFL, it is nothing but predictable that they would also be both enthusiastic and mistake-prone.

You want disciplined and focused football? That's the Lions, who are also, not coincidentally, the oldest and most experienced team in the CFL.

Like it or not, this is what we've all signed up for this season, and it's probably going to take awhile before the rowers on this boat stop splashing each other, much less get pulling in the same direction.

And in that regard, the best sign I took away from Friday night's loss to the Alouettes at Stade Molson actually occurred not on the field, but in the Bombers' locker-room after the game.

Sitting in their respective stalls after the game were Browne, who cost his team a Montreal touchdown with that bonehead offside penalty, and rookie tackle Jordan Taormina, who cost the Blue a touchdown when he went offside on first-and-goal from the Montreal one-yard line.

And that's the thing: Both Browne and Taormina were in their lockers facing the music from the media instead of ducking into the trainer's room or beetling for the team bus.

What's more, both men took full ownership of their mistakes and flatly rejected any excuses or explanations available to them. They messed up, they knew it, their teammates knew it and they vowed to learn from it.

That's called personal accountability, something that's been lacking from many pro sports locker-rooms I've been inside over the years.

And it's something the Bombers are going to need plenty of this season if they are going to turn this little early-season experiment in learning on the fly into a championship contender by season's end.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 8, 2012 B3

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