Blue Bomber Report Record: 3–15–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Blue heal up after wild win in Banjo Bowl

Simpson, Etienne likely to miss game vs. Esks

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The Winnipeg Blue Bombers didn't practise Tuesday, because players are so banged up they would have had perhaps half their regular squad. So they watched film instead.

Above all, head coach Tim Burke hoped, what the team saw in all the video evidence of their wildly unlikely win over Saskatchewan on Sunday, maybe it'll give his group a shot of that old Blue and Gold swagger.

"Once you feel like you can play with anybody, once you really believe that you can go out and win every game, I think that mindset changes how much you produce," Burke said. "I'm hoping that's the No. 1 thing that comes out of it."

To that end, Burke said, the coaches at least were feeling a little lighter Tuesday after finally shaking the talent out of at least the defence and special teams. Defensive back Demond Washington was named the CFL's defensive player of the week, after his seven tackles, two special teams tackles and one sack. Running back Will Ford's 98-yard kickoff return earned a special teams player of the week nod from the league.

Although Burke only learned of those honours after emerging from Tuesday's coaching session, he wasn't surprised.

"I'm happy for those guys," he said. "There were several good performances, especially on defence, that probably could have warranted that as well."

Now, the golden question: The defence smothered the egregiously talented Roughriders, and won the Banjo Bowl for the Bombers. Can they keep it up this Saturday, against their fellow basement-dwellers in the Edmonton Eskimos?

"I don't know," said Burke with his trademark frankness.

"That's as good a defence as we've played since I've been here. I hope we can. Every team is a different challenge. I think Edmonton, their offence is really starting to get going now. We definitely have a challenge ahead of us."

To meet that challenge, Burke may have to juggle a few spots. Running back Chad Simpson will stay out this week with a foot injury, though it's healing and he's expected back soon. Receiver Jade Etienne may also sit with an injury. Offensive lineman Paul Swiston will go onto the nine-game injured list, and offensive lineman Marc Parenteau -- acquired from the Toronto Argonauts on Monday -- will start at right guard.

The Bombers may also get Canadian receiver Akeem Foster, who was the B.C. Lions' payment for pivot Buck Pierce, on the field Saturday.

One thing Burke was sure of is quarterback Justin Goltz will get the start again. Although Banjo Bowl win wasn't exactly splendid -- Goltz was the eighth CFL quarterback since August 2002 to win a game with fewer than 10 completions -- and he has some parts of his game to iron out, such as his tendency to stare so obviously at his intended receiver.

"That's kind of a maturity thing," Burke said. "You've got to go in steps."

melissa.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 11, 2013 D4

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Updated on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 8:32 AM CDT: Replaces photo, adds video

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