Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–10–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Blue review gaffe-filled game

O'Shea likes what he sees and hears from his troops

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It can be a humiliating ordeal, getting your pants kicked all over your own park in front of 30,000 fans.

But for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers the real stinger is having to watch video evidence of said pants-kicking all over again while sitting next to a teammate. And with the coaches in the room offering their critiques.

Then again, it's said there is also a certain healing power in coming clean and fessing up to a mistake.

'We need to get back to the enjoyment-of-work ethic that we had in training camp. We need to get back to that mode of flying around and fast pace'

-- Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea (right)

So it was on Sunday the Bombers -- players and coaches -- gathered to go over the mistakes in Thursday's 26-3 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos, their first of the 2014 season. And in the quest to learn a little bit more about his squad, head coach Mike O'Shea said he liked what he heard and saw from his gang in the aftermath.

"Accountability. Communication. You get a bunch of guys in the room where mistakes are happening and they're talking about it," said O'Shea. "It's not just the coaches talking, it's the players talking about the call, the read, what did they see, what they didn't see and how it's going to work next time. There's accountability to the group, which is good."

Responding positively in the film room is one thing, but O'Shea and his staff will now push the Bombers when they return to the practice field today in advance of this Friday's meeting in B.C. against the Lions, 2-2 after their 41-5 devouring of the Montreal Alouettes Saturday night.

"I'm not going to be a spectator and sit back and watch them respond," O'Shea said. "As a coaching staff, we're going to drive the response. My belief is if we sat back and watched, we would get the response we wanted anyway, because of the type of players we have.

"But there's no point in sitting back. We're paid to coach. We're paid to make sure we get the response we want in terms of the first day of practice and in terms of the meetings (on Sunday)... making sure that by the time we left today we had answers."

And the response O'Shea & Co. is seeking is simple.

"We need to get back to the enjoyment-of-work ethic that we had in training camp," he said. "We need to get back to that mode of flying around and fast pace. I wouldn't say it has dropped off, but as coaches we do expect it more."

As sloppy as the Bombers were Thursday and as some issues that had been swept under the carpet in the 3-0 start were exposed -- pass protection, penalties, special-teams inconsistency and sloppy tackling -- there was also this: If they hit on a few missed plays, including Drew Willy missing a wide-open Julian Feoli-Gudino on an Eskimo blitz or completing the swing pass to Nic Grigsby that was returned for a touchdown by Odell Willis, the score looks a lot different. Maybe the outcome, too.

"It wasn't just pass protection," said O'Shea. "Every guy on the team has got a play they wanted to have back in that game. It's evident to us, and especially our offence, that we missed some opportunities out there that could have -- would have -- changed the game in that moment.

"And when these mistakes get compounded by a few penalties... There were penalties at inopportune times, and when mistakes get compounded with those penalties... it just turns into a 26-3 ball game instead of something much closer."

Ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 21, 2014 D3

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Updated on Monday, July 21, 2014 at 8:59 AM CDT: Replaces photo

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