Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–7–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

After fattening their record on East Division patsies, the Blue Bombers must focus on tougher rivals in the West

  • Print
Blue Bombers slotback Julian Feoli-Gudino has a hair-raising experience at practice Wednesday as he runs past QB Drew Willy.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Blue Bombers slotback Julian Feoli-Gudino has a hair-raising experience at practice Wednesday as he runs past QB Drew Willy. Photo Store

It's a simple question, but the answer is complicated and, frankly, still very much to be determined.

So as they pull out of a pit stop at the midway point of the CFL season and gear up for this weekend's annual Labour Day Classic, we ask this:

Who, exactly, are the Winnipeg Blue Bombers?

It's a thought that is currently being tossed around all across the three-down loop as the Bombers -- who came into the 2014 season as more than a mystery, what with a new head coach and starting quarterback in the wake of last year's 3-15 mushroom cloud -- remain an unknown.

The 6-3 run through the first half of the season has been highlighted by fourth-quarter comebacks, the maturation of QB Drew Willy and more wins than some -- hello -- figured they would earn in the entire campaign.

But five of the six wins have also come against the patsies of the CFL's (L)East Division, there have been issues along the line of scrimmage, and the second half of the campaign features seven of nine games against the West.

So, who are the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, exactly?

"I'll describe our crew this way: we're like dogs," said defensive tackle Zach Anderson after practice Wednesday. "I don't know how many games we've won just by teeth and grit. The fourth-quarter comebacks with Drew... last week against Montreal was a dogfight the whole game and we've had a few of those.

"That's what is different this year, everyone has that fight. Nobody on this team stops. We expect to win and train each week to win. We have strong leadership here and that leadership brings the dog out of you. You want to fight for coach O'Shea and Drew and the leaders here. And when you are down, when you're banged up and you can't breathe, you don't want to give up. You keep fighting."

There's been a whole lot of chatter like that in Bomberland since the lid lifted on the CFL season back in late June. The buy-in to the message of head coach Mike O'Shea has been significant. That message in itself may already be tiresome to those watching from afar, but it is a powerful motivator in the room.

And it could be severely tested in the second half of the season when the 2014 campaign will be properly framed. The Bombers have seven of their last nine games against their West Division foes, including a pair of games against defending Grey Cup champion Saskatchewan, Calgary and B.C.

Yes, as impressive as the first half-run has been, this race is only just starting to get interesting.

"There's still a long road ahead of us," said offensive tackle Glenn January. "We've got a lot of tough games against the West Division.

"I'm not one to put labels on a team, but I'll say this: we're having a lot of fun. We're having a lot of fun working our tails off. Shoot, if you had to put us in a category, we're a team that constantly believes we're going to win a game, whether it's the first day of practice or if there is one minute left in the game. That's huge. That's confidence.

"So this team is excited to go out to Saskatchewan and play this team again. Not because we think it's going to be easy, but because we know it's going to be a challenge.

"We're excited again to go out there and get into a fist fight with our neighbours."

January speaks from experience. In past years, the Labour Day Classic has been a nightmare for the Bombers, who usually limped into Regina already needing several acts of God and minor miracles just to remain in the playoff discussion before Thanksgiving.

And now?

"When you know you're working toward a playoff berth it's exciting," said January. "I know that sounds obvious, but you're not working just to get to Week 18 and then going on holidays, like it has been for the last couple of years. You're continually building towards the playoffs. You just don't understand how exciting that is.

"This whole season will be a fist fight. We're exchanging blows. But it's going to go 18 rounds."

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

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 28, 2014 0

History

Updated on Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 6:38 AM CDT: Replaces photo, changes headline

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Your cheapskate questions

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada Goose cools off in a water pond Monday afternoon at Brookside Cemetary- See Bryksa’s Goose a day Challenge– Day 27-June 25, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A nesting goose sits on the roof of GoodLife Fitness at 143 Nature Way near Kenaston as the morning sun comes up Wednesday morning- See Bryksa’s Goose a Day Photo- Day 07- Web crop-May 09, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

 

Poll

Which Jets prospect has the best chance of making NHL team this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google