IN the aftermath of Thursday's 52-0 drubbing by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were grasping to come up with some positives.
"I don't think (the beat-down in Guelph, Ont.) will leave a mental mark on our team because our starters were all left at home," head coach Tim Burke said after the team returned to Winnipeg Friday. "They had nothing to do with it.
'Really, if you could take away the nine turnovers, the score... it would have been a close game. When you talk nine turnovers, you're talking nine drives totally stopping'
"Really, if you could take away the nine turnovers, the score... it would have been a close game. When you talk nine turnovers, you're talking nine drives totally stopping. You usually only have 13 to 15 drives in a game so that's the great majority of the drives.
"I thought our receivers played poorly and so they contributed to some of the quarterbacks' woes. Our offensive line, we had guys playing a little bit out of position."
Quarterback Justin Goltz, who played the first half in a bid to solidify his standing as No. 2 on the depth chart, was determined to have some positives out of the game in which he went 13 for 22 for 110 yards, with two interceptions.
"The pre-season doesn't determine where we'll be at the end of the season," Goltz said Friday. "It has no (bearing) on how our playoff chances turn out, anything like that.
"At the same time, you'd like to take away positives, you'd like to see a lot more positives for the fan base and the organization and we didn't give them a lot to be hopeful about.
"Obviously our coaches and organization have an agenda... and they stuck to it. We'll find out in the regular season if that was the right thing to do or not. Obviously the positives are that we're going into this first week healthy with all of our veterans healthy and some guys who have playing experience. Last year that wasn't the case and we got off to a rough start.
"The exciting part is that we have a full roster of veterans and we should be able to hit the ground running on Week 1."
Any worry about mental scarring from Thursday?
"Obviously you don't want that score to appear on the scoreboard," Goltz said. "It's something that you're not proud of and you'd like to move on from. But there are a lot of guys, that this might have been their last football game as a professional. It might wear on then for longer periods of time. But as a professional, you kind of have to move on. You can learn from that game. If you don't, if you just pass it up and move onto Week 1, it was a waste of everybody's time.
"You have to go back and look at the film, you have to learn from it. As bad as it could have been at times, you have to take those mistakes and learn from them."
From the airport Friday, Burke, his coaching staff and GM Joe Mack assembled to view the carnage and debate the exact makeup of the final roster, practice roster and reserves.
Once the cuts are made and announced, the team plans to hold a meeting this morning, then get back to the practice field Sunday.
The Montreal Alouettes visit on Thursday for the first regular-season CFL game at Investors Group Field.