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This article was published 21/8/2014 (878 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Back-to-back losses hardly qualify as a crisis, at least not in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' quarters.
So quizzed on Thursday about tonight's CFL game against the Montreal Alouettes at Investors Group Field, the Bombers carried on like it's just business as usual.
"This idea of must-win is ludicrous," said Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea, his team 5-3 after the recent defeats.
"Every game counts the same in the 18 games (of the season)," piped in Winnipeg quarterback Drew Willy.
'It's certainly not the first time we've been challenged. These guys were challenged the first day of training camp to change everything they thought about football'
In the wake of two defeats, the approach to tonight's game has been the same, methodical one he's used all season, O'Shea said, including a short-term focus on the job at hand.
"It's certainly not the first time we've been challenged," O'Shea said. "These guys were challenged the first day of training camp to change everything they thought about football."
The arrival of the Alouettes (1-6), who have lost five straight games beginning with their Week 3 home-field setback in the last minute to the Blue Bombers, is not inflating the Bombers' expectations in any way, O'Shea said.
"Just as I don't look at games in a row for us, I don't look at games in a row for our opponent," O'Shea said. "I know that the last game they played they lost by five points (to Saskatchewan) and their defence looked very good and they held a good team down.
"I know the last time we played them we won by one point in the last minute of the game. We can't afford to take any team lightly.
"I don't think these guys look at records. We don't talk like that."
Montreal will be without quarterback Troy Smith, who's been placed on the six-game injured list.
In his place will be former Bombers quarterback Alex Brink, making his second straight start for the Als. O'Shea said his defence should be ready for an opposing quarterback ready to do anything it takes to impress and to win, and that includes making plays with his hands and his feet.
And of course, Montreal will try to run the ball, as Saskatchewan and Toronto did against Winnipeg in the two most recent games.
"You look at what our defence has given up in the last couple of games and obviously part of their game plan will be run the ball on us," O'Shea said. "That's not rocket science."
The other matchup will pit the inconsistent Winnipeg offence -- tied for the CFL lead in turnovers with 21 but also excelling at fourth-quarter comebacks this season with three -- against Montreal's veteran defence, which has been far from Montreal's biggest problem this season.
"I think their defence is obviously a very good defence," Willy said. "They've been put in some tough situations this year, their defence. They've got a lot of vets that have done some great things in this league.
"We saw last week they played Saskatchewan very tough to the wire. They're not far off from winning games. We need to take them very seriously."
Willy saw plenty of pressure from the Als in Week 3, which may provide some clues for tonight's game.
"They've been pretty consistent in what they do; maybe playing a little more zone than what they did in previous games against Saskatchewan," the Winnipeg quarterback said.
"They have a lot of vets that have previously done very good things for a long time. They're probably thinking, 'Why change?' They have a good defence, that's for sure. Week 3, they were saying they could be the best defence at that point. There hasn't been too many changes.
"Lot of talent and they are going to do what they done to be successful for years."