The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Bombers coach, GM, say only wins will show whether they've improved the team

  • Print

WINNIPEG - The coach and general manager of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers say wins are the only thing that will show whether they've assembled a better team this season.

"I want to say our fans are going to see a team that they're proud of, that regardless of the outcome on each particular game, that the fans are going to leave the stadium knowing that we gave it all," GM Kyle Walters said Friday on one of the conference calls CFL teams are having with the media as they prepare for the new season.

But there were no bold predictions as to whether the Bombers are a better team yet than they were last season.

"It's all words until we hit four wins," said Mike O'Shea, the former Toronto special teams co-ordinator preparing for his rookie season as a CFL head coach.

Last season, the Bombers tied their worst record ever in the 18-game schedule as they finished in the CFL cellar at 3-15.

"What does better mean?" asked Walters. "That's the beauty I guess of our line of work that better is quantifiable with wins and losses."

The team's on-field balance sheet shows additions and subtractions since that last troubled season ended. General manager Joe Mack got his pink slip well before the final game and coach Tim Burke was sacked after it was all over.

Since then, the biggest loss was defensive star Henoc Muamba. The Canadian linebacker who was Winnipeg's top defensive player, top Canadian player and top player overall in 2013 signed with the Indianapolis Colts of the NFL.

And one possible import replacement, former Tennessee Titan Gerald McRath, didn't pan out. He went to the team's mini-camp in Florida and the defensive staff didn't see what they were looking for in the veteran.

"It's not something we're worried about," said O'Shea, pointing to players still on the roster who can fill the hole.

The Bombers also lost Canadian special teams linebacker James Green and import receiver Wallace Miles to the Ottawa Redblacks in the CFL expansion draft.

They lost receiver and 2012 CFL rookie of the year Chris Matthews to the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL but picked up free agent Nick Moore from the B.C. Lions, the third leading receiver in the CFL in 2013.

They traded Canadian receiver Kito Poblah to the Lions for defensive back and four-time CFL all-star Korey Banks.

The Bombers lost free agent offensive lineman Justin Sorensen, last season's starter at centre, to the Edmonton Eskimos and are looking to use their second overall pick next week to select someone in the CFL draft they hope can be a starting centre.

Overall though, Walters says this year's draft offers a diminished pool because of rule changes regarding the NFL draft and red-shirted freshmen.

"You're going to see some real good players drafted next week," he said. "There's just not the depth."

The Bombers also struck out in every bid to land a bona fide starting CFL quarterback, although they insist they're thrilled with former Saskatchewan backup Drew Willy, who has been guaranteed the job even before training camp starts.

Both Walters and O'Shea were emphatic Friday that nothing will change that.

"He demonstrated down in Florida to be very accurate," said O'Shea.

"He's not afraid to go down field . . . He took risks in practice. He didn't try to play it safe. . . He absorbed the playbook very quick. He showed some leadership, I don't forsee that changing from the start of training camp to the end."

O'Shea said they're not going into camp with a wait-and-see attitude.

"What we've done in the off-season I believe is showing that we're not waiting to see what's going to happen next, we're taking a real active step in creating what we want to happen next," he said.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly states that the Blue Bombers lost Rory Kolhert to the Redblacks in the expansion draft. He actually re-signed with Winnipeg as a free agent.

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


  • 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 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 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.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Peguis Chief Hudson comments on toddler's death upgrade to homicide investigation

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Down the Hatch- A pelican swallows a fresh fish that it caught on the Red River near Lockport, Manitoba. Wednesday morning- May 01, 2013   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local- (Standup Photo). Watcher in the woods. A young deer peers from the forest while eating leaves by Cricket Drive in Assiniboine Park. A group of eight deer were seen in the park. 060508.

View More Gallery Photos


How surpised are you by the Bombers’ 4-1 start to the season?

View Results

Ads by Google