Tait: Loss to Calgary reveals Winnipeg Blue Bombers' flaws
The key now for the local footballers is how they recover, writes Ed Tait.
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Fact #1: The Winnipeg Blue Bombers weren’t the first team to lose to the Calgary Stampeders in 2017.
Fact #2: Guaranteed, they won’t be the last.
We bring this up today as the ripple effects of the Bombers disappointing 29-10 loss to the Stamps in last Friday’s home opener are just now dissipating. The Bombers weren’t pushed around in their own backyard against Calgary in what was being billed as a ‘measuring-stick game’, but made enough mistakes against an elite club to be left bloodied and bruised at the final bell.
Thing is, the Stamps do that to just about everybody – minus the Ottawa RedBlacks on Grey Cup Sunday.
Consider that since going 7-10-1 in 2007, Calgary has cranked out nine consecutive double-digit win seasons and are an astonishing 119-42-3 over that span.
The key now for the local footballers is how they recover. Yes, it’s one thing to get dropped to the mat with a straight right, it’s another to get back up and start swinging again.
The Bombers were back at work on Monday for their first practice since the Calgary loss to begin preparation for Thursday’s home date against the Toronto Argonauts.
And if we learned anything about the Bombers from a year ago, it’s that they showcased a resilience that would put them in good stead right about now, too.
“It’s going to be tough for us again. There’s no week’s off in this league,” said Bomber quarterback Matt Nichols after practice Monday. “We’re moving past last week. As far as we’re concerned it was a learning experience. You move on. It’s a long season and there’s enough vets in this locker room that understand that. We’ve been in tougher situations.
“We’re 1-1 coming into a home game and we feel like if we come out and play our game things will take of themselves.”
That’s the approach you’d expect, especially publicly, from Nichols & Co.
That said, what the Calgary loss revealed was a team still struggling to find a consistency on both offence and defence. The Bombers attack can look high-octane on one possession and then unable to get the engine revving on the next.
The defence has still flashed the good from last year – namely, an ability to take the ball away – but can also has a tendency to give up huge chunks of real estate.
Nichols was right about this, though: there are no week’s off in the Canadian Football League. This Argos squad that rolls in on Thursday, 2-1 on the year and led offensively by a couple of greybeards in Ricky Ray and S.J. Green and sporting a ferocious defensive front, are hardly an easy mark.
They’re not Calgary. Nobody is. They have their flaws, just as the Bombers do. And football is as much about covering those warts up as it is about exposing them.
Ed Tait is the Blue Bombers Director of Content. His columns appear weekly in the Metro. Follow him daily at bluebombers.com.