Tait: Blue Bombers 'can't sleep' on winless Tiger-Cats
If Winnipeg's players let up even for a nanosecond, these Tabbies will be at their collective throats, writes Ed Tait.
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Everything about it screams ‘trap game’ in big, bold letters … and with a dozen or so exclamation marks for extra emphasis.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are on a tidy little mini-roll right now, courtesy two last-play-of-the-game victories over the Montreal Alouettes and Ottawa RedBlacks that has them sitting 4-2 at the one-third mark of their 2017 schedule.
And now they head into Hamilton this weekend for a matchup with the 0-6 Tiger-Cats who have fallen 60-1 in Calgary and 33-28 in Edmonton in their last two games.
These Ticats are seemingly in turmoil right now, having demoted defensive co-ordinator Jeff Reinebold with Phillip Lolley, who had been the club’s run-game coordinator and linebackers coach. That move came just a few days after June Jones, a long-time NCAA and NFL coach, was parachuted in as assistant head coach to Kent Austin.
These Ticats, in the midst of a revolving door of personnel, announced Tuesday the deletion of four players and addition of four more. Brought in are defensive end Mike McAdoo, whom the Ticats cut in May, defensive back Cariel Brooks, who was released by Toronto after the pre-season and offensive lineman Tony Washington, dumped by Edmonton on the weekend
These are the same Ticats who have scored the fewest points in the CFL and given up the most. And dating back to last season they have lost 11 of their last 12.
So, they are the free space on the Bingo card and easy pickings, right?
Well, here’s where things get scary for the Bombers, because if they let up even for a nanosecond, these Tabbies will be at their collective throats.
“You have to be careful every week,” said Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols after practice on Tuesday. “I mean, they’re a good football team. It’s professional football.
“They’ve taken teams down to the wire and they’re desperate for a win. But so are we. We’re fourth in the West right now so I feel like we need a win just as bad.”
Good point, QB1. The Bombers' 4-2 record would be good enough for first place in the CFL’s East Division — some are calling it the ‘Least’ Division – with a game in hand on the 3-4 Argos.
But if they are to keep pace with Edmonton (6-0) Calgary (5-1-1) and B.C. (5-2) and keep Saskatchewan (2-4) in the rear-view mirror, they must take care of business in Steeltown this weekend.
“Why won’t we take them lightly?” began receiver Darvin Adams. “For one, this is professional football. Edmonton is 6-0 and (Hamilton) took those guys to the wire both times.
“We can’t sleep on this team. You have to give them respect.”
That respect should last right up until kickoff. After that, the Bombers must switch to seek-and-destroy mode ASAP because in pro football, the hunter can quickly become the hunted.
Ed Tait is the Blue Bombers director of content. His columns appear weekly in Metro. Follow him daily at bluebombers.com.