Bombers' futility to continue despite recent changes
Every team is back from summer vacation so we have a full slate of games this weekend.
The fun starts on Friday night in Winnipeg where the Bombers have now officially lived up to their bomb name and kept their record of futility intact in 2013. They finally dumped their GM Joe Mack; roughly about three years after the horse left the barn when Mack assumed control of football decisions on the ‘Peg.
I feel very sorry for the Bomber faithful because they have endured a current era in which the team has a Three Stooges plan for success, only with a lot fewer laughs along the way. Winnipeg has the longest current Grey Cup drought at 23 years and counting. Friday is another open audition for quarterback and it appears to be Max Hall’s turn at the wheel.
I see little reason to pick Winnipeg to win this game under the current circumstances, so I will access the under-utilized rational side of my brain and pick the Tiger-Cats. The ‘Cats have started to assemble a healthy football team and the Blue Bombers have assembled a passable three ring circus during the Mack years. Pick the football team over the circus act.
The afternoon game on Saturday takes place in beautiful downtown Regina where the Roughriders host the Montreal Alouettes.
The Riders will want to make amends for the coaching clinic they received from the Calgary Stampeders last weekend. Calgary owned the Riders on both sides of the ball, with the exception of the third quarter when Saskatchewan tailback Kory Sheets made some noise.
The Stamps dominated the Rider defence because Calgary offensive guru Dave Dickenson devised a run game based upon wholesale team blocking schemes that included linemen, receivers and probably even the water boy to open lanes for tailback Jon Cornish.
Rider quarterback Darian Durant fell into some old bad habits of accuracy and delivery issues early in the game and fell well short of success when he was forced to shoulder more of the burden to win the game. Durant did not lose the game by any means, but he did not pull it out of the fire either when Calgary’s defence turned up the heat.
The Calgary game was a harsh lesson in reality for the Riders, but I believe they will win against the Als on Saturday.
Montreal is a shadow of its former self and interim coach Jim Popp is not the answer for this game. The Riders will use this game as a confidence builder.
The marquee game of the weekend takes place in Vancouver when the Lions host the Stampeders. The game also provides me with my most difficult pick of the weekend because the Lions are tough at home while the Stamps are one of the best teams on the CFL right now.
Jon Cornish had a huge game against the Lions in the season opener between the two teams and I expect the BC Lion defence will pay close attention to him this time. However, I have been impressed with the overall effort of the Stampeders this year and I have not felt the same way about the Lions thus far in the season.
BC Place has been a burial ground for visiting teams this year, but none of the visitors were Calgary. Look for a Stamp win in this game.
Last but not least is the Sunday night game between Toronto and Edmonton. The ghost of the Ricky Ray trade is the horror story behind this game and that boneheaded move will come back to haunt the Eskimos in a way well beyond a cheesy Hollywood movie plotline.
It must be a real treat for Argonaut fans to watch Ricky Ray work his magic and get rid of the sour taste of the Lemon-at-quarterback experiment that failed, or the Kerry Joseph-as-a starter era or, even worse, the Michael Bishop era. Argos win this one.