TORONTO — Where to begin.
Alex Brink completed only 26% of his passes, the Bombers lost three more players to injury, and now they’re 0-4.
Other than that, there’s nothing wrong with the Blue and Gold.
Let’s begin, shall we?
• Brink did not look good. That’s the bottom line. But his performance needs to be examined a little further. For starters, he was playing a tough defensive co-ordinator in Chris Jones who plays press-man coverage. He plays a lot of man, too, so it was up to Brink to try and beat the Argos deep. It didn’t work. They also take away the intermediate stuff, too. That must be taken into consideration.
• Also, he lost the veteran member of the receiving corps, Terrence Edwards, early in the first quarter. Then Chris Matthews left for a quarter. His starting receiving corps consisted of Clarence Denmark and four Canadians: Kito Poblah, who hasn’t stood out at all, Jade Etienne, who STOOD offside once, Rory Kohlert and Cassidy Doneff, who might not even be on the practice roster if there weren’t so many injuries.
• His offensive line is in shambles. It’s a bad sign when the most veteran member of the group, right guard Steve Morley, has to platoon with rookie Paul Swiston because he’s been struggling. And fullback Michel-Pierre Pontbriand blew a blocking assignment on the play where Brink threw his first interception.
• I asked Paul LaPolice after the game if he was going to stick with Brink and let him develop. He said Brink is their starting quarterback. He deserves another chance, because you can’t just toss him aside after one bad start in a week when he had one practice. Yes, he’s been around the league a couple years, but quarterbacks don’t just go in games and light it up. It takes time. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats got rid of Anthony Calvillo.
• Moving on to the injuries, it’s getting a little ridiculous, isn’t it? The Bombers are now down nine starters — 10 if you count Chris Garrett. Can’t say I’ve seen that before. It’s not helping the situation, but if Joe Mack had signed a few more players with CFL experience in the off-season instead of stocking his roster with 23-year-olds, the situation might not be as bad as it is.
• LaPolice is hoping to get a few of his injured players back for next week’s home opener against the Eskimos, but he mentioned that “the DBs might be a while.” That’s likely Alex Suber and Brandon Stewart.
• I did find it odd, however, when LaPolice said he didn’t even think about replacing Brink with Joey Elliott.
• Great games by Justin Palardy and Mike Renaud.
• The Bombers have themselves a running back. Chad Simpson is the real deal, and he’s a good quote, too. “We were all brought here to win,” Simpson said. “We’re not just brought here to be nice guys.”
• The Bombers should have run the ball more.
• The defence, for the most part, was solid.
• The last time the Bombers started 0-4 was in 2008. They hosted a playoff game that year, in case you forgot.
• When it comes to the quarterbacks for the next few month or so, give Brink the start on Thursday and see how he does. If he struggles again, take a look at Elliott. Brink and Elliott are basically the same guy. They’ve both been around since 2010, and neither has proven they can win yet. LaPolice can interchange them without hurting their feelings. Find out who the man is going to be.
• One thing to remember, Bomber fans. Winnipeg was playing its fourth road game, it was missing nine starters, and it almost beat the Argos on the road with their backup quarterback. In other words, the Argos aren’t that good. The Ticats haven’t looked like world beaters, either. There is still plenty of time.