It was a shortened workout with no helmets or pads for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Canad Inns Stadium on Tuesday.
What, no outrage after Sunday’s third consecutive defeat, a 25-24 last-second loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders that saw the Blue and Gold drop to 2-8 just past the midway point of the CFL season.
Interim head coach Tim Burke, what gives?
“Because it’s a short week and we’re sore and tired from the game (Sunday),” said Burke. “I want to make sure that we’re fresh for the game. I think the worst thing you can do is bring a team in fatigued or beat up and then ask them to perform at a high level.”
So it wasn’t the time to crack the whip instead?
“The thing I talked to the team about today is that there were a lot of positives from the game,” said Burke. “Eight-five per cent of the game was extremely positive and we need to build on the positives. We all know what the negatives are, we’ve talked about them and whatever needs to be done has been done. We need to focus on the positives, build on that and get our confidence going.”
With the low-intensity workout, there wasn’t much happening in terms of news.
However, Burke noted he was making a few changes to the active roster for Friday’s game against the Calgary Stampeders.
In: Non-import RB Carl Volny and import WR Isaac Anderson, who will be one of the designated imports.
Out: Non-import WR Jade Etienne, still searching for his first CFL catch, and RB Will Ford
Johnny Sears is also expected back at corner, leaving Deon Beasley the other guy who could be scratched.
Volny will be used as a RB, FB and on special teams and his ability to block and catch passes out of the backfield is something the Blue Bombers plan to draw on.
Look for Volny to replace RB Chad Simpson on some passing downs, allowing Anderson to get on the field a bit more as well.
During the pre-season, Anderson showcased good speed and route-running but had some issues with drops. He might be able to provide a bit of a spark to an offence that hasn’t produced a TD in nine quarters.
Safety Ian Logan missed the workout with a flu virus, but will be fine for Friday.
Much of the talk focused around Burke’s decision to give Buck Pierce one more week to heal his foot (even though he’s been cleared medically to return) and allow Joey Elliott to make a fifth consecutive start at QB.
Pierce was clearly frustrated but did offer up this gem of a quote.
“I’m not saying I’d go in and the sun is going to come out and birds are going to start singing, that kind of thing,” said Pierce. “It’s more than one player. Joey has been doing a good job and improving but we have a ways to go, in a lot of aspects.
“It’s hard, because I can’t be out on the field and in the battle with them. That’s the hardest thing, to have to sit back and watch.”
Burke said that Pierce will be back under centre next Friday against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and went out of his way to say Pierce was his No. 1 pivot going forward.
For what it’s worth, Elliott is excited to get another shot and wasn’t worried about how the depth chart will look next week.
“I prepare just like any other week,” said Elliott. “We’re glad to have Buck back in the next week or so.”
So is there a competition for that No. 1 job?
“We’re competing for wins,” said Elliott. “I don’t care who is playing quarterback. I just want to win.”
Two Blue Bombers were honoured with CFL Gibson’s Finest player of the week awards:
DE Jason Vega was defensive player of the week after recording three sacks an six tackles
Returner Demond Washington was special teams player of the week after his 82-yard punt return TD