“All people does see the room for enchancment.”

“All people does see the room for enchancment.”

Considerably misplaced via the primary 11 weeks of the Canadian Soccer League schedule – via the emergence of homegrown quarterback Nathan Rourke in B.C., via the struggles within the East Division and, sure, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ 9-1 begin – has been a storyline we’ve maybe simply come to count on in these components: The continued dominance of the Blue Bombers ‘Darkish Facet’ defence.

Each one of many subplots listed above have generated the correct variety of headlines and buzz via the summer season months of the CFL season, however the Blue Bombers defensive group quietly and effectively continues to be one of many league’s strongest forces, even amid a big quantity of change.

Take into account this: the defence ranks first within the CFL within the two most crucial defensive classes: factors allowed (18.2 per sport) and touchdowns surrendered (simply 13 in 10 video games).

And but speak to anybody who makes his dwelling on the defensive aspect of the ball and there’s a clear consensus: this group can get even higher.

“Errors have been made, however one of many issues we’ve improved on is we’re making it more durable and more durable for groups to maneuver the ball on us,” stated all-star center linebacker Adam Bighill after a scorching apply on Monday. “We’re enjoying good soccer. Guys are flying round and making their performs. We’re not giving up a number of touchdowns, which is nice, and we’re simply making it onerous for groups to attain factors.”

“All people does see the room for enchancment.”

All this has come, it’s value noting, with Kyrie Wilson out with an Achilles harm, with all-star security Brandon Alexander but to take a snap – and his alternative Malcolm Thompson additionally injured – with newer faces within the secondary in Demerio Houston and Donald Rutledge, Jr. and with defensive finish Jackson Jeffcoat having missed three video games.

“You are available, you’re anticipated to play at a sure degree and make your performs,” stated Bighill. “We perceive individuals are going to make errors, however the thought is, don’t make the identical mistake twice and get higher and develop into a vet very, very quick.

“We’ve obtained nice teaching that provides guys instruments and the possibilities to achieve success. That’s an enormous a part of this: guys work onerous, they get nice teaching after which they arrive out right here and clear up errors. That’s it.”

The Blue Bombers defence posted some historic numbers within the run to the Gray Cup title final yr, surrendering simply 13.4 factors – the bottom complete by the membership since permitting simply 11.4 factors in 1958. The membership harassed from the outset of coaching camp that final yr’s success needed to be shelved, nevertheless it does present an attention-grabbing reference level.

“You don’t take into consideration what final yr was, nevertheless it does make you concentrate on what is feasible,” stated Bighill. “We all know the stuff we’ve left on the market that we would like again. There’s loads of that each single yr and there was some even final yr. It’s about persevering with to play as good as we will individually after which that emerges collectively collectively as a crew.”

Blue Bombers defensive coordinator Richie Corridor, requested Monday to rank his defence after 10 video games, stated he would put his group within the prime third within the league. The crew has surrendered 16 passes of 30 yards or extra – tied for third-most within the CFL – and is yielding 330.7 yards in opposition to per sport, second fewest.

“I would love us to be a bit bit extra constant,” stated Corridor. “A few of the issues occurred earlier within the yr the place we gave up some explosion performs, some large performs – (in opposition to) B.C., the Ottawa video games – if we tighten up these issues we will get again to the requirements we had been.

“The issues we try for they usually’ve achieved an excellent job with is, what number of factors did we hand over? The underside line is preserving these factors down and while you maintain these factors down you give your self a chance. I’m completely happy in that method. Now, can we get rid of a few of these yards?”

Winnipeg is getting into a crucial stretch of its schedule that would rapidly decide its spot within the West Division standings. The membership has already gained the season sequence with the Calgary Stampeders – this Thursday’s opponent at IG Subject – and has handed the 8-1 Lions their solely lack of the season up to now.

Seven of the membership’s eight remaining video games are in opposition to West Division opponents, together with one in opposition to the Stamps and Edmonton Elks, three in opposition to the Saskatchewan Roughriders and a home-and-home sequence with the Leos on the finish of the common season.

“What I like from what I’ve seen up to now is all of us need to get higher,” stated all-star halfback Deatrick Nichols. “We’re enjoying good soccer, however all of us agree we will get higher in sure areas. It’s about fixing the little particulars proper now.

“We see it, so we’re not simply saying it to make it sound good. All people does see the room for enchancment. We all know we will get higher and we’ll get higher. This can be a complete new crew. We will’t take into consideration what we did final yr, we’ve simply obtained to proceed to work and be nice in our personal particular method.”


The Blue Bombers obtained a scare throughout apply Monday when receiver Greg Ellingson pulled up whereas working a cross route. He limped off the sphere earlier than leaving apply and didn’t return.

Head coach Mike O’Shea didn’t have an replace speedy after apply, however the every day harm report lists his challenge as a foot.

Ellingson ranks second on the crew to rookie Dalton Schoen with 37 receptions for 572 yards and three touchdowns, regardless of lacking three video games via the primary 10 weeks.


One of many by-products of getting such a jammed schedule via the primary chunk of the season was the dearth of apply instances. O’Shea stated he was happy with the sharpness through the first two practices after getting again to work following the bye week.

“The blokes had been flying round at this time. Plenty of communication, which is nice and regardless of the warmth I assumed there was an incredible quantity of focus,” he stated. “You examine the execution on the movie, however I don’t assume we did push-ups (after an offside or unlawful process penalty throughout apply) at this time which suggests guys are staying clear penalty-wise.”

O’Shea stated his workers is on prime of cleansing up points as they pop up through the season and that the three coordinators – Corridor on defence, Buck Pierce on offence and Paul Boudreau on particular groups – had some factors of emphasis they harassed when the crew got here again to work.

“As we went alongside the fellows performed fairly sharp with the small print,” stated O’Shea. “However ultimately some issues simply break down. It’s not something to do with something nevertheless it’s Week 9 or Week 10 and also you haven’t had as a lot work as you want. Apply is nice. So, we erred on the aspect of freshness via the primary a part of the schedule to ensure the fellows had been bodily able to play. In that they had been sharp within the conferences and sharp once they had been on the sphere, however you lose a number of the elementary stuff. We’ve simply obtained to get again to practising some good elementary work for the following bunch of weeks.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *