Normally I would write a Preview & Predictions leading up to a Bomber game. And while I will provide some preview I will not be offering any predictions as this game is not going to be a normal Bomber game.
On Saturday night the Bombers are set to face the Lions in BC.
However, this is going to be a different game for the Bombers as they rest their starting quarterback and leave a number of starters at home. While Zach Collaros is on the depth it would take a myriad of unfortunate events for him to see any playing time.
The discussion leading up to this game was “How will the Bombers approach this game knowing they have a bye week and have no meaningful games until the Western Final?” While listed as the third quarterback earlier in the year Dru Brown will be the starting quarterback over Dakota Prukop.
The Bombers Offensive Coach Buck Pierce believes in Dru and has great things to say about him.
Not New Territory
This is not new territory for the Bombers. In 2021 they secured playing the Western Final at home, also with two regular season games remaining. That year they rested Zach Collaros in the second last game and played him half time in the final regular season game. While dropping both games that strategy worked for the Bombers as they went on to win the Western Final and the Grey Cup!
However, it certainly was not a cakewalk! I remember being in the stands for the Western Final thinking, “You have to be kidding me! Am I really going to Hamilton to watch the Roughriders in the Grey Cup?” Oof!
In that Western Final, Zach Collaros would throw only 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions! The Bombers certainly looked sluggish that game, and it took them a long time to finally get it going. Do you recall Nic Demski’s all but guaranteed touchdown that resulting in an interception? How about the punt that was partially blocked to give Winnipeg excellent field position, only to lead to a fumble on the 1 yard line by Drew Wolitarsky? I will not highlight all the mistakes by the Bombers. You can see them in the game recap and then the eventual Bomber win.
However, terrible as that game was the Bombers seem confident to roll with the same strategy this year.
The BC Lions, on the other hand, are still fighting for their playoff position. Tied with Calgary – each having 10 wins – second place and the right to host the Western Semi Final is still in play. As such they will be fielding their regular starters that are heathy enough to play.
While both the Lions and the Stampeders are tied with 10 wins, the Lions hold the season series over the Stampeders. Each team has three games remaining.
BC plays Winnipeg; Edmonton; and Winnipeg.
As for Calgary they play Hamilton; Saskatchewan; Saskatchewan.
These are very interesting scenarios as Saskatchewan may be eliminated from the playoff picture early. Hamilton and Ottawa are still battling for the final spot in the East and have to play each other twice in their remaining 3 games. Right now Saskatchewan has 6 wins, while Hamilton has 5 wins and Ottawa has 4 wins. In order to secure a playoff spot Saskatchewan must have a better record than the third place team in the East. So Calgary may be playing a Saskatchewan team looking to audition players for 2023.
A huge question mark for BC is their quarterback. It has been a bit of a quarterback carrousel since Nathan Rourke was injured. However, Lion’s Head Coach Rick Campbell says that there is a reasonable chance that Rourke returns for the regular season.
The Real Winnipeg & BC Teams
In all likelihood when these two teams meet each other again for their final regular season game all western playoff spots will already be determined. So it is highly conceivable that we will not see a full Bomber’s team play a full Lion’s team unless they meet in the Western Final.
If you want a way more in-depth look at the remainder of the season make sure to check out BonFire Midweek with Darrin Bauming and my friend Zach Schnitzer!
Do Not Tell The Coach
If you have ever listened to the Bomber head Coach Mike O’Shea do an interview you know it is normally very mundane! In fact, that is the culture that he has brought in – never too high, never too low. And while his interviews may be fairly boring that culture has resulted in something fans have desired for a long time…Bombers winning!
If you have ever listened to Bomber Head Coach Mike O’Shea pregame, post-game, or mid-week interviews you will hear: “We are just trying to go 1-0 this week,” “I’ll have to watch the film.” If you ask about an injury you often get a response like, “Yah, we’re not sure. We will have to see tomorrow,” and guess what ‘tomorrow,’ never comes! If you asked the same question the next day the response is something like, “Yah, we are still evaluating and will know more later in the week.”
These boring responses are not because O’Shea lacks personality! No. They are thought out, calculated, and fully intentional. It goes back to culture. It is part of what makes Mike O’Shea a really good leader! He determined what type of culture he wanted on the Bombers and that culture has become their identity. That is what great leaders do. They establish an organizational identity that cannot be ruined if someone leaves (or in the case of sport, leaves or is injured).
It Is All About The Grey Cup
Whatever the Bombers do from here on out is singularly focused on winning the Grey Cup. They certainly will not look past either of their upcoming BC games – that is not Bomber football. However, make no mistake about it, the Bombers’ goal is not to beat BC twice! If it were, then Zach Collaros would be starting this game. At this point the Bombers are focused on the process. The process of playing good football. The process of playing mistake free football. The process of executing their assignments. All of which has been their process since Mike O’Shea came to the Bombers.
Whatever the Bombers believe will eventually lead them to another Grey Cup, you can be certain that is what they will do – nothing more, nothing less.
What did I get right? What did you disagree with? Let me know in the comments.
Find all my articles here.
Written by a Bomber fan, for the Bomber fans.
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