CFL

Schultz: Becoming a Bomber believer after three games

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Chris Schultz
7/13/2014 2:48:02 PM
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One, two, three, I do believe. After a 45-21 win over Toronto I was surprised, and after a 36-28 win over Ottawa I was impressed, but the 34-33 win on the road in Montreal was a convincing moment. In a game where the difference was two defensive touchdowns for the Bombers creating the first road win was a special type of confidence builder, more than Game 1 and more than the win over an expansion team in the Redblacks.

Again, for the second week in a row, Drew Willy was impressive. His come-from-behind skills are as good in this young season as any quarterback and his ability to wait until the last moment to let a downfield pattern develop is an ability I don't think you can teach. You either have it or you don't. It's kind of a combination of courage and awareness at the same time. I give compliments to Montreal for their relentless pass rush. They played risk-reward football and did not get the reward as in the end they may have taken one too many risks in one-on-one downfield coverage.

Still, my Lord, the first half was boring, very boring. The game kicked off at 7:08pm and the first half did not end until 8:49pm, eastern time. One hour and 41 minutes to play a half of football. Boring. Whether it was penalties, challenges, commercials, timeouts or injuries, that first half dragged forever. And I really don't know what to suggest to guarantee a more expedited game because there will always be penalties, challenges, timeouts, commercials and injuries in football. The second half was better than the first half and there was exceptional drama in the fourth quarter. But if I was a casual football fan I don't know if I would have made it to the fourth after the first and the second.

An excellent win for Winnipeg, tough loss for Montreal but the Alouettes are going to win some games. Tough on defence and very aggressive, improving on offence especially the way Brandon Whitaker is playing and a solid returner in Larry Taylor. Troy Smith hit some good deep balls in the game and I though it was Montreal's best game of the first three.

The next game of the night, Ottawa at Edmonton was predictable in its outcome, 27-11 for Edmonton. For Coach of the Year you have two early candidates that just may still be candidates come the honour presentation in 2015. I sense Chris Jones has the direct approach of extreme accountability and I sense Mike O'Shea has a different approach of cooperation. Both types of styles work as it is about understanding the mentality and emotional make-up of your team to get the most out of them. As much as Winnipeg is for real so is Edmonton. Thursday night's game this week - Edmonton at Winnipeg - will say a lot again as one team will move to 4-0 and atop of the West Division. Edmonton has two impressive aspects of football right now. The duo of Odell Willis and Marcus Howard just may be the best pass-rushing duo in CFL football right now. That's true especially in the fourth quarter where concentration can waver and legs get fatigued for an opposition. The Edmonton defensive ends, however, do not waver and do not lose concentration. You have to think as long as they stay healthy both are going to be effective all year. Their offence also impressed with Jonathan White as a running back. Excellent in pass-rush blitz pick up and had three crushing blocks throughout the game and an emotional runner. You could tell when he finished a run he wanted more. It's early, yes, but nonetheless impressive.

With Ottawa, well, the word that comes to mind is logical. You see moments of professional polish and moments of amateur action. As the season moves on you will see the polish shine more and more. Toronto needs to be respectful as they can be beat in Ottawa this Friday for the Redblacks' opener.

And yes, Toronto. What an oddball season so far. A 24-point loss to begin the season, followed by a 33-point win and then Saturday's 19-point loss. Tough to figure out. Calgary after two games does look like the best team right now but as we all know right now is always changing. I was curious to see how Bo Levi Mitchell would play without the pressure of Drew Tate wanting his job. He played better than he ever has and will in all likelihood repeat the performance again and again for the near and distant future. Matt Walter and Anthony Parker also played well, not dominant but without Jon Cornish, Maurice Price and Nik Lewis someone had to step up and I thought they did. Not sure which is the better football factory for CFL players: Laval, McMaster, University of Manitoba or the University of Calgary, the previous home of Parker and Walter? The big football evaluation point is Calgary's depth was tested and it definitely passed the test.

And finally, BC at Saskatchewan in an early desperation game. As much as Rider loyalty will not want to do it, give BC some respect for their 26-13 win. They had to have it and they got it done. Pressure in football is an interesting discussion subject. To think that Dave Braley did talk to Wally Buono who talked to Mike Benevides who talked to his assistant coaches who talked to the players is very likely. And the urgency conversation in terms of subject matter was remarkably simple: "We cannot go 0-3". Very simple.

Tough choice this week for offensive player of week. You have Willy and his second come-from-behind win. You have Adarious Bowman and his dominant game including three touchdowns. You have Mitchell and a display of youthful confidence in a road win in Toronto. And Andrew Harris, the BC Lions running back. In what has to be the best game of his career, he produced 138 yards rushing and 65 yards passing and put himself back on top as the Lions best running back. I vote Andrew Harris.



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