Once again, it wasn't the night the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' offence was looking for. But there may have been one silver lining in the team's 25-22 loss to the Toronto Argonauts on Wednesday - the ground game.
In a year of breakout running backs, former Indianapolis Colt and Washington Redskin Chad Simpson may be the next big one. But Simpson said he isn't looking to be just the next Kory Sheets or Chevon Walker.
"I'm trying to be Chad Simpson," he said after the the game. "I don't want to be those guys; I'm a totally different guy. I want to bring Chad Simpson to the CFL."
Simpson had to convince head coach Paul LaPolice he was sufficiently recovered from a leg injury and ready to go prior to the game. And LaPolice voiced his praise for him after the game, calling the first-year player a talented back. Simpson rushed for 91 yards on 15 carries while adding 31 receiving yards. The 26-year-old also opened up the passing game for Winnipeg with Toronto's defence keying on him more. And while his stats were impressive, Simpson graded his game solely on the team's final result.
"I was brought here to win," he said. "That's why I came, to help the team. It's about winning and we didn't do that so my performance wasn't good enough."
Simpson set the single-season rushing record at Morgan State with 1,402 yards before signing with the Colts in 2008. In 25 games over two seasons with Indianapolis, the Miami native rushed for 147 yards and three touchdowns. He also played three games with the Redskins in 2010 returning kicks prior to signing with the Bombers this off-season.
Wednesday was Simpson's first game of the season after missing the first three with an unspecified leg injury. He said there were both positives and negatives to the long layoff – he had much fresher legs than most of his teammates coming off a short week, but also had trouble jumping right into a full workload after the layoff. The Bombers held him out for some offensive series' in the second half, but Simpson said it was nothing serious.
"I'm good - I was cramped up a bit," he explained. "Being out for three weeks then getting fed like that."
"(It was because of) cramping, and not being used to all the carries in a while."
Simpson said moving forward, he is ready to contribute on a regular basis and still thinks the Bombers have time to right the ship.
"Losing four games is not good," said Simpson. "We're going to pull it together; I saw progress, and that's the most important thing. And it's not too late; we're still chasing that Grey Cup."