TORONTO — The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced on Monday they have fired head coach Corey Chamblin, and vice president of football operations and general manager Brendan Taman.
The Roughriders are coming off a 35-13 loss to Ottawa on Sunday that dropped their record to 0-9. They are the only winless club in the CFL this season and sit in the West Division basement — six points behind the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who are 3-6.
“We are not meeting our expectations or our standards on the field and these changes were necessary to move us forward,” said Riders president and CEO Craig Reynolds.
Ahead of this weekend’s Banjo Bowl at Investors Group Field, fans of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers can take in Fan Appreciation Day.
On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., fans can mingle with mascots Buzz and Boomer, observe the Bombers’ walk-through practice, get player autographs and walk on the turf for family-friendly activities.
Free parking will be available in the “U” lot across from IGF on Chancellor Matheson Road.
The Bombers host the Saskatchewan Roughriders in a rematch Sunday afternoon. Kickoff is at 3 p.m.
WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Blue Bombers evened the score with their prairie rivals from Regina on Sunday afternoon with a 25-13 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the tenth edition of the Banjo Bowl in front of a sellout crowd of 33,500.
The victory — Winnipeg’s first at Investors Group Field — squares the all-time Banjo Bowl series at 5-5, and splits the home-and-home that began last week with Winnipeg’s 48-25 loss in Saskatchewan.
Blue Bombers faithful have stuck with this team through thick and thin this year, all despite going winless for over two months and compiling a shaggy 2-8 record.
“We’ve got incredible fans, and I’ve always said; they’ll let you know whenever you’re not doing what you need to get done,” said veteran left tackle Glenn January. “This is a community that demands the best from us, and rightfully so. They support us through thick and thin, and we know that it’s been a long while since this club has been able to reach the ultimate goal. And this is nowhere near a Grey Cup victory, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction for this club. It’s had some turmoil and change up to this point, and this is nothing more than a first step and hopefully we all understand that and continue to prepare the way that we did to help get this win.”
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall took the first shot across the bow Friday ahead of this weekend’s Banjo Bowl.
With a banjo in hand (naturally), Wall took a jab at the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in a 19-second YouTube clip as they prepare for a rematch Sunday against the visiting Roughriders.
“Oh, hi. I was just playing the banjo,” Wall said as he turns to the camera after strumming a few chords. “You know, it’s funny. I practice a lot… it turns out I’m just not very good at it. Kind of like the Bombers — at football.”
The video was well on its way to going viral, with those on Twitter forwarding the link to Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger asking for his response.
Hall wore a Gene Makowsky jersey to do his trash-talking. The offensive lineman spent 17 seasons and his entire CFL career with the Roughriders before retiring in 2012.
The Bombers dropped their ninth-straight Labour Day Classic last week in Regina, suffering a 48-25 loss to their green and white rivals. Sunday’s game is played amid a weekend full of Banjo Bowl-related activities around the city. Kickoff at Investors Group Field is at 3 p.m.
REGINA — For a moment, it appeared the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were about to silence their doubters.
By the final gun, the Saskatchewan Roughriders were 8-1 for the first time in franchise history, and the 1-8 Bombers had dropped their ninth-straight Labour Day Classic in Regina by a score of 48-25 in front of an expanded capacity sellout crowd of 44,910 at Mosaic Stadium.
“If you look at the positives, our offence played better as a unit. I think (offensive coordinator) Marcel (Bellefeuille) made some great adjustments during the game,” said Winnipeg head coach Tim Burke. “I thought Justin Goltz played good until the end of the game when he threw the two picks, because we were in the game. And he contributed a lot towards those 25 points.”
At the half, the Blue Bombers led 18-14. But Goltz’s pair of costly throwing errors in the fourth quarter — both of which Saskatchewan capitalized on with majors as part of a 24-point quarter — sealed Winnipeg’s fate.
WINNIPEG — It was a chance for some serious redemption after one of the worst losses in franchise history, but the Winnipeg Blue Bombers came up just short in the 2012 Banjo Bowl, losing 25-24 to the Saskatchewan Roughriders on a last-second field goal.
And while costly penalties at key times definitely hindered the Blue and Gold, a game-changing decision made by rookie head coach Tim Burke came with just under a minute to play.
Leading 23-22 with 55 seconds remaining in the game, the Bombers elected to punt the ball from the Riders’ own 36-yard line, in an attempt to pin Saskatchewan deep with precious time dwindling.
Punter Mike Renaud ended up kicking it nowhere near the sideline and through the end zone for the single to make it 24-22 Winnipeg. It immediately gave the Riders the ball on the 35, where they marched 43 yards on four quick plays to set up a 40-yard Sandro DeAngelis field goal for the victory.
“I’ll be honest. In retrospect, I should have kicked the field goal,” said Burke of his critical decision. “It was 42 yards with the wind. I should have just kicked it. I played it too conservative.”
“The way our defence was playing I thought we’d hold in there.”
Watch post-game reaction:
And while the Bombers held in there with a team that walloped them 52-0 just seven days earlier in the Labour Day Classic in Regina, the offence is still struggling, having not scored a touchdown in nine quarters of football.
“I wouldn’t say we did a good job. We improved in some areas,” said veteran left tackle Glenn January. “Regardless of their record, their defence is fairly good. They’re one of the better pass-rushing teams in the league… I felt like we did a pretty good job in some crucial situations, but you know, it’s obviously not enough. Whenever we get in the red zone, we have to get touchdowns and not field goals.”
On paper, the offence appears effective as quarterback Joey Elliott went 19-of-33 for 241 yards in his sixth career CFL start, while running back Chad Simpson rushed nine times for 74 yards for a very solid 8.2 yards-per-carry average, and added 29 yards receiving.
The Winnipeg defence folded when needed the most, but put up a relatively decent stat line despite allowing backup quarterback Drew Willy and the Riders offence to total nearly 300 yards of offence after starter Darian Durant left the game late in the opening quarter with a hip injury.
Winnipeg collected six sacks (Jason Vega; 3, Kenny Mainor; 2), five tackles for a loss, and a Brandon Stewart interception.
Mainor could have completed the hat trick along with Vega, but chose to take a bewildering penalty by tossing Willy into the turf after driving him back nearly 20 yards on his feet.
“We just can’t have this anymore,” said Burke of his team’s continued issues with committing costly and avoidable penalties. “Maybe we’ve got to sit some guys who don’t have the brains enough handle these situations.”
“You’re sacking the quarterback. ‘I can’t hear the whistle.’ Well, no sh–- Sherlock. It’s so loud you can’t hear the whistle. But you’ve got to be smart enough — you can’t drill the guy into the ground anyway.”
Winnipeg’s season looks lost at this point, sitting at a league-worst 2-8 and deep in the cellar of the CFL East Division.
REGINA, Sask. — There must be something in the Regina water.
Or maybe the late August and early September field stubble burning in the central prairies just smokes out any of the plans the Winnipeg Blue Bombers try to put together every year in an attempt to end their epidemic drought of success in the Labour Day Classic.
And it seems to get worse year after year, as the Bombers dropped their eighth consecutive at Mosaic Stadium by a ridiculous 52-0 margin to the West Division’s last-placed Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday afternoon.
“They know we haven’t won here since 2004, so they’re fully aware of the struggles we’ve had,” said veteran receiver Terrence Edwards of educating his younger Winnipeg teammates of what was to be expected in the biggest non-playoff game of the year. “We want to be the team that breaks the streak, but we’ll never win a game again if we play like that.”
Truer words were never spoken.
Winnipeg was absolutely atrocious from the get-go — outplayed by the Riders in utterly every facet known to the game of football. Beyond scrounging together a measly 102 yards of offence — 32 coming on the final drive of the game when it was already an embarrassment — Saskatchewan blocked punts, returning one for a touchdown, recovered bobbled Bombers punt returns, ran, threw, caught, out-hit and out-played their opponents in every which way imaginable.
“I can’t think of any aspect that we won,” said Winnipeg head coach Tim Burke after his debut as a professional bench boss. “We’ve got a lot better talent than our record shows. We have got to find a way to dig down deep and pull out the best performances we can… week after week after week.”
“Each individual has got to find a way to play the best game of their life — every week.”
It sounds like a tall order. And it is.
But when it comes down to it, this team just can’t keep things close in the majority of their trips to Regina. Regardless who’s coaching.
Saskatchewan handed Winnipeg their hat last year, 27-7, when the Riders held a lowly 1-7 record to the first place Bombers’ 7-1. And while Winnipeg won 17-4 way back in 2004 — the last time they fired their head coach (Dave Richie) mid-season — they’ve lost the 2005 through 2010 matchups by an average of 13.8 points.
“I can tell you as a person who’s has played for both teams in the Labour Day Classic, and winning when I was in Saskatchewan,” said veteran Winnipeg tackle Glenn January. “It is really driven home that it’s a big game. So you’re going to get the best game from the team playing against you. You’re going to get the best game from the fans as far as just ravenous, down-your-throat.”
“When you have a young team, sometimes it’s just hard to adjust.”
Winnipeg quarterback Joey Elliott finished the game 9-of-19 for 61 yards and an interception. He was replaced by Alex Brink in the fourth quarter and went 5-of-7 for 35 yards.
Bombers running back Chad Simpson carried the ball eight times for 34 yards; a respectable 4.3 yards-per-carry. He also lead the team with four receptions.
Winnipeg fumbled the ball three times, losing it twice. They also turned the ball over on downs twice. Saskatchewan committed zero turnovers.
Saskatchewan completed 26 first downs to Winnipeg’s 10.
The Riders held possession for nearly twice as long as the Bombers; 39:06 to 20:54.
Saskatchewan net offence; 422 yards. Winnipeg net offence; 102 yards.
The Blue Bombers were last shutout in 1969. It was a 33-0 loss in the season opener at home vs. Edmonton.
Defensive end Odell Willis has been traded by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in exchange for Saskatchewan’s second round pick (8th overall) in the 2012 CFL Draft, their fourth round pick (23rd overall) in the 2012 CFL Draft, a conditional draft pick in the 2013 CFL Draft, and a conditional fifth round pick in the 2013 CFL Draft.
“We would like to thank Odell for passionate intensity and contributions to our football club the past two and a half seasons,” said vice-president of football operations and GM Joe Mack. “However, it became evident through a combination of team and staff interactions, and several one-on-one discussions, that Odell no longer wanted to be a part of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Therefore, we felt it would be the best interest of both Odell and the organization to facilitate this trade and proceed in a different direction.”
Willis played two full seasons with the Bombers after being acquired in a trade with the Calgary Stampeders in 2009.
Besides bringing your banjo to Sunday’s Blue Bombers/Roughriders rematch, take a look in your pantry for a non-perishable food item to donate to Winnipeg Harvest.
The food bank will be on location at Canad Inns Stadium prior to the afternoon kick off collecting food and cash donations as part of the “Bring a Tin for the Bin” campaign.
The most wanted food items to help fight hunger in Manitoba include …
Canned Fish, (tuna & salmon) and Poultry (chicken & turkey) in water
Baby Food and Formula
Canned Vegetables or Fruit
Canned Stew, Chili, Brown Beans
Canned Pasta/Spaghetti Sauce
Sunday’s Banjo Bowl game between Winnipeg and Saskatchewan is at noon. Tickets are already sold out, but you can still catch starting QB Steven Jyles and the rest of the Blue and Gold on TSN and CJOB.
The game may be on Sunday, but an entire weekend of festivities are planned.
See the complete schedule below:
Friday, September 10th
Upperdeck Sports Bar, McPhillips Station Casino
6pm Start Time
Blue Bomber Players in attendance
Blue Lightning Dance Team Autograph Calendar Session
Blue Bomber Exclusive Autographed Prize Draws
Food & Beverage Promotions
Half Time Contestants for Sept 12th chosen from those in attendance
Hosted by Power 97’s Wheeler
Saturday, September 11th
Canad Inns Stadium
“Family Day” brought to you by Manitoba Lotteries. Enter through Gate 1 beginning at 9:30am.
Blue Bomber Walk-Through at 10:15am
President’s BBQ – Free Hotdogs to the first 500 fans served by Blue Bomber President, Jim Bell
Dunk-a-Roughrider Dunk Tank and Free Pictures taken with the Banjo Bowl – donations accepted for United Way
Bomber Store – Banjo Bowl Specials all weekend long up to 50% off
Live remote, Power 97 on location from 11am-2pm
Blue Bomber Autograph Session on field following walk-through
Football Drills and Skills for all ages on field
McDonald’s Inflatable’s and Mascot
Free children’s face painting
Blue Bomber Mascots
Sunday, September 12th
7th Annual Manitoba Lotteries Banjo Bowl – SOLD OUT!
Doors open at 10:30am for Season Ticket Holders/11am General Public
First 15,000 fans receive a Free Blue Bomber/Manitoba Lotteries Car Flag
Gibson’s Finest Fan Experience set up by Gate 6
Winnipeg Police Band playing on the west side prior to kickoff
CJOB broadcasting live in front of the Bomber Store
Power 97’s Power Chair Greeters
Buskers around the stadium prior to kickoff including banjo players
Manitoba Lotteries Half Time Show – Hoedown Showdown