Believe it or not, despite another loss over the weekend, a 32-21 defeat to Calgary in which they committed a mind-numbing total of eight turnovers, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have actually had some positive things develop in their favour in recent weeks.
And when you have gone through a year like the Bombers were forced to endure, you embrace anything that represents a positive.
The Bomber offence has definitely been trending in the right direction. In the last four games, two of them victories, the Bombers have averaged 24 first downs and 400 yards of offence per game, a dramatic improvement from earlier this season.
In the first 11 outings of the season those averages were 18 first downs and 330 yards. It's a definite sign that offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, in his first year in the CFL, is starting to master what works in the Canadian game.
The improvement of Winnipeg's offensive line has played a pivotal role in the improved offensive production. Justin Sorenson, in his first year at center, Chris Greaves and Steve Morley at guard, and tackles Glen January and Shannon Boatman have developed some continuity and chemistry.
Quarterbacks are better protected, which leads to better passing proficiency, and there have also been better running lanes, which has helped Chad Simpson inch closer to the 1,000-yard rushing mark. Simpson, who missed the first two games of the season due to injury, has 867 yards along the ground, averaging 5.9 yards per carry.
The man who spent three years south of the border with Indianapolis and Washington has been one of the most impressive newcomers in the Bomber lineup. Simpson is not eligible for CFL rookie of the year honors, but wide receiver Chris Mathews is, and it says here, Mathews is a lock to win the Eastern nomination as top rookie.
Bob Irving has covered the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for CJOB Radio in Winnipeg since 1973. Bob is the Sports Director at CJOB and is in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, reporters division. Follow Bob on Twitter @BobIrvingCJOB
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|