Following Daniel Alfredsson's "Probably not" moment in the annals of self-deprecating statements made about one's own team, Winnipeg Blue Bombers' head coach Tim Burke made some rather depressing comments before Thursday's preseason clash with Hamilton. Burke told Bob Irving of CJOB and CFL.ca that he was planning to play mostly rookies, and that he didn't expect the game to turn out well on the scoreboard:
The ever candid Burke said, "We could get blasted in this game and I hope our fans don't put too much stock into the final score. Our intent is to evaluate the newcomers and make sure the vets are healthy when there are points at stake in the standings."
Burke may not make it onto a list of great motivational football coaches, but he's a pretty good prophet. The Bombers promptly went out and gave up 35 points while scoring none—and that was just before half. Their nadir came just seconds before the half, when Winnipeg drove to the Hamilton three with 15 seconds left and had a chance to get on the board. Quarterback Justin Goltz promptly threw an incomplete pass, though, and he followed that up with an interception that Tiger-Cats' rookie defensive back Ray Brown returned 114 yards for a half-ending touchdown. Whether it was the team's inexperience showing or Burke's less-than-high-expectations triggering worse play, things certainly didn't go well for the Bombers in the first two quarters of play. (Update: They didn't get better later, either, as the team lost 52-0.) That motivated Winnipeg fans and media to do a little blasting of their own on Twitter:
For those of you keeping track at home, the Bombers have been outscored 59-6 in the pre-season thus far. Two quarters to go. Wheeeee!— Paul Wiecek (@PaulWiecek) June 21, 2013
Maybe it's a good thing the #bombers game isn't televised. Ouch!
— Mathew Hall (@hardballhall) June 21, 2013
Show me someone not concerned about the Bombers after this pre-season display and I'll show you an idiot.
— Alex Howe (@AlexHoweWPG) June 21, 2013
I know it's preseason & Bomber backups/training camp fodder vs Ticat starters, but this just stinks. At least scotch is good. — Tim Hodge (@BlueandGoldWPG) June 21, 2013
When considered together with the underwhelming 24-6 performance they put in during the first preseason game, it hasn't been a good start to the year for Burke and the Bombers. Of course, he's partly right: preseason scores don't really matter, and seeing how young players perform under game conditions is always important. Still, with the first unit on both sides of the ball getting little preseason action, it will be interesting to see if they're able to do better once the season kicks off in Winnipeg next Thursday. If they don't, Burke might be blasted as well.