The answer to the rhetorical question above is - VERY!
Leave it at that but its quite apparent:
Big Blue have run out of 1st string players. Simple fact - their 2nd & 3rd string players are letting the side down.
Getting whip-sawed by a devastated Hamilton team last week was cause for alarm.
Seeing Hamilton get squashed by Montreal this weekend verifies just how badly the Bombers have fallen.
Bombers seem to have more than a o-line problem. O-line is mostly an average run-blocking unit, but little to no protection for a continually harassed Z Collaros, the world's greatest QB. Depth support on their D-line has gone to hell in a hand-basket. Playing squat DTs at the defensive end spot after Jackie Jeffcoat went down (again) was embarrassing to watch. Willy Jefferson was also stymied vs. an inferior Hamilton o-line.
Bomber linebacking is usually so disciplined and solid but its obvious their team leader Adam Bighill is playing a bit crippled and trying to do to much to fill the holes in the lineup. Bomber secondary ain't much better. Most inferior CFL QBs are racking up near 300, approaching 400 yds on this group. Guys are open by 5 to 10 yds sometimes. Thats NOT PERFORMANCE!
Bomber WRs and RBs now the strength of the team. And only Dalton Schon are in the T0P 8 CFL WRs.
The final tell will be next week vs. a hobbled & disgruntled Sask'n squad. If the Riders lay another beating on the Bombers it will not only be embarrassing it will be cause for the panic buttons to go off EVERYWHERE, not just the GM & Coaches but the CEO & most all but the lemmings fans.
I can't imagine the current Bomber squad even being competitive with Calgary in the Western Final. In fact, if the Bombers get squashed by Calgary next Friday, I can definitely see the Bombers losing out and finishing 12-6 and actually barfing up 1st in West and the huge home gate a western final would provide. In a strange way, its better the Bombers finish 2nd because it would be disheartening & heart-breaking to see the Bombers manhandled by the Cowboys at IGF.
Calgary has 4 losses now. If the Bombers fall off the turnip truck they'll have 6 losses. All Calgary has to do is work their way down the stretch and lose but one game to finish 1st.
If Bombers lose out and get squashed in the Western Final (by 20 pts or more) expect big changes in Winnipeg next season - including the possible departures of Willy Jefferson, Bighill & Hardrick retirements, movement of Brandon Alexander & Diedrich. Only non-moves will be Wad Miller staying on as CEO & Kyle Walters continuing on at GM.
Can definitely see Dan McManus moving on to GM another flailing team, other management moving on plus the big shocker of Mike O'Shea taking over from Paul 'Big Talk' LaPolice in Ottawa or O Steinauer in Hammy. Or the Winnipeg Blue Bombers could hold the Grey Cup for the 4th consecutive year???
Hold up there. You are making valid points (mostly). But take it for what it is. Dane Evans and probably the entire Ticats team played the game of their season at HOME against Winnipeg. The offence still put up 31 points. The defence had 2 more rookies in it secondary. With the bye week they should be improving and the front 7 should have a chip on its shoulder from how it was handled last week.
Winnipeg is the best team in the league. By much? No. They have weaknesses that can be exploited. But they have also showed that they rise up for the big games (BC and Calgary on the road on short weeks comes mind).
I agree that if we put up a stinker against Saskatchewan this week that it’s time to panic. Wasn’t time to panic after losing at home to Montreal and it still isn’t after losing to Hamilton.
There will be changes at the end of this year. We have an older team. But on the flip side we have been rostering thru so many defensive backs maybe that will be our strength next year.
Good points - the Bombers have shown vulnerabilities all season long, many of them in wins.
The loss to Hamilton was horrific. An emotionally fragile gunslinger (D Evans) picked us apart. Even Z-Man wasn't alert to the threat as Hammy's d-line guys were steam-rolling Hardick, Gray & Neufeld like foliage.
The loss to Montreal was basically a win but somehow Leggio lost his legs down the stretch. Als pushed the Bombers around but the Bombers were the superior squad on the day, again NOT BY MUCH.
That crazy-legged Sask'n QB, if he's on can ravage the Bomber D for an easy 300+, and if he's got Duke Williams back the Bombers are automatically in trouble. They'll just have to outscore Regina to secure the W - and prolly 1st in West at the same time - - - - although w/ Calgary surging and BC still ahead of Cal by 1 game, 1 lonely win might not be enough to secure 1st in west.
Ellingson seems to be coming to the end of the row. He's been in and out all season long. Must have chronic injuries. I also believe Taylor might be out for the season, too! Don't know much about Houston's injury - Wilson should be re-habbed but without practicing on a damaged pin, can he be in shape for the playoffs? Think not!
Calgary has a slightly tougher and more efficient group and now Lemon is eating people for fun.
If WF is played in Calgary I'll take Maier & Stamps 58%
If WF is played in Wpg I'll take Maier/Stamps 51%
Only wrench in the works is Rourke arriving early in BC. But nobody expects him back for regular season so BC prolly relegated to 3rd by defeault.
Here's the kicker:
If Rourke back for Western semi I'll actually favor the Lions over Stamps by 1.5, even if game is played in Calgary.
If WS played in Vancouver, I'll take Rourke/BC by 3.5
Lyle, you are being alarmist, in my opinion. At the start of the year I (and many others) would have been thrilled with Winnipeg going 14-4, which is a likely finishing record for them, being 12-2 at present. The Bombers certainly aren’t as dominant as last year even though they barely won the big game, unlike in 2019 when they crushed it. But they are still the class of the league and if anyone doesn’t think that the road to the Grey Cup isn’t going through Winnipeg they need to buy a new pipe.
Any simulation will tell you that the Bombers have a 90% or more chance of finishing first so I’m taking anything else off of the table. Until last night the Stamps hadn’t beaten any of the big boys head to head and I don’t see a reason why they would be able to beat Winnipeg. They played their most complete game of the year last night with a shout out to their defence, but stopping an unable to read the secondary Vernon Adams is a lot different than stopping Collaros.
I would not be surprised at all if injuries play a major factor in any playoff success this year and that to me is the biggest wildcard. Will many of the injured starters on a decimated Bombers team return? Will Rourke return? Who else will be injured, especially in the semi final game the Bombers won’t have to play? It looks like Calgary lost a starting O lineman for the year last night. I don’t think Saskatchewan is a factor without a competent O line or much in the way of discipline. I wouldn’t mind seeing them weave their way through the East and see them occupy the visitors dressing room for the Grey Cup. Even better if it would be against the Bombers.
In answer to the question you posed in the title of this thread, l am a glass half full kind of guy. The Bombers, like anyone else, are of course vulnerable. But they have the most depth of any team although too many new moving parts sometimes takes a toll. Let’s not forget that the Bombers have a huge mental edge over any team and virtually every fan in the land expects them to win close games when it counts. The Bombers will be thinking of how to win a close game and what they need to do if they are in one, while the opposition won’t be able to help but think, at least a little bit, of what they must do so as not to lose. The Bombers just know they are going to win when it counts and no other team can possibly have that mindset. That doesn’t guarantee victory but it sure helps.
If the Bombers somehow manage to lose to Saskatchewan this week that would be cause for more concern, but not cause to hit the panic button just yet. It will just mean that more work is needed. I don’t think anyone would say that the Bombers have peaked yet this year and why should they want to peak before the playoffs? O’Shea is best at the psychological part of the game (on field decisions not so much) so I have no doubt that they will be ready to play the Western final, the only meaningful game likely left for them before the Grey Cup.
I am not as concerned as you are about a 12-2 team that is still the team to beat. I would also say again that the best way to objectively gauge their chances of success is to follow what the oddsmakers think. Respectfully, they are likely to be more accurate than any fans or writers and I don’t see the odds on the Bombers winning it all moving at present.
Wow, what a regurgitated mess that was to read. You didn't mention Richie Hall once in that meandering thought process. The system they play is more likely the problem. If not for a finger they would not be repeat champions. Ticats marched down in the last drive to kick a game tying field goal and lose by a spurious holding call in OT. Never saw that happen, ever. The reason they lost to HAM. and Mont. Was because they put pressure on Zack. Because of blitz packages. The Bombers rarely blitz and when they do I'ts 50/50 or less they get to the QB. they also give the receivers way too much of a cushion because the mantra is don't give up the big play. But the big plays cone in 10 plays that tire out your D and end in a game clinching TD instead of presurring the QB and getting hhe ball back. Ham. Lost to Mon. Because of stupid calls by the OC . Going on 3rd and 4 at midfield and throwing an incomplete pass at the 2 and settling for a field goal. Just like Buck putting Prukop in on 2nd and 6 and then punting against Hamilton. Why isnt anyone talking about the dumb decisions by the OC'S and DC'S.
even after their blip against the cats (yes i just call it a blip lol), i still find the idea of using the word “vulnerable” in the same sentence as “winnipeg” ridiculous, unless we’re discussing their opponents.
perhaps their only vulnerability is they are dependent on their starting QB a la BC Lions, and well, losing Collaros at this point in the season would likely be as devastating as losing Rourke, despite their place in the standings.
I think with all their starters in tow, the Bombers are easily the best in league; not by a galaxy but maybe a couple moonshots. However, with guys like Hardrick, Bighill, Jeffcoat, Alexander, Ellingson, etc. running on fumes the Bombers are vulnerable to almost any CFL team who puts on their rubber boots and makes hell pay.
Collaros has consistently been under siege the entire season - even when the Big Blue had more starting soldiers on guard. Their defense consistently gives up big yards on pass plays and have been semi-consistently gored by upscale heavy-footed power-runners.
So no matter how you want to frame it - the Bombers, especially with a huge cast of injured & crippled performers will be vulnerable down the stretch.
The Hamilton bombing was a tell-tale sign; should Sask'n run the bombers off IGF, I'd say its very possible the Bombers might not win another match this season.
The biggest worry for the bombers is the potent and ever danger the Stamps posses to be threat in the west final.
That being said the team may have been guilty of reading their press clippings before kick off last week vs the Ticats
Not an excuse, Winnipeg lost games going in to their bye week. Bags packed, travel plans made.
I see Bombers winning 3 more, Sask, Elk(s) & BC depending if Nathan returns for the final game maybe all 4.
Again I don’t share your pessimism. The Bombers have two more byes before the Western Final and presumably some of their wounded will eventually be back and they also will have one extra week to heal than any other team in the West.
Only one professional football team in modern history has gone undefeated. I personally had the Bombers going anywhere from 12-6 to 14-4 at the start of the year. Not all defeats suffered are the same. I personally think that is easier for any team to bounce back from a disastrous game like the one against Hamilton than the game they had won but gifted to Montreal. Personally, my major concern with the Bombers of late that I think needs to be fixed is their sudden penchant for turning the ball over. We can’t expect to give up six turnovers in the Western Final again and win. That occurred only because the Bombers dominated the rest of the game and they are not as dominant as last year.
As they say, all teams get paid to play and it just goes to show that if you are not at your best any given game you can lose to anyone. I had said earlier that the Hamilton game might provide a good lesson to the Bombers before the home stretch. It wouldn’t surprise me if they are a wee bit angry and blew out Saskatchewan again this week.
Actually, the management & on-field chemistry of the Bombers is a team that will remain stoic, even if they see the Titanic sinking while they're on-board.
People like O'Shea, Walters, Pierce, Wad Miller don't panic because its in their charter NOT TO.
However, you can be sure that below the smirks, guffaws & we got control of our destiny remarks, should be Bombers get barged by the Green Riders, there will be massive panic - BUT ALL BELOW THE SURFACE!
O'Shea has shown a lot of crafty team management in his time in Winnipeg. The other thing he has done is to make sure his first string guys come back from injury in prime A1 condition and never rushes guys back into the lineup.
So as long as they can make it to a home West Final with who they have playing - they will do that. But don't expect you won't see those first string guys back for the Finals and the GC.....