We will be back
It is the strangest feeling when the season is over. Although, the celebration will linger on for the B.C. Lions through December, the Bomber players are suddenly finding themselves sitting quietly somewhere shaking their head in disbelief and trying to make sense of their loss.
I have had the privilege through my career to play in four Grey Cups. Thankfully, I was able to be part of two championship teams but I have also experienced the lonely feeling of loss twice.
The pain that you feel when you come so close to capturing the Grey Cup, only to have the opportunity vanish in an instance, is both sudden and devastating.
Football is an emotional game. Those that understand how to play with emotion are often great and yet those that play with great emotion also run the risk of experiencing great loss.
At the end of the 99th Grey Cup I saw something that I had never seen before and yet it embodied the feeling of loss unlike anything I could attempt to put into words.
As the game concluded -- while the B.C. Lions were on the stage hoisting the Grey Cup in celebration -- Winnipeg Blue Bombers receiver, Greg Carr stood motionless at the 20 yard line.
The entire Bomber team had vacated the field and headed to the locker room and yet Carr remained out on the field through the entire Grey Cup ceremony. I sat there shaking my head trying to figure out what was going through his mind.
It was as if he wanted to feel it all
. The hurt, the disappointment, the loss. He wanted to watch the championship ceremony to make sure that he remembered every detail of what he had envisioned for himself and his teammates but failed to attain. While the B.C. Lions celebrated, Greg Carr watched. While the Grey Cup was hoisted up in the air by the Lions, Carr soaked it all in.
This was supposed to be his day. That was supposed to be his team celebrating, but it wasn't and it hurt.
Greg Carr took it all
in and plans to store it all
away in his memory bank so that he will remember that he never wants to feel those emotions again, and it will motivate him through the entire off season and through the 2012 season.
Although the loss stings, those that are great will use the negative emotion to motivate themselves to do what is necessary to make the long journey to being a champion the following season.Buck Pierce must be better
Let's not forget the fact that this young Bomber team that steam rolled through the 2011 season was 4-14 last year. Even though their amazing turn around season did not conclude like they had anticipated, it was still an amazing turn around season.
Led by a defence that continually frustrated opposing quarterbacks week after week, the Bombers now have championship expectations heading into the 2012 season.
This season, both the B.C. Lions and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have taught us that there is a very fine line between losing and winning. The biggest question in my mind going into the offseason for the Bombers will be whether or not they feel that Buck Pierce is the quarterback that can bring a championship back to Winnipeg.
Although Pierce stayed healthy through more of the season this year than last, his health was continually a factor heading into each week.
Pierce is an aggressive quarterback who believes that he can make every play work. Unfortunately, not every play is going to work. A quarterback needs to listen to the clock ticking in his head and understand that after four seconds either the play has worked and the ball is delivered, or the defence has done a nice job and the play did not work, at which time he needs to hurl the ball into the first row of the stands and avoid the sack and the loss.
Pierce just doesn't listen to his internal clock. The fact that the Bomber offensive line gave up more sacks than any other offensive line this year has less to do with their lack of skill and more to do with the fact that Pierce held onto the ball too long.
The fact that Pierce threw more interceptions than any other quarterback in the CFL this year has less to do with the fact that he can't read coverages and more to do with the fact that he simply insists that he can force every play to be successful.
Buck Pierce did not play well in the Grey Cup game. In the biggest game of his life he threw the ball late and was simply off target on many of his throws resulting in only six first downs through three quarters of play.
Pierce threw for only 10 yards in the first quarter and only 20 yards in the third.
The offence of a young team will always take longer to gel than the defence will. The timing of an offence is critical in order to have success. Although Winnipeg's offence improved through the season, their ability to perform as a whole was consistently hindered by the fact that Pierce was unable to stay healthy.
Repetition is everything in football, especially for an offence. Pierce was unable to stay healthy enough to take the necessary number of snaps for the offence to evolve to the level they needed to.
The receiving corp of Greg Carr, Terrence Edwards and Clarence Denmark are as good as anyone else in the CFL. Sprinkle in a healthy Fred Reid at running back behind a solid offensive line and you have yourself a very good offence. The question is whether or not Buck Pierce is the right quarterback to bring it all together.
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