WINNIPEG — They’re bruised, battered and badly in need of a fix for an ailing offence.
It was bad enough that coach Tim Burke skipped a planned practice for his Winnipeg Blue Bombers Monday.
The Bombers have lost linebacker Terrell Parker for the rest of the season with a torn knee ligament (ACL). The second-year pro injured his knee in Saturday’s 25-20 loss to Hamilton.
Defensive back Desia Dunn will miss at least two weeks with a hamstring injury.
Receiver Chris Matthews, running back Anthony Woodson, defensive back Alex Suber, defensive end Alex Hall and offensive lineman Glenn January will all skip practice when it resumes Tuesday.
They’re hurting but Burke says he expects most will play Friday.
The Bombers have a short week to prepare for the Toronto Argonauts and Burke says Toronto is likely the toughest team they will have faced so far this season.
"I’d rather have them be healthy and fresh going into the game," he said.
When they do practice he said they’ll start by focusing more on preparing for Toronto rather than going at it hard against each other.
The Bombers aren’t the only team with problems early in this CFL season. Every team in the CFL East currently sits at 1-2.
But Burke says they have a lot of work to do to fix an offence that is clearly struggling if they want more wins.
"I know everybody likes to focus on the quarterback but there’s a lot of things going wrong," he said.
He ticked off wide receivers who aren’t moving the way they should and an offensive line that isn’t learning from its mistakes.
As for critics who suggested the Bombers rely more on their ground game in their most recent 25-20 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Burke says forget it.
"We had five possessions in the third quarter. We opened three of the five possessions with runs and we gained a grand total of minus four yards."
Quarterback Buck Pierce was sacked six times and the one bright spot was the Bombers managed to curb the turnover problem that plagued their offence in their first two games.
"I’d rather not have a quarterback get sacked so many times," said the coach when asked what he’d like to cure next.
"I’d want to hit the open receivers. That’s usually a pretty good way to start."
Burke suggested there will be roster moves if things don’t change and he suggested he’s already planning one, although he refused to name the player.
"Everybody’s got to pick up their game on the offensive side of the ball (and) it’s not just one guy it’s many," he said.
"Everybody’s got to take responsibility for their actions."
On the plus side, with Dunn out, Burke said Johnny Sears has now fully recovered and will be able to dress Friday against Toronto.