Film. It’s all about film for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
They can’t tell us what actually transpired at Football Follies Field in Fort Garry on Friday night until they’ve examined the video evidence.
Oh, sure, they know they took their fifth misstep in this 2015 Canadian Football League crusade, a 27-20 beatdown at the gnarly hands of the Toronto Argonauts. They know they had a greenhorn, Robert Marve, at quarterback. They know the punt coverage unit allowed A.J. Jefferson to skedaddle 70 yards with a Liram Hajrullahu hoof.
It’s the how and why that they don’t know. Not until they “see the film.” It’s always film at 11 for the Bombers.
Listen to Mike O’Shea, the head coach, explain the events early in the fourth quarter, when Jefferson romped to the house, a momentum-swaying play that tilted the field in favor of the Boatmen.
“Until I watch the film,” he advised curious news scavengers, “I can’t tell ya. I imagine…I imagine some of our guys got blocked. That’s what usually happens.”
So what you’re telling us, Mike, is that you don’t have a clue. Is that it?
“Until I see the actual punt return, it’s hard to say what exactly happened on that particular play,” he confirmed.
How comforting to know the coach didn’t see the game’s most influential play.
I can’t recall Cal Murphy or Mike Riley being such cop-outs, but, then, they were usually on the high end of the scoreboard and winning Grey Cups, so they seldom had to explain opposing players scampering through their defenders like a scalded dog.
Whatever, we now lend our ears to Marve, the first-time starter who was adequate with gusts up to very efficient as a substitute for the wounded Drew (Wonky) Willy.
Tell us, Robert, as far as baptism’s under fire go, how do you rate this experience?
“Gotta watch the film to see,” he said.
Fine. What about the game plan the coaching staff gave you? Kind of conservative, wasn’t it?
“I’ve gotta watch the film,” he said. “It’s so hard to tell. I gotta really watch the film. I don’t wanna say somethin’ then watch the film and have no idea, so I think I can give a better assessment of that tomorrow or the next day.”
Any thoughts about going into the shotgun formation on that third-and-one gamble in the final minute of the game?
“I gotta watch the film on it. I know I keep saying the same thing, but that’s the reality of it.”
This being just your first start, you’ve got plenty of time and room for career growth.
“I gotta keep playing. I gotta keep playing. I don’t wanna say I played great, I don’t wanna say I played bad…I don’t know. I gotta watch the film.”
OK, we’ll mark that down as another yes, no, maybe so. Now, the Bombers get the bye next week as the CFL season lurches toward the halfway mark, when the fun actually begins. Any plans while the club is on the down low?
“Keep watching film,” he said.
I swear, these guys watch more film than Martin Scorsese. Not that it helps much, because they’re 3-5 and riding a toboggan. When next we see the Bombers at Football Follies Field in Fort Garry (Aug. 29 when the Calgary Stampeders come calling), it’s likely that they’ll be looking up at every outfit in the West Division with the exception of their Prairie cousins from Saskatchewan, the Roughriders.
I believe we can safely assume that by then Marve will have rid himself of the pesky flu bug that pestered him vs. the Argos. Oh, yes, the poor guy played sick, even if his play wasn’t.
“Were you vomiting today? Sorry to be so personal…” one wit asked the Bombers QB.
“Ya, a little bit,” he confirmed. “What can you do? We scored some points while I was throwing up, so…”
Ugh. That’s one film none of us needs to see.
Patti Dawn Swansson has been writing about Winnipeg sports for more than 40 years, longer than any living being. Do not, however, assume that to mean she harbors a wealth of sports knowledge or that she’s a jock journalist of award-winning loft. It simply means she is old and comfortable at a keyboard (although arthritic fingers sometimes make typing a bit of a chore) and she apparently doesn’t know when to quit. Or she can’t quit.
She is most proud of her Q Award, presented to her in 2012 for her scribblings about the LGBT community in Victoria, B.C., and her induction into the Manitoba Sportswriters & Sportscasters Association Media Roll of Honour.