How the 2015 season played out:
The 2015 season went south very quickly. They were 3-3 through six weeks before spiraling out of control to a 2-10 finish. The Bombers ranked last in team offence and second last in team defense for the season. Drew Willy was set to have a productive season with a 68.6% completion percentage through eight games, but then he suffered a tibial plateau fracture while also suffering a partial tear of the posterior cruciate ligament. When Willy went down, so did Winnipeg’s season hopes.
It’s been a rough go in Winnipeg since their Grey Cup appearance of 2011, and the years since have also been bleak, but things can only go up from here for Blue Bomber fans.
Additions and Subtractions
The Blue Bombers were able to make a big splash, signing two big CFL free agents. First they signed star running back Andrew Harris, who is one of the CFL’s premier running backs, especially with the retirement of Jon Cornish. The team also signed CFL veteran Weston Dressler, who had played the past eight seasons for the rival Saskatchewan Roughriders – racking up 50 touchdowns and 7,792 yards of total offense. These players will no doubt be a key addition in an offense that was among the league’s worst last season.
Veteran CFL coach Paul LaPolice – who had spent the past few years being an on-air talent at TSN – has finally made his return to the CFL sidelines as an offensive coordinator. LaPolice was head coach of the Blue Bombers the year that they last played in the Grey Cup, which was a loss in 2011 to the BC Lions.
Winnipeg let go of established receiver Clarence Denmark and and defensive tackle Bryant Turner. Denmark had established himself as a reliable receiver since signing in 2011 and will no doubt be missed in the offense.
2016 Season Thoughts
The hiring of Mike O’Shea in 2014 was supposed to be the beginning of an organizational overhaul. Two years of disappointment so far with Mike O’Shea at the helm may discourage some, but they are building towards something. Before going down last season, Drew Willy was having a fantastic season. The quarterback will continue to progress, and bringing back Paul LaPolice should improve the offensive side of the ball – defense might still be one of the weak points on this team.
It’s hard to see this team doing any worse than they did last year. They should be able to improve on last year’s record but it will be tough to compete with the likes of Calgary, Edmonton and BC in the Western Division.