THE CANADIAN PRESS
WINNIPEG – With just seven weeks remaining in the 2012 season, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will need to use every ounce of leadership and effort they have if they hope to contend for the post-season.
The Bombers will have a healthy Buck Pierce back at quarterback on Friday, as he looks to jumpstart his offence after a lengthy absence.
Having been on the sidelines for the past 10 weeks, Pierce wasn't prepared to make any bold predictions about the Bombers ability to get back in the playoff hunt.
"We haven't showed maturity in certain situations. Until we do that that's tough to answer," he said.
"Until we show that we can move on from being undisciplined at times and all that stuff, I think that's going to be a question mark."
The Bombers will also be looking to bounce back on the defensive side of the ball, and are counting on some veteran leadership to direct them down the path to success.
All-star linebacker Jovon Johnson says with all the player changes, the defence just has no chemistry this season. Last season's "Swaggerville" defence was one of the best in the CFL and Johnson was named the league's outstanding defensive player.
"Defences in this league are what makes the teams go, so if you don't have chemistry on defence it's going to be a long season," he said
"Right now we've just got to get better, each aspect of the game."
The biggest ray of sunshine for Winnipeg is that fans seem to keep coming out. The Bombers have had sellouts or near-sellouts for every home game.
Despite his team's struggles, Interim Winnipeg head coach Tim Burke hasn't lost his sense of humour at least.
"Certainly there shouldn't be any overconfidence at this point," he said Thursday.
"We've had very good practices this week, so it's a matter of what team shows up tomorrow."
Hamilton, meanwhile, snapped a streak of its own when it pounded Edmonton 51-8. The Eskimos are the other team on Winnipeg's short win list.
"I hope it makes us feel better about ourselves, I know that, and that usually makes you have more confidence," said Hamilton coach George Cortez.
"They say winning solves all problems...We are disappointed we don't have more wins and we are looking to get some now."
The Bombers capitalized on turnovers to beat Hamilton 32-25 for their second win of the season on Aug. 16, after edging Edmonton by a point two weeks earlier.
Hamilton quarterback Henry Burris remembers the game well, since his four fumbles resulted in three of those turnovers, and says he's taken some lessons in ball carrying to prevent a repeat.
"It's definitely a game I haven't forgotten," he said.
He's not expecting the Bombers to make life easier for him this time.
"We know this team. They're going to come out of the locker-room playing like some crazy dogs, you know, a desperate team looking to do whatever it takes to get a victory," he said. "We're only two games up on them and we're...as desperate as they are."
With files from CFL.ca