WINNIPEG – Brandon Alexander has not forgotten the criticisms of the defense of the Blue Bombers over the last few seasons, but he is happy that this year has started differently.
Winnipeg is the only unbeaten team in the CFL and his defense played a major role in the 3-0 record.
The defense goes in the Friday game against the winless Toronto Argonauts (0-3) without giving up a touchdown in the past two games (nine consecutive quarters) and has only allowed one this season.
Watch the game LIVE via the TSN network and on TSN Direct at 8 pm and / or 5 pm pt.
"Of course we were absolutely criticized in 2017 and 2018 for having given up many yards and touchdowns throughout the year," said Alexander, a defender in his third year with the Bombers.
"Even with the victories and being able to go to the playoffs, there were certain games at the end of the day where we just didn't stop the opponent and that criticism was good.
"We have to continue to build every year and this year starts really well in terms of not giving up many explosions, not giving up the touchdowns. We want to come forward here as a defense and have a goose egg on the table. Now that is hard to do? Of course, but that's what we come to do here. "
Winnipeg's attack carries his share of the load, scoring four touchdowns in each of his three wins.
Head coach Mike O & # 39; Shea is happy, but not entirely satisfied.
"We have had a good success so far, but I don't think we can play our best football in all ways," he said.
Toronto lost to B.C. 18-17 last week after Lions kicker Sergio Castillo singled after a missed field goal attempt in the last part of the game.
It was the first start of the season for Argonaut's quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who replaced James Franklin (hamstring) after he entered the six-game wounded list.
Bethel-Thompson acknowledged that he has many weapons on his way.
"Unlimited, across the board, six deep and it's even deeper on the sidelines so it's really exciting," he said. "It's a great position to be inside. They make my work very easy."
Now it's just a matter of synchronizing with those weapons.
"We are very close, we are closer than people think we are," said Bethel-Thompson. "We only play one game at a time and everyone does his only job and nobody lets go of the rope and it comes together."
Toronto head coach Corey Chamblin said his players are not on their own and he sees improvement.
It is a good challenge to go against the undefeated bombers.
"That's something great," Chamblin said. "I told those guys, I said," At the moment, Winnipeg is a well-oiled machine. "
But that does not mean that the bombers cannot sputter.
"It's not that their boys are bigger or something," Chamblin said. "They just play better because they understand what they do, like any other thing in football, you have to play the game, so that's the good thing."
The quarterback of bombers Matt Nichols does not match the poor start of Toronto.
"I've played in this competition long enough that the records can sometimes be crooked or misleading, and when you turn the film on, they are a team that plays hard, runs around and whistle everywhere," Nichols said. "So, for us it's a new chance to get better and play a difficult soccer team."
The defense of Winnipeg could be without star middle linebacker Adam Bighill, who missed last week's win over Ottawa due to a hamstring injury. He didn't practice this week, but O & # 39; Shea said the plan is to make him play.
Bighill will have some input about how he feels and consider it a decision about playing time. It is also early in the season, so he doesn't want to push it and pay the price on the road.
"It's about being smart, it's about making the right decision for the team, and within that there is some flexibility as to how I feel and communicate with coach Osh," Bighill said.
TORONTO (0-3) AT WINNIPEG (3-0)
Friday, IG Field
RECORD ON THE LINE: If the Winnipeg defense did not specify a touchdown for a third straight game, it would be a franchise record. The CFL record is five games from Saskatchewan in 1963.
ROAD WOES: The Argonauts have lost their last 10 road races.
RARE START ON THE LINE: The bombers have not opened season 4-0 since 2003.