Winston Rose is not accustomed to failure.
The former CFL all-star cornerback, beaten for a pair of TD catches in Saturday’s 28-14 loss to the Montreal Alouettes, responded with some harsh self-criticism on social media and again when he met with reporters via Zoom Tuesday afternoon.
Rose, playing his second game with the Blue Bombers since returning to the club after almost two years in the NFL, said re-adjusting to the Canadian game was no excuse at all.
Facing Eugene Lewis, Montreal’s star receiver, in man coverage, Rose stayed with his opponent but Lewis was just elusive enough and quarterback Trevor Harris’ passes were precise enough to complete the job.
“I’m better than that,” Rose said on Twitter after the loss. “Watch film & learn from it. I have to do better, and I will.”
To be fair, Lewis has been roasted defenders across the CFL in 2021.
He’s currently third in the league with 62 receptions and ranks second with 964 yards in 13 games.
But Rose, a 27-year-old from Inglewood, Calif., led the CFL with nine interceptions in 2019 and was an integral part of the club’s drive to a Grey Cup championship.
He holds himself to a very high standard.
“I believe I was tough on myself because that’s not a performance I usually put out there,” said Rose, who has zero picks in two games thus far in 2021. “I’ll usually don’t give up touchdowns and I’ll pride myself on that because in 2019… I gave up only one touchdown the whole season. So to give up two this past weekend, I was kind of down on myself because I know I’m better than that.”
Veteran safety Brandon Alexander, one of nine regulars rested in Saturday’s game, said he had no concern about Rose’s ability to play the position.
“We talked about it but there’s no advice to give somebody who’s already been in the game — he’s been playing this game for who knows how long now?” said Alexander.
“There’s no advice. Just make sure you keep yourself level-headed and stuff and I know what kind of competitor he is. If he wasn’t doing that, I would be questioning him… because he’s a competitor at the end of the day.
“I know that he wants to get better. I know that he felt like that wasn’t his best game… That’s fine. I know that he’ll come out here this week and prepare like he’s supposed to.”
Alexander had a hard time believing it would be difficult for Rose to reacquaint himself with the Canadian rules and field.
“Obviously it’s a little bit adjustment because it’s the waggle versus not and everything like that,” said Alexander. “But he’s still on the weak side, you know. He’s already been around the game so maybe a little adjustment but football is football.”
Rose dismissed any thoughts about the team building momentum as it did in 2019 with a regular-season-ending victory over the Calgary Stampeders and three post-season wins leading to a title.
Could it be a blueprint to follow two years later?
“We not worrying about that season,” said Rose. “We’re just worrying about this game coming up and just worrying about Calgary this weekend.
“We’re not looking forward to the playoffs or anything after that. We’re just one game at a time and we’re trying to go 1-0 this weekend and that’s that.”
Alexander was lockstep with Rose on the temptation to focus on anything besides a Saturday trip to Calgary to play the Stampeders, their Week 16 opponents.
“If you look at too far ahead you can’t do anything (about) what’s in front of you, you know?” said Alexander. “So what we’ve got to take care of is what’s in front of us. What’s in front of us is Calgary, regardless of the situation. We got to go out there and we’ve got to handle business. If we don’t handle business, we didn’t prepare how we were supposed to.”
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