Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Time for talk is over, now it's time to win

  • Print

Tim Burke will never write speeches for a living but he does have a knack for distilling a situation into terse soundbites and Thursday he offered a most succinct and accurate summation on the plight of his football team.

"I asked the players why they thought the CEO and the GM were fired," shared Bombers head coach Burke, in his final press briefing prior to today's home game with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. "They answered by saying, 'because we're not winning enough games.' I told them, "exactly. Now let's get going.'"

Turmoil and excuses have been the default positions of the Blue Bombers for some time but this week it has all been about accountability. Whether it continues to unfold in that manner on the field is the question of the moment. It is time, and Burke agreed with this sentiment popping out an emphatic, "absolutely," for both coaches and players in Winnipeg colours to do their jobs correctly and completely.

The time for being half-milers, as the Imperial measure clich© used to go, is over.

"It's time for players to play. It all comes down to that," said veteran offensive lineman Glenn January. "It's time for us to just get it done. Nothing else matters or counts right now."

A number of players answered a similar line of questioning by saying they strive to do their jobs from the minute training camp begins. Fair enough. But that simply hasn't happened. So people got fired last week and a couple of players lost their jobs.

More losing and all involved can expect to undergo similar ramifications.

Maybe it's an oversimplification to say the leaders of this team must lead and the playmakers must make plays. But maybe simple is what this team needs to focus upon.

Coaches can't overreach and out-think themselves. This isn't the week to call a draw on second and long. Play the percentages. Don't coach scared but live within this team's abilities and confidence.

For the players, there's no room for mistakes. Dropped passes, offside penalties and missed tackles can all be controlled. Control them.

Physical mistakes are OK. Mental ones are not.

"If our players make plays we can win," said defensive tackle Bryant Turner. "They're going to try and stop us. That's what football is. But we can't help them. We can't make mistakes."

It was refreshing to hear quarterback Max Hall talk about the leash he will have tonight and going forward.

"This is professional football. We're paid to execute and produce," said Hall.

It's been easy to sit back and blame the plight of the Bombers on the board of directors and top executives. But at the end of the day, it's the players on the field and the coaches making the calls that determine the final outcome of games.

Sure, the Bombers aren't the most talented team but the Tiger-Cats have just one more win this season and this is as even a matchup as Winnipeg can expect to see this season.

The Bombers would not be delusional in believing they can win this game. Losing is not an inevitable outcome tonight as it has been on a number of instances this season.

But they clearly must do more than they have in their previous six games. If not, it will be simple for acting GM Kyle Walters to sharpen his scythe and continue cutting a human swath through his dressing room.

There are players hitting the streets every day as the NFL makes cuts. Maybe they don't have CFL experience but when a team is 1-6 there's no reason to hold on to many of its players. They may be experienced but they're also bad.

"We've been called out," said Turner. "You gotta answer that."

And the Bombers will supply an answer. One way or another. Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 16, 2013 C2

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Selinger addresses stadium lawsuit

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Down the Hatch- A pelican swallows a fresh fish that it caught on the Red River near Lockport, Manitoba. Wednesday morning- May 01, 2013   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Hay bales sit under a rainbow just west of Winnipeg Saturday, September 3, 2011.(John Woods/Winnipeg Free Press)

View More Gallery Photos

About Gary Lawless

Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.


Are you concerned about the number of homicides so far this year?

View Results

Ads by Google