Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–7–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Blue hand keys to Hall for another test drive

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MAX HALL certainly has the handling-the-media component of a starting quarterback gig nailed.

"How's my hair?" quipped the Winnipeg Blue Bombers pivot as a media scrum circled around him following practice Tuesday.

But the meatier question going forward -- starting Saturday in Guelph, Ont., against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats -- isn't about the 27-year-old's hairdo, but whether he can wrap his fingers around the Bombers' No. 1 gig and really take hold of the thing.

The Bombers announced Tuesday that Hall would make his second consecutive start against the Tabbies as the club attempts to put the brakes on a five-game losing skid.

"I'm excited to get another opportunity," said Hall, who completed 18 of 30 passes for 241 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in last Friday's loss to Hamilton. "Some good things happened in that last game, but we've got to move forward and really focus on this week.

'I'm excited to get another opportunity... I like where things are going with the offence. We've got to perfect it a little bit, but I expect us to play well this week' -- Max Hall

"I like where things are going with the offence. We've got to perfect it a little bit, but I expect us to play well this week."

The Bombers opted to go with Hall again after new offensive co-ordinator Marcel Bellefeuille met with the offensive coaching staff and head coach Tim Burke. Ultimately, it was Burke who decided to give Hall another go at the controls.

"I thought he did some really positive things in the game and the most of any of the quarterbacks in a game this year," said Burke. "The other thing is I think he has a lot of intangibles that bring his teammates together and they rally around him.

"I just feel really good about Max right now and as far as the three go he might give us the best chance."

Hall became the third Bomber QB to start a game for the team in last week's loss and fifth over the last two years, along with the departed Joey Elliott and Alex Brink.

And again, with the Bombers at 1-6 but still in the playoff race in the CFL's East Division, the organization is balancing the desperate need to win right now vs. the need to evaluate all three QBs under contract.

"We can win with whoever we put on the field... I think we have to have that attitude," said Bellefeuille.

"Whether it's the quarterback, running back or receiver, the good teams find a way to be successful. And you've seen some young quarterbacks go out and win football games this year. I think it makes a statement to the organization that the coach's decision is, 'You know what? We expect to win regardless of who we play.' "

That's a fine sentiment, although the evidence is certainly lacking through seven games.

 

What the Bombers hope is Hall, working under a more CFL-style offence, can take more steps in his progression this week.

Pierce would be first off the bench, with Goltz again the No. 3 QB after starting back-to-back games prior to Hall's debut.

"I thought at times we moved the ball well and I thought I was seeing the field and the game slowed down as it went on," said Hall of his first start. "I just wish things would have gone better in the second half. I was happy with my performance, but there's still a lot of things I can get better at."

Asked what kind of leash he might have on Saturday in Guelph, Hall spit out an answer that, essentially, applies to everybody in the football operations department.

"Man, I said this even last week: everybody's job is under scrutiny. If I play well, I'll be here."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 21, 2013 C1

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