Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bombers GM isn't acting like a chair-warmer

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IT'S a title that simply screams out 'temporary'. But since getting the keys to the football-operations department following Joe Mack's dismissal a month ago, Kyle Walters -- the 'acting' GM of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers -- has done more than just shuffle papers and keep a seat warm for a would-be candidate.

He's aggressively attempted to rebuild a roster with some serious holes and, in the process, made a significant claim the gig should be his permanently beyond the next few months.

"Any job I've had or been given I've never looked at what it might lead to, I've never looked at how this might help my career," said Walters Monday. "I just do the job at hand, put your nose down and do it. And right now my job is to help this team get better short term and long term, which is a three-year plan to improve the organization.

"That's my role right now. Whether that's going to be my role in December... I don't really care what my role is going to be or not going to be. This is the job right now and that's what I'm trying to focus on."

The results -- Sunday's Banjo Bowl win included -- have hardly been immediate. But Walters, along with new CEO Wade Miller and Tim Burke and the coaching staff -- have made a serious overhaul to the roster since Mack's departure.

The new 'acting' regime has made two trades over the last couple of days, shipping QB Buck Pierce to the B.C. Lions for Canadian receiver Akeem Foster Sunday and then acquiring veteran Canadian offensive lineman Marc Parenteau and a third-round pick in next year's draft from the Toronto Argonauts for running back Anthony Woodson, also a Canadian and a 2014 fifth-round pick.

As well, kicker Sandro DeAngelis, receiver Aaron Kelly and defensive end Greg Peach -- all three CFL vets scooped up in recent weeks, unheard of during Mack's days -- played roles in the win over Saskatchewan on Sunday.

Walters pulled the trigger on the Pierce trade for two reasons:

1. He was able to land a starting Canadian receiver with upside and;

2. The club, which has added Jason Boltus and Levi Brown in the last few weeks, wanted to use the remainder of the season to give both Justin Goltz and Max Hall a real shot at earning the No. 1 gig.

But the overhaul at the QB position won't stop there. Walters, as he has said a few times since taking charge, will be active this off-season in an attempt to upgrade a spot that has been a revolving door over the past two seasons.

Remember, five different QBs have started games for the Bombers in the last 28 games.

"What this states is we're moving on from Buck and we're going in a different direction with the younger guys," said Walters. "We had five quarterbacks under contract (Pierce, Goltz, Hall, Boltus and Brown) and it was very difficult to get guys reps and moving forward it just didn't seem fair to all of them, from a rep distribution and from an evaluation standpoint to get a fair look at that. We decided we were going to commit to the younger guys and go from there."

Asked if he had more irons in the fire as the Oct. 9 CFL trade deadline approaches, Walters was succinct.

"Yes," he said. "We're always trying to improve our roster." Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 10, 2013 C1


Updated on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 8:18 AM CDT: adds video

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