Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Do Blue have brains/guts to make changes?

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Blue Bombers quarterback Justin Goltz is punished by B.C. Lions Jabar Westerman (right) and Brandon Jordan during a futile second half on Monday night.

DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS Enlarge Image

Blue Bombers quarterback Justin Goltz is punished by B.C. Lions Jabar Westerman (right) and Brandon Jordan during a futile second half on Monday night.

If this franchise is going to make fundamental changes to the organization, in the hopes of salvaging the season, it has to do so now.

Going into the bye week, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have 11 days until their next game, the longest break they will have this season.

It's obvious from all the "on the cusp of winning" talk the coaches don't think any shakedown should take place, and you can be sure the players don't want to be burdened with concerns over unscheduled phone calls from the office during their time off.

Yet at the one-third mark of the season, this is the most convenient stanza to either swap out a player or change a member of the coaching staff or front office. The team is tied for last in the CFL at 1-5, and the offence has yet to put together four quarters of productivity, regardless of which QB has been at the helm. Either the franchise makes a visible effort to salvage the season by shaking up the hierarchy in some way, shape, or form, or they convey the message that they are content to stand pat.

For being on the cusp of winning, and almost getting there, is not what counts in this business. Professional football is judged off of productivity, and having a record that matches the 2012 squad at this junction, is not productive or a sign of progress.

Though I'm sure Justin Goltz wasn't intentionally indicting his offensive co-ordinator when I asked him on the post-game show what kind of adjustments they made at half time, his answer to me was in large part what is fundamentally wrong with this offence. The playbook appears to be as thin as the hairline of a long-term PED user.

The exact words can be found in the audio file on CJOB, but Goltz's response to this inquiry was something along the lines of, "We didn't change too much at the half because we were happy with the way things were going." If this is not an operational red flag, I don't know what is.

As someone who has seen defensive adjustments for a decade and a half, I can assure you the first thing every defence does at the break is to figure out how to take away what worked against them in the first half.

Not only do the best defensive co-ordinators recognize vulnerabilities offences showed during the first two quarters, and implement strategies to attack them, but they explain to you how to counteract everything that has been successful. An offence that does not dramatically shift their approach to what they are doing for the second half, is either so good at it they cannot be stopped, or they are not in touch with how the game evolves over the course of four quarters.

I was not in the locker-room at the half, I was not privy to the conversations and Goltz may have underscored (no pun intended) the amount this offence did try to change for the third quarter. Yet, the facts are four points were scored in the second half, the approach and scheme did not appear visibly different, no defensive vulnerabilities were exposed or exploited, and this isn't exactly the first time we've seen this offence hit the wall after limited success. In fact, Goltz told the Free Press after the game, "Nothing came easy in the second half for us. They (the Lions defence) did a good job stepping up their game." That is exactly what happens when a defence makes adjustments to what you're doing and you don't come at them with anything remarkably different.

If this is not evidence of a disconnect in the management of a football game, I have no further evidence to present. Offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton may turn this ship around and be as productive as he was in the dying moments of last season, but I don't think this team can wait any longer, as 6-12 is a record that needs not be matched.

The only question that remains at this stanza, is what sort of message does this franchise want to send to the fans? Isn't 1-5 patient enough? They needed far less encouragement and provocation to shake things up in Montreal.

 

Doug Brown, once a hard-hitting defensive lineman and frequently a hard-hitting columnist, appears Tuesdays and the days following game days in the Free Press.

Twitter: @DougBrown97

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 7, 2013 D3

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