Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–6–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Mack, LaPo equally responsible for mess; if one goes they both should go

  • Print

Joe Mack, should it come to this, shouldn't be allowed to fire Paul LaPolice.

If the 1-5 Bombers continue to slide and the time comes for change at the top, the head coach should not be the scapegoat. It should be a package deal. If one goes, they both go.

Make no mistake, LaPolice is on the clock. The Bombers board of directors is getting restless with all this losing and if it continues they'll begin to apply heat on Mack. They'll want answers and action.

The board isn't scheduled to meet again until Aug. 21 but a loss Thursday night to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, in particular a listless one such as the non-effort put forth against the Montreal Alouettes prior to the bye week, could force an emergency session.

There's a sentiment among the board that the club is burning through its goodwill in the community and with a new stadium and a yearly $4-million debt commitment coming up fast, that's a very uncomfortable situation.

The Bombers are in the football business and the on-field product is the engine. Nine straight sellouts would suggest things are still rosy with the ticket-buying public, but marketing is all about what's next. Keep losing and the sellouts will end. Guaranteed. The organization wants momentum moving into its new building, not dissent in the community.

Sooner or later this trend will result in change and most often the head coach is the one that goes. I can tell you this, Mack isn't going to step up one day and resign, claiming it's all on him. If the board demands change, he'll throw LaPolice overboard.

And that would be an injustice.

Mack has not done enough to help LaPolice and earn a free pass if change is deemed necessary. Most GMs are given at least one head-coach firing before they are forced to answer for their own misdeeds. But Mack's fingerprints are all over this Blue Bombers roster and he owns a full share of the blame for what's gone wrong this season in Winnipeg.

Some would argue Mack is ahead of LaPolice in the blame department after he whiffed in free agency this past off-season. Regardless, these two are a package deal. They came in that way, have operated that way and should be held accountable in that way.

Clipping the pair would be expensive. LaPolice has this year plus two more in the $230,000 range and Mack has the same term in the neighbourhood of $250,000 a year. So it's close to a million-dollar touch for the organization to start anew.

The Bombers are bad. But are they bad because LaPolice has misused good players or because he's been forced to try and win with an inferior roster?

There's a very clear distinction here. LaPolice coaches what he's given. Mack is in charge of the roster. His job is to draft, sign and trade for players to put together a competitive roster. That hasn't happened under his watch but for an eight-game stretch early in the 2011 season.

The Bombers are 15-27 in three seasons with these two men running the operation. The first year was a writeoff as they went 4-14 while Mack retooled. Last season they broke out to a 7-1 mark and hung on to earn a home playoff game, which they turned into a Grey Cup berth.

Whatever progress was made last season has dissipated and this season has been a complete disaster. In fact, since starting 2011 with a 7-1 run the club has gone 4-12. Stinky.

The organization has no plan at quarterback and its Canadian talent is not producing. In the CFL, that's game, set and match.

LaPolice is a good man. He works hard and represents the organization well. I can't say he's a good coach. The numbers just don't support that statement. But I can't determine if he's struggling due to a lack of talent on his roster or his own misdeeds. I'd venture to guess it's a little of both.

So if the board determines they need to start from scratch, it's difficult to make a case for LaPolice staying. But it's very clear this doesn't fall on his shoulders alone.

The GM gets the players. The coach coaches them.

LaPolice has a partner in Mack and what happens to the coach should happen to the GM.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @garylawless

Three and out? Regime's season totals

Joe Mack and Paul LaPolice were both hired for the 2010 season. A look back at how they've done:

Year Wins Losses Ties For Against Result
2010 4 14 0 464 485 Last in East
2011 10 8 0 432 432 First in East - lost Grey Cup final
2012 1 5 0 127 199 Last in East

 

Combined results: 15 wins, 27 losses, 1,023 points for, 1,116 points against.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 14, 2012 C1

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

    No

  • 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 winnipegfreepress.com. 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 winnipegfreepress.com. 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.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

How Winnipeg's slow growth saved the Exchange District

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose protects her nest full of eggs Monday on campus at the University of Manitoba- Standup photo- Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • 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)

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 www.winnipegfreepress.com
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.

 

Poll

How many goals do you think Evander Kane will score this year?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google