Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Taking a pass on Buck foolish

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Gut the interior of the offensive line, switch co-ordinators and play four straight on the road to open the season. Sound like a good time to change quarterbacks? Uh, no.

While I'm sick of hearing about what a warrior Buck Pierce is (what does that have to do with successful quarterback play?) and just as tired of watching him leave games early, there's no question he gives the Bombers the best chance to win right now.

Did he look horrible in Week 1? Yup. Aaron Rodgers would have looked bad behind that offensive line, and Pierce leaving the game early with only a minor injury was a blessing in disguise. God knows what could have happened to him had he hung in a little longer and taken a real shot or two.

There's lots of chatter on the street about a quarterback change, and it's nonsense. For starters, Pierce deserves a little more rope. Secondly, gassing a quarterback for a worse option is counterproductive. It's the kind of move that gets a coach clipped. Alex Brink and Joey Elliott have some nice qualities, but they aren't close to Pierce yet. Not even remotely so.

This team went to the Grey Cup last season and has one of the league's best defences. One can argue they're close to being a contender again if they can get their offence sorted out. The window on a unit as effective as the Bombers' defence has to be taken advantage of before it closes. Starting a rebuild program at quarterback isn't the route to go.

This Bombers team is in a precarious spot in terms of its unity. It could pull together during this arduous stretch or it could tear apart. Pierce is the best man to try keeping it together.

The current circumstances in Bomberland heavily underscore the club's need to have Pierce under centre.

The numbers go on and on where Pierce and injuries are concerned. Since coming to Winnipeg in 2010, he's been unable to start on 15 occasions, and when he does get on the field, he has a tendency to get knocked around. But Winnipeg is 3-12 in games Pierce didn't start. No one has stepped forward and proven capable of taking his job.

Last season, Pierce started 16 of 18 games for the Bombers and despite posting a miserable quarterback rating of 82 (worst among the league's eight starters), he did get the team to the Grey Cup.

The quarterback isn't the problem on offence right now. Start with an O-line that can't block a nasty Twitter follower.

No one should be tied to Pierce long-term as this team's starter. That might lead to heartbreak. In fact, GM Joe Mack should be a little farther along in his succession plan, but that's another debate.

Pierce, however, is Winnipeg's best quarterback right now and he proved a year ago he was good enough to get the Bombers to the title game.

Sticking with him in the short term is the only option. Twitter: @garylawless


bomber report d3

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 5, 2012 D1

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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.

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