Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Readers weigh in on how to fix the bumbling Bombers

You're the boss: what do you do?

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Say one thing about the Winnipeg Blue Bombers -- despite a horrible 5-12 mark and ownership of last place in the CFL, there is no shortage of passion when it comes to your local pros.

Everyone, it seems, has an opinion and they range from the heated to the clinical. Solving the Bombers' woes is a topic getting lots of attention these days.

We put out the following call to arms on Tuesday.

"Blue Bombers president and CEO Garth Buchko just walked into your place of work and tapped you on the shoulder. You're the team's new general manager.

What's your first move?

You've got a CFL budget but you're smarter than the rest of the league's brain trust. You can make the decisions and calls that put the Bombers back on top. Tell us what you would do first. We'll take your tweets at #gmforaday and your emails at"

We pulled a bunch of the responses together and here's what you had to say when given the chance to be GM for a day.



11 Ned Smith


11Then we have to go after a QB. (Reilly) in B.C. is one of the best bets but Edmonton will also be looking, as they need help in that position. That gives us some wiggle room as we can then put Joey or Alex out there so when Ottawa makes its picks it maybe grabs one of these guys.

The O line needs people that get the job done to protect the QB, and open lanes for a ground attack with the running backs we have. That should open up the passing game if the QB stays upright. Bottom line is you need hogs with attitude, and a QB that works with them.

The D line is missing the most-important ingredient and that is attitude, plus we need at least 2-3 quality veterans to help guide the young players. The same way we've seen this D play under Burke, when he controlled the players.

Special teams is another important area. We need someone that can catch the ball and run with it: We are missing that right now.

Ken Stelmack


111. Clarify with the president the job description, roles and responsibilities and other expectations of the position. The basic premise is that the GM must manage all aspects of football operations. To do that, the GM should live in Winnipeg, and must have at his disposal a reasonable operating budget. Responsibilities include supervising and providing guidance/direction to the head coach. This implies an intimate understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a head coach. In order to do this, one must be on-site regularly. Get rid of the "hire and fire" mentality, as all this does is keep pushing the reset button and starting over.

2. Hire a head coach whose skill sets and philosophy are compatible with those of the GM. Make sure he's a leader, not just a skilled technician. Then supervise, but don't meddle or second-guess every decision of the head coach.

3. Insist on having a comprehensive scouting team, i.e. one that covers all potential sources of developing player talent.

4. Host initial meetings with the head coach to establish priorities in player retention and recruitment. Then, together with the head coach, meet with the scouting team to establish priorities, considering but not limited to leadership, athleticism, current position skills assessment, character, and import vs. non-import status.

5. Meet with head coach after every game, to assess wants, needs and any corrections required, based on game observations.

6. Don't try to supervise the whole coaching staff: that's the head coach's job, and could potentially undermine his position.

J. Hugh McMorrow






11What I want to see is that magical QB-receiver combo where we don't know how they do it, but the ball always finds the right guy... I'm no football talent scout, but it seems to me what we need is to find a couple of guys who already play well together. Why not two from the same college team who already know each other's strengths?


Jared Zanewich

1. HIRE A COACH -- I personally think Burke is a good fit but has just been thrown into a sinking ship. He's constructed a partial lifeboat the best he can but needs help from the organization.

2. QUARTERBACK QUANDARY -- Buck Pierce is not the right fit. I don't even feel like he should be a backup. He can't take the hits and be healthy. I love the guy, great for the community and tough but time to throw on a suit or polo and grab a clipboard.

3. WHAT ABOUT BUCK? -- See above

4. YO, CANADA -- I think we have some really good Canadians but need to expand from them JUST being offensive players like running backs and recievers. Need a few O and D line Canadians.

5. WHERE'S THE BEEF? -- We need some big in-your-face linemen. I don't mind taking a OC penalty here and there to establish some aggressiveness even. I want someone that's mean... throws stuff that hurts people. Has a 500-lb bench press.

6. CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN -- It's so true that the leadership needs to come from the VETS and not the coaches... I bleed Blue and Gold....I have some serious heart. We need that in the dressing room!!!

7. FREE AGENCY FRENZY -- GET IN THERE. Have to make some changes and show people we are serious. Don't let your core good players go (while you're) at it either!

8. POP PERCEPTION -- I don't care too much about this compared to the other nine things!

9. GET BUSY -- NEED A QB. Bring some in from the States... have a mini camp as soon as RIGHT AFTER the Grey Cup... start early and be serious. The QB is, without a doubt the most important part of a CFL team -- Just ask the Alouettes... think they would have the team they do without Calvillo? NOPE.

10. BE BOMBERS -- We have a new stadium, a great fan base, new uniforms -- LET'S GET STARTED ON setting the attitude of the team. This doesn't happen at the first pre-season game. It happens NOW before this season ends. Set the base and build it into next year.



Rd3 @rondangles

@garylawless forget the pallbearers a.k.a. blue-bombers, KHL is expanding to Milan, Italy. #kanadaexpansion #comebackjets#settle4highlights


Robert Dalton @wrobertdalton

@garylawless team is a stable QB away from improving. Either get an elite starter or give Elliott full control #gmforaday


FB @Flyer_Bully

@garylawless Just come in and do everything the opposite of Mack. e.g. don't trade UP to get an O lineman with jello shoulders. #gmforaday


Douglas D. Johnstone @STONE_worx

@garylawless how ironic ... Joe Mack was a Bomber GM for ONE day too .. The day he was hired!


Chris Mackling @cmackLIVE @garylawless @winnipegnews @sharethis If I were THE GM of the #Bombers for a day, I would resign. #getit?


MBGreen@MBGreen_YDKFThe #bluebombers need to fire their GM, because they shouldn't put that product on the field in a new stadium next year. #gmforaday

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 1, 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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