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At this point in the season, changes don't come easy

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/9/2012 (1803 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

CALGARY -- Yeah, and so there was that -- a 44-3 thrashing of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers here by the Calgary Stampeders Friday night that dropped Winnipeg's season record to 2-9.

Now what?

Blue Bombers offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton and quarterback Joey Elliott talk shop at Thursday's workout.


Blue Bombers offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton and quarterback Joey Elliott talk shop at Thursday's workout.

In the other sport I cover professionally, curling teams have a genteel custom where they simply shake hands and head off for a beer when things get out of hand.

The winner buys, the loser retains a modicum of self-respect and everyone lives on to fight another day.

And then there’s the world of horse racing, where a trainer with a losing horse just keeps dropping it in class until he finally finds a level at which his nag can compete.

By that standard, the Bombers are something like a $2,500 claimer right now -- with only a hint of "back-class" in last year’s Grey Cup game appearance all that is keeping fans from taking this mess behind a barn and putting a bullet in its head.

Alas, you can’t keep dropping a CFL team in class until you find a level at which it can compete. And even if you could, what are we talking about right now? Does Coleco still even manufacture "Electronic Quarterback?"

And they also don’t shake hands in the CFL and head off to the lounge where commissioner Mark Cohon is waiting with a beer and a reassuring hug.

All of which is a round-about way -- I went with the rare inverted trapezoid lead today -- to get us back to the original question:

So now what?

Given the woeful state of the Bombers offence -- they have yet to score an offensive touchdown in Tim Burke’s three games as head coach -- the calls to fire offensive coordinator Gary Crowton are only going to increase in volume this coming week.

Gassing an offensive coordinator is a very tough act to pull off in the middle of a season -- Do you burn the entire playbook too? -- although Edmonton did it a few years ago.

But then what? Burke is a defensive coordinator with zero experience on offence, so there’s no way you could add Crowton’s job to his responsibilities too, especially since Burke’s been struggling so mightily just to do the jobs he already has.

Bombers special teams coordinator Kyle Walters was a head coach in the CIS at Guelph. He could probably take on the OC job, but he’s also Winnipeg’s "draftologist." And given Winnipeg’s sorry season record -- and even sorrier recent draft history -- it might be wise to have Walters focus on finding a first round draft pick in the 2013 CFL entry draft who is more like Henoc Muamba and less like Jade Etienne and Tyson Pencer.

OK, how about bring in an entirely new OC from outside the organization and start from scratch? There’s not much you could do at this point to make this gong show worse, but it says here that doing that almost certainly would.

So like it or not, Bombers fans are probably stuck with Crowton and his anemic offence, just like they’re stuck with GM Joe Mack, who Bombers board chairman Bill Watchorn has already made clear has the job for the balance of this season, come hell or high water.

(Remember that weekend back in 1997 when almost the entire downtown of Grand Forks simultaneously flooded and caught fire? That was called hell and high water. I was there that weekend and it’s starting to look familiar.)

Fire Burke? Sure, why not? How about we go with a new coach every game? We could make it a reality show and bring in Gordon Ramsay to make everyone feel bad about themselves every week.

Realistically, there’s really not much anyone is going to be able to do personnel-wise to change things around at this late hour. The CFL trading deadline isn't until Oct. 10, but it’s not like someone is going to just gift the Bombers a reliable and effective quarterback anyway. Eric Tillman has already given away his to Toronto this year.

And all that means that any meaningful change in this club is going to have to come from within the Bombers locker room.

And there actually is a small glimmer of hope in that regard because a couple of good things are finally breaking Winnipeg’s way this week.

First, the Bombers are going to get Buck Pierce back behind centre. Whatever you think of Pierce’s reliability -- he’s now missed 49 percent of Winnipeg’s regular season games since 2010 -- the fact is he gives the Bombers their best chance to win -- by a mile.

Second, the Bombers get as an opponent this week the only team in the CFL almost as bad as they are -- a struggling Hamilton Tiger-Cats squad that has the worst defence in the league -- by a mile.

Whether those two factors coming together this Friday night at Canad Inns Stadiums are good enough to snap a four-game Winnipeg losing skid and give Burke his first win as a head coach might be a lot to ask, given the complete lack of resolve the Bombers demonstrated in Friday's shellacking.

But the good part of having fallen this far is that just about anything at this point would be an improvement over what’s been going on.

A one-yard touchdown run, at this point, would be an improvement.

Read more by Paul Wiecek.


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Updated on Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 2:05 PM CDT: updates lede paragraph

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