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Time for mercy rule?

Things getting out of hand, but little Blue can do at this point

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/9/2012 (1799 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

CALGARY -- Yeah, and so there was that -- a 44-3 shellacking of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers by the Calgary Stampeders here Friday night.

So now what?

Winnipeg's Johnny Sears (right) and Ian Logan are beaten for a TD reception by Calgary Stampeder receiver Johnny Forzani on Friday night.


Winnipeg's Johnny Sears (right) and Ian Logan are beaten for a TD reception by Calgary Stampeder receiver Johnny Forzani on Friday night.

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 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" from 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 co-ordinator Gary Crowton are only going to increase in volume this coming week.

Gassing an offensive co-ordinator 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 co-ordinator 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 co-ordinator 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 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 hire a new head coach for 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.

Now, 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 per cent 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 a almost as bad as they are -- a struggling Hamilton Tiger-Cats squad that has the worst defence in the league -- by a mile. At least they stank until Saturday's blowout of Edmonton.

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.

Sign of apocalypse: Jovon lost for words


,JOVON JOHNSON struggled Friday night in his fledgling role as the team's strong-side linebacker and he was the first to admit it in the locker-room afterward.

"I don't even know what to say. And it starts with me -- I didn't play my best game either. I don't know where to take it, what to say, what to do," said Johnson.

"Coming off the year we had last year, a lot of people expected different results this year. I don't even know how to put it into words."

Johnson was asked if he's more comfortable at his old position at cornerback than in his new linebacker role.

"I am. But I'm asked to do a job and I have to go out and do it to the best of my abilities. It's different. It's definitely not something I'm comfortable at. But I still got to go out there and play to the best of my ability. And I know that I'm a better player than what I've shown this season.

"It's just a matter of we took one on the chin and we just have to continue to fight and strive to get better."

Read more by Paul Wiecek.


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