Bombers will forge ahead

- November 1st, 2012

It wasn’t too surprising when the Bombers announced on Thursday that GM Joe Mack would continue in his role and head coach Tim Burke would have the interim tag removed from his title.

President and CEO Garth Buchko dropped plenty of hints that Mack had done enough to hold on to his job, and that meant Burke would be retained as well. Now all Mack has to do is prove to a healthy heaping of Bomber fans and the rest of the CFL that he knows what he’s doing.

Here are the leftovers from a very busy Thursday …

• I communicated with a few folks from other CFL cities, and they are quite happy that Mack is still in charge. I know many Bomber fans love Mack, but he doesn’t get much respect from the rest of the league.

• One CFL executive also feels there are better choices out there for head coach and offensive co-ordinator as well. He was surprised commitments were made to Burke and Crowton without looking at other possibilities first.

• I can’t believe how much it was mentioned on Thursday that the team’s 3-3 record over the last six games was a reason for hope. That, folks, is called creative accounting.

• If nothing else, Garth Buchko deserves credit for making his decision quickly and decisively.

• The Bombers get a thumbs down for holding the press conference on the same day as the Canadian Football Hall of Fame’s bust unveiling. Talk about awful timing. Sometimes you just shake your head at this organization.

• Joe Mack said there were things going on behind the scenes that hampered the Bombers this year. I asked if he could share any of those. He said the four games on the road to start the season affected the team more than they thought. I didn’t realize the four games on the road to start the season wasn’t public knowledge.

• Mack then said: “I don’t think that we were totally settled, and maybe it was because we had so many young players and a lot of injuries, but there were just some things that maybe disrupted the flow of the team, if you will, and we’ll just leave it at that.” Mack is becoming the master of saying the Bombers had to overcome hurdles and then not say what those hurdles are. It’s not that I don’t believe him; it’s just that it’s very convenient.

• My two biggest problems with Mack was that he went too young this season and got rid of players without having bona fide replacements. Now we will find out if those young players can turn into something good. If they do, then Mack will get props from me.

• Mack also should be taking more heat for his quarterback situation. As I write in Friday’s Sun, he can say Buck Pierce’s injury problems were bad luck and hampered the team, but it shouldn’t have been a surprise. His job was to find someone to replace him when he got hurt. He wasn’t able to do that because Joey Elliott and Alex Brink are taking forever to develop into reliable pivots. That falls on Mack.

• Tina LaPolice retweeted this Tweet from me earlier today. “Burke: Paul assembled a really good staff of guys. They’re the finest men I ever worked with. They’re very knowledgeable about techniques and how to motivate players.” That was a nice nod to LaPolice by Burke when talking about whether he was going to keep his assistants.

• Don’t expect Mack to go spending like a mad man in free agency. He continued to maintain on Thursday that you never get enough bang for your buck in free agency.

• The players were happy with Thursday’s news. Of course they were.

• I checked out the Canadian Football Hall of Fame bust unveiling at McPhillips Street Station on Thursday morning. All the inductees were there except for David Braley.

• Milt Stegall was in fine form, saying he was upset his bust didn’t include his abs. He also recalled his first day in Winnipeg way back in 1995. “It seems like it was just yesterday,” he said. “I remember getting off that airplane, it was September, I think I had on shorts and a T-shirt. I’m like, God, why did you bring me here to Winnipeg. I get to the first practice and Cal Murphy is cussing me out, telling me we don’t wear long sleeves and gloves here, but everything worked out great. I wouldn’t change anything.”

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