Sunday, September 9, 2012

Burke Blows Bombers Chances to Win Banjo Bowl

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers season is all but officially over as any hope of rebounding from a 1-5 start has been squashed with back to back loses to the Saskatchewan Rough Riders. However, this loss unlike last weeks debacle is not on the players but it is on rookie head coach Tim Burke, who was playing not to lose rather than playing to win.

CFL - Winnipeg Blue BombersHis decision to not go for a 41 yard field goal with the wind proved to be fatal. Some will argue their 45 yard attempt had just been blocked and he was gun shy but pinning your hopes on the punter rather than your field goal unit, which was 4 for 6 at that point is simply mind boggling. It sends the wrong message to a team that was showing some fight, unlike last week when they were out of the game after the first quarter.

Another reason this loss falls on Burke's shoulders as he has failed to instill the 'discipline' that Joe Mack said the team was lacking under Paul Lapolice. Now that the curtain has been stripped back are we seeing that Burke is also to blame for this problem and perhaps Lapo was a scapegoat as the Bombers continued their horrible habit of taking stupid penalties, highlighted by Kenny Mainor's roughing the passer penalty late in the fourth quarter. That penalty took Saskatchewan out of third and long and gave them a first down, which eventually led to a DeAngilos field goal. Apparently, all the gassers in the world cannot put this team back together again.

Do you want another reason this loss is on Burke? OK. His vaunted defense could not contain a rookie quarterback who ran around like free Willy. They did manage to register several sacks but could not make the big play when needed and that goes back to discipline and leadership or lack thereof and also goes to show that firing Lapolice was like putting a band aid on a broken bone.

This team was decimated not by the fact there was player turnover because that happens every season but because they failed to replace the leaders who departed with veterans. Tim Burke should have turned down the head coaching opportunity as it came at the most inopportune time . He inherited a mess and even admitted he wasn't prepared to coach an offence and has left it to another rookie in Gary Crowton. He may never catch on to the nuances of the Canadian game even if he coaches here for 5 years, which is highly unlikely.

Yes Virginia this season is all but over and questions still remain. One of those questions is how will this team look come training camp 2013? Things are never as bad as they seem or as good as they seem. However, these are dark days in Bomberland as Mack's youth movement plan has gone off the rails.

Things aren't as bad as they seem because there is some talent on the team but until he is willing to augment that talent with veteran leadership, this team will continue to play undisciplined and without purpose.

Article by Sportmentary's Winnipeg correspondent, The Comish.

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