Punt decition puts heat on Blue Bombers' Tim Burke
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
Some are lambasting the ‘rookie’ coaching mistake.
Others want the guy who just took the job two games ago fired already.
What is clear about the decision Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke made to punt instead of try a field goal when leading by one point Sunday, is it wasn’t the right one.
What some fail to understand is there are several other things that could have gone wrong even if the Winnipeg Blue Bombers attempted that late field goal against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
With the ball on the 36-yard line, the Bombers were looking at about a 43-yard attempt with 55 seconds left at Canad Inns Stadium.
Justin Palardy is a solid kicker, but he’s just 3-of-5 outside of the 40-yard line this season. It’s no gimme, as the league average is about 50% from that range this season — a year in which kickers have hit at a remarkably high rate.
Burke has been around long enough to know missed field goals get returned, and they are hard to cover. Three have gone for touchdowns this season, while another two were brought back 50 yards.
What also factors in is punter Mike Renaud leads the CFL with six boots downed inside the 10-yard line this season.
The most obvious outcome had Palardy missed the attempt would be that the Riders would concede the single, take the ball at the 35 anyway and proceed to march for the winning points.
Maybe the best choice would have been an onside field-goal attempt — similar to what the Montreal Alouettes have tried in recent weeks.
It was a complicated decision for Burke.
Next time, he will likely just go with the choice that causes the least amount of uproar.