Barresi not Bombers' scapegoat: LaPolice

Barresi confers with quarterback Buck Pierce. The offensive coordinator was fired Tuesday. (BRIAN...

Barresi confers with quarterback Buck Pierce. The offensive coordinator was fired Tuesday. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI Agency)

Jim Bender, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:26 AM ET

WINNIPEG - The general consensus is that someone had to go.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers earned their way into the Grey Cup despite an offence that led the CFL in two-and-outs. And those failings became glaring during a 34-23 loss to the B.C. Lions in that championship game in Vancouver last Sunday.

But Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice denied that offensive co-ordinator Jamie Barresi was being made a scapegoat for that woeful offence when he sent him packing.

“I’m not placing any blame on anything other than what I evaluate every day over the course of two years, and that’s what I’m basing it on,” LaPolice said Wednesday. “It’s not based on results. It’s not based on after a game. If we take that model off the Grey Cup, then the last four teams that played the B.C. Lions should be fired, the offensive co-ordinators. I try not to do that. In my best mind, this will make us stronger.”

While Barresi was officially the OC, LaPolice called the plays and has been roundly criticized for those calls.

“I will say this, I don’t think play calling was our biggest concern,” he defended.

LaPolice plans to continue to call plays no matter who replaces Barresi as OC, and does not believe that will have a bearing on hiring the replacement.

“I can certainly put people in position to help us continue to get better, but just calling the plays doesn’t have to be the only reason a guy comes on board,” he said.

There is some speculation that either Bombers offensive line coach Pat Delmonaco or receivers coach Chris Wiesehan could be promoted to OC. Other candidates could include Khari Jones, who was working as OC for Hamilton head coach Marcel Bellefeuille, who just got fired, ex-Bombers OC Mike Gibson, former Bombers assistant Bob Dyce and former Bombers quarterback Marcus Brady, currently the Montreal Alouettes receivers coach. Jones was Winnipeg’s quarterback when LaPolice was the Bombers OC in 2002 and ‘03.

“I’ll evaluate that as it goes on but I certainly want the same structure where somebody helps me with the gameplan, like what was done last year, and then go from there,” LaPolice said, adding that firing Barresi was not a knee-jerk reaction to the Grey Cup loss.

“The Grey Cup had no bearing on my decision,” he said. “The reason I did it so quickly was so that Jamie would know what to do next, so he could get a job, so he could move on, and that’s the fairest thing I could do to the guy. I had a tough decision but tried to do it the best that I can and tried to do it fairly when I do make it.”

LaPolice has offered new contracts to the rest of the coaches on staff, including defensive co-ordinator Tim Burke. No team has requested permission to approach Burke about a head coaching job elsewhere yet, LaPolice said.


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