Feels like a death watch for Bombers

Winnipeg Blue Bombers president and CEO Garth Buchko has had to deal with nightmare after nightmare...

Winnipeg Blue Bombers president and CEO Garth Buchko has had to deal with nightmare after nightmare since taking the job. From the stadium fiasco, to a terrible first half of the season, the Bombers have made life miserable for the new head honcho. (JASON HALSTEAD/QMI Agency)

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:41 PM ET

WINNIPEG - Cold-blooded killer, stalking the town

Cop cars blinking, something bad going down

Buildings are crumbling in the neighborhood

But there’s nothing to worry about, ‘cause it’s all good

— Bob Dylan

 

I haven’t been able to get that Bob Dylan tune, It’s All Good, out of my head the last couple days.

Mainly because that’s the impression Joe Mack, the reluctant GM, tried to leave us with in his rambling pontification to the masses, loosely disguised as a Q & A session, Thursday.

The Blue Bombers head honcho came out of his film room just long enough to tell the world how dramatically he’s revamped the mess of a roster Mike Kelly left him with in 2010, how well he’s restocked the shelves with homegrown talent and how brilliant the board of directors running this team is.

Why, then, does it feel like this weekend’s Banjo Bowl, which is supposed to be a celebration of the hottest rivalry in three-down football, is simply the beginning of another death watch?

If Mack was on thin ice before he enlightened us, the cracks have only spread.

And I can’t imagine anyone from CEO Garth Buchko, conspicuous by his absence in Mack’s speech from the throne, to members of that superhuman board throwing him a rope — unless it’s got a knotted loop at the end of it.

In case he hasn’t noticed, Mack’s team is well on its way to finishing with a worse record than Kelly’s.

Last weekend we found out how his players reacted to his firing of the head coach who’d lost the room.

This weekend?

I assume we’ll see some form of push. That’s usually what happens when a team gets a rematch against an outfit that just bloodied its nose.

But you get the sense this is a lightweight on feather legs, one more uppercut away from a hard landing.

Mack may well have been right when he suggested the players are emotionally drained by negativity.

But he was so far off base suggesting it hinged on the death of assistant coach Richard Harris my grandmother could have picked him off.

You want to know what’s drained this team’s emotional tank?

The loss of trusted and respected teammates to free agency, trades, retirement or just somebody’s whim to get rid of them.

No doubt the constant negativity generated by the stadium fiasco didn’t help, but with strong leadership at the top that could have been minimized.

The Bombers don’t have strong leadership at the top, not from the board and not from Buchko, partly because he’s greener than last month’s leftover chicken.

Fired head coach Paul LaPolice did his best to keep things together, and when he got the shiv, you saw what happened: the final straw of negativity that broke the camel’s back.

This team’s talent is decent at many positions, paper thin at others, including leadership and experience.

Its coaching staff includes a game but overmatched offensive co-ordinator new to Canadian ball, a defensive boss who’s now juggling the head man’s duties and special teams prone to complete collapse.

Toss player disillusionment into the mix, and you get 52-0.

This is how we begin the second half of 2012, where preseason question marks have turned into midseason !@#$%!

They say the real CFL season begins on the Labour Day weekend, but all too often it signals the beginning of the end here in Grey Cup-starved Winnipeg. The time of year when the Bombers start their fall into fall.

The time when the clock starts ticking, sometimes on a head coach, sometimes on a GM.

When football fans reluctantly pull out their jackknives and begin carving yet another notch in the deadwood marking the years of futility.

But there’s nothing to worry about.

’Cause it’s all good.


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