Blue Bombers coach Tim Burke falls on sword

Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke watches a walk-through at Canad Inns Stadium in Winnipeg, Man.,...

Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke watches a walk-through at Canad Inns Stadium in Winnipeg, Man., Sept. 8, 2012. (JASON HALSTEAD/QMI Agency)

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:11 AM ET

WINNIPEG - I wonder what Paul LaPolice is thinking these days?

Or Joe Mack, for that matter.

The Blue Bombers GM got rid of Coach LaPo in large part because he never did get the Winnipeg offence on track.

Two games without the guy, and the Bombers have yet to score an offensive touchdown.

Another reason Mack gave for the LaPolice hanging was the lack of discipline.

Two games without the guy, and the Bombers have yet to stop that offensive behaviour, as well.

Oh, well, at the rate he's going interim boss Tim Burke is at least going to lead the CFL in one category: mea culpas.

In rehashing one the most devastating defeats we've seen around here in years, Burke picked up his bloodied sword from Sunday's post-game news conference and fell on it again, Monday.

The tip of the blade still pointed directly at his decision to punt instead of try a field goal late in the game, Burke said he "screwed up."

"I felt extremely bad," he said "I felt like I let the team down by making that decision."

The move allowed the Riders a last-play three-pointer to steal the Banjo Bowl, 25-24, a loss that, judging by the tears in the room, tore a hole right through the heart of a team that can't seem to get anything right.

But Burke didn't stop there.

Putting on his defensive co-ordinator's hat for a moment, he said he also blew the defensive approach on Saskatchewan's fatal final drive, three plays that essentially drove a stake through the Bombers' intentions of living to see the post-season.

The Bombers never rushed more than five players on that series, and twice rushed just four. This against a raw rookie passer in Drew Willy.

Corner Jovon Johnson, in his post-game comments, said they were too passive, and Monday Burke, known for an in-your-face, get-to-the-quarterback approach, agreed.

"I wish I would have come after the quarterback more in that situation," he said.

Not that Burke let his players off the hook.

He said they were still trying to do too much on the last drive.

"It's kind of like, I'm not going to be the guy who gives up the long touchdown.' "

He didn't sugarcoat the dumb penalties taken by O-lineman Shannon Boatman, D-lineman Kenny Mainor and special teamer James Green.

"They're definitely going to be fined," Burke said. "And I'm going to talk to them individually about how that affected the team."

Fines, of course, are nothing new. LaPolice did the same thing.

Sometimes you need to do more.

Like cut a repeat offender.

"Eventually it might come to that," Burke said. "We just have to be smarter than that, there's no doubt. Guys are veteran enough at this point that they have to learn from their mistakes. Everyone has to learn from their mistakes."

Including the rookie head coach.

Burke is nothing if he isn't bluntly honest. And it is refreshing.

Might even open a few players' eyes.

"If you're sincere about it, they respect you for it," Burke said. "If it's false... if you're just trying to butter up to 'em or something like that, they read into you, just like your kids always read into you if you're a parent.

"I've always said I'll be totally honest with them. Just like I'm going to be honest with you guys. I screwed up and I'm going to take the blame for it. I feel like I lost the game because I made that decision."

He had plenty of help in that department.

But the rank and file could do well to follow the head man's lead, and look in the mirror before they do anything else.

"Because none of us are going to do things 100% right," Burke said. "Even Paul's not going to write 100% correct articles."

Now there's something his players can probably get behind.


Videos

Photos