Gary Crowton offence one of the Blue Bombers' worst

Blue Bombers offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI Agency file photo)

Blue Bombers offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI Agency file photo)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:42 PM ET

WINNIPEG - When Paul LaPolice received a contract extension in the spring, the situation was eerily similar to Doug Berry’s back in 2008.

Their teams had just been to the Grey Cup. Both were going into their third seasons.

Little did either know it, their offensive co-ordinators were about to help get them fired.

LaPolice’s mistake was hiring Gary Crowton, a risk to begin with because he had never experienced the three-down game before.

LaPolice wasn’t happy at the time about my comparison between Crowton and Berry’s inexperienced CFL offensive co-ordinator, Kit Cartwright. He intimated that Cartwright, whose struggles led to Berry’s firing (sound familiar?), couldn’t hold Crowton’s jock strap.

Well, it turns out it’s the other way around, because Crowton is producing an offensive output this season that is right on par with the one Mike Kelly hacked up in 2009. And that’s saying something.

The Sun decided to take a look at the Bombers’ offensive numbers through 14 weeks of the last seven CFL seasons, which in Winnipeg means a closer examination of the work of five co-ordinators.

Not surprisingly, Crowton’s numbers are among the worst the team has produced over the last seven seasons. Kelly’s stats were almost as terrible, and he didn’t even have Buck Pierce to work with for a few games. Crowton’s crew is dead last in three of the CFL’s four main offensive categories, while Kelly brought up the rear in only two of them.

It’s apparent through “no comments” from offensive players recently that not everyone is on the same page as their co-ordinator. The Bombers have scored nearly twice as many points in the second half as they have in the first this season, which signifies Crowton is OK at halftime adjustments but not much for game planning north of the border.

Dropped balls and bad decisions haven’t helped the Bombers, but it ultimately falls on Crowton, who has been running the show on his own since LaPolice got fired. Even more damning for Crowton and GM Joe Mack’s decision to fire LaPolice is the fact the offence has gotten much worse since the head coach got the boot.

Surprisingly, the best offensive numbers the Bombers have produced over the last seven seasons came under LaPolice’s watch in 2010, when they finished with their worst record (4-14) during that span. That’s the year they lost nine games by four points or fewer and had Pierce for parts of only five games. That’s also the year they had an experienced backup in Steven Jyles.

So this was basically a round-about way of telling you something you already knew: Crowton’s offence is not good. Now you have statistical proof that it is one of the worst.

WRONG WAY

A look at Winnipeg’s key offensive numbers (per game) from the day Paul LaPolice was fired and what they are today:

Aug. 25                      Oct. 3

Points 22.0                 19.8

Yards 348.9                316.4

Rush 90.0                   92.6

Pass 278.1                  245.0

==========

NUMBER CRUNCHING

==========

We took a look at the numbers produced by Winnipeg’s offensive co-ordinators at this point of the last seven seasons. The totals at the bottom are each co-ordinator’s combined placings, so the lower the number the better.

Points

1. 10 LaPo (26.5)

2. 07 Cartwright (24.4)

    11 LaPo (24.4)

3.

4. 08 Cartwright (20.5)

5. Crowton (19.8)

6. Kelly (19.7)

7. Gibson (18.1)

Total Yards

1. 07 Cartwright (396)

2. 10 LaPo (381)

3. 08 Cartwright (374)

4. 11 LaPo (344)

5. Gibson (326)

6. Crowton (316)

7. Kelly (287)

Rush Yards

1. 10 LaPo (138)

2. Kelly (125)

3. Gibson (115)

4. 11 LaPo (102)

5. 07 Cartwright (97)

6. Crowton (92)

7. 08 Cartwright (89)

Pass Yards

1. 07 Cartwright (315)

2. 08 Cartwright (302)

3. 10 LaPo (263)

4. 11 LaPo (261)

5. Crowton (245)

6. Gibson (232)

7. Kelly (180)

TOTALS

(lowest total wins)

10 LaPo — 7

07 Cartwright — 9

11 LaPo — 14

08 Cartwright — 16

Gibson — 21

Crowton — 22

Kelly — 22

 


Videos

Photos