November 29, 2012
Bombers' QB plan a 'roll of the dice'
By Paul Friesen, QMI Agency
Head coach Tim Burke doesn’t expect the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will be able to repeat what the Toronto Argonauts did last off-season.
Where the Argos traded for proven quarterback Ricky Ray and marched all the way to a Grey Cup championship, the Bombers are likely going to have to roll the dice on a quarterback with less experience.
“It’s always going to be a roll of the dice,” Burke told the Winnipeg Sun, Wednesday. “You’d always love to be able to find a Ricky Ray or a Henry Burris who has a proven track record. But there doesn’t seem to be those guys out there this year. And to make a trade for somebody, there’s only so many guys who are Grey Cup calibre quarterbacks.
“Just looking at the field right now, you’d have to say you’re probably going to have to go with a guy who hasn’t proved that he’s a Grey Cup calibre quarterback, yet.”
Burke’s comments would appear to diminish the chances of the Bombers swinging a trade with Calgary for veteran Kevin Glenn.
More likely, Winnipeg would pursue a younger quarterback on the free agent market, like, potentially, B.C.’s Mike Reilly.
“There are some guys out there that we’d definitely have a look at,” Burke said, declining to comment on specific players still under contract. “The trouble with the free agents that might become available is there’s not a lot of playing time for those guys.”
One quarterback almost certain to be in the mix next season is Buck Pierce.
Just where Pierce fits in remains to be seen.
“His durability is a factor,” Burke said. “Can Buck be the starter or does he have to be relegated to a backup’s role? It’s going to take a while to sort itself out.”
Burke wants Pierce back, and says Pierce told him he’ll return in whatever role the Bombers need him.
There may not be room for all of Pierce’s backups from last season, though.
Burke says while a decision hasn’t been made on Joey Elliott or Alex Brink, he’d like the Bombers to re-sign pending free agent Justin Goltz and give him a legitimate chance.
“I just have a gut feeling that Justin has a lot of the intangibles... he’s a highly skilled guy, he can run, he’s got a really good arm,” the coach said.
Burke said the maximum number of quarterbacks to take a good look at in training camp is three.
Before making a call on his quarterbacks, Burke is looking to hire a defensive co-ordinator. He’s talked to three candidates, believed to include former Saskatchewan head coach Greg Marshall, and wants to make a decision within a couple of weeks.
He’s also preparing for the possibility of hiring a new special teams co-ordinator to replace Kyle Walters.
Walters is a candidate for Winnipeg’s assistant GM position, vacant since the end-of-season firing of Ross Hodgkinson.