Irving: Change in philosophy underway in Winnipeg | | Official Site of the Canadian Football League

It's been barely more than a week since CEO Garth Buchko and General Manager Joe Mack were let go by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, but already the new people in charge have orchestrated a fundamental shift in philosophy regarding the recruitment of players. 

Mack was always reticent to bring in players who were released by other CFL teams, especially veteran players. He felt that any player who was cut by another club had to be deficient in some area - if he's not good enough for them, how could he be good enough for us? 

And Mack rarely waded into the free agent market, believing that you usually wound up overpaying for free agents. That approach to recruiting talent will no longer be adhered to.
Acting General manager Kyle Walters and head coach Tim Burke, no doubt with the endorsement of acting CEO Wade Miller, made their first move in changing the Bombers player recruitment approach by signing defensive back Bo Smith on Tuesday. 

Smith played 5 seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats before being released this spring and Burke said he's the kind of veteran player who already understands the CFL game, who could step right in if needed, and who can provide immediate competition for Winnipeg's current defensive backs, some of whom are struggling.  

"Yes, it's definitely the beginning of a fundamental shift in how we recruit players. We are going to acquire players however we need to acquire them, whether we bring them up ourselves from the U.S., sign free agents, take people that other people have released, or draft them.  We have to do it better," said Burke.  

"Players change teams in this league all the time and have success.  Keron Williams got cut by the Stampeders, we picked him up in Montreal, and he has been an all-star with the Als and now with BC. We are going to do whatever it takes to make us a better team.  If somebody comes available now that's good, we'll go after them.  It's not going to happen overnight but we are going to keep working at it."
Burke pointed to the Saskatchewan Roughriders as the perfect example of a successful team that added players from other CFL teams.

"If you look at their roster, they are full of vets. They have done a great job in free agency, including picking our pockets(Brendon LaBatte).  They've acquired guys like Rey Williams, who Hamilton cut.  They have done just a great job of putting their team together," he said.

"And defensive tackle Kevin Huntley was cut by Toronto and now he's a starter in Calgary.  We will consider bringing on board any productive CFL veteran who becomes available.  Our team has been too young and too inexperienced the last couple of years and that has to change."

About Bob

Bob Irving has covered the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for CJOB Radio in Winnipeg since 1973. Bob is the Sports Director at CJOB and is in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, reporters division. Follow Bob on Twitter @BobIrvingCJOB

Fan Comments
Next move should be at QB...Pierce is a stiff that can't remain upright for more than one game,Goltz is not better.So you have two stiffs at QB.
August 25, 2013 - 10:26am
Having McCullough and Isaac (Toronto "rejects"! - correction McCullough was a FA signing) likely back from injury won't hurt the Ticats chances at all, although the rookies have been doing a decent job the last couple of games.
August 23, 2013 - 10:59am
,,,,being realistic I have to go with Hamilton on Saturday,,,,Glenn s the pro knows the game home,,,,Winnipeg s Hall only his second full game,,,,
August 22, 2013 - 8:14pm
We've seen lots of "new philosophies" in the Peg over the past 10 years, but so far they have all had the same result. Will this be any different? We'll see. Talk is cheap!!
August 22, 2013 - 3:41pm
als rule
rough waters still ahead for the BBs at least until their mess gets cleaned up by bossman wade miller!!
August 22, 2013 - 6:10pm
At least you know the Ottawa Redblacks won't be taking away there players.The bad news is that Ottawa will get a lot of good players off of other taems and the competition for other free agents will be competitive.But I hope all teams have competitive teams next year because that makes cfl a better product.
August 22, 2013 - 1:23pm
The Ottawa REDBLACKS will be taking 3 players from each team, period.
August 22, 2013 - 3:20pm