It's been a stormy bye week in Bomberland, with the winds of change knocking over both team president & CEO Garth Buchko and general manager Joe Mack in one fell swoop. But the temporary shelters have been erected; acting CEO Wade Miller and acting general manager Kyle Walters will form the new Blue Bombers brain trust moving forward alongside head coach Tim Burke.
And what is the first order of business?
"With all of the exterior distractions that have been going around this team the last couple days," said Walters, "(Burke) needs to get the team refocused and dialed in for Friday night because really that's all that matters. And all this other stuff, we need to eliminate these distractions from the players and get them going for Hamilton."
But, as it has been for the last few seasons, the quarterback situation remains at the forefront.
Two days after Mack and Buchko were canned, Miller, Walters, and Burke named Max Hall the team's starting quarterback - just 11 days after the club publically stated Justin Goltz would be the starting QB "for the rest of the season."
"I think like most CFL teams, as the quarterback goes the teams go," Walters told TSN 1050 Radio. "And there's been constant flux and turnover and turmoil - all of this at that position - and there hasn't been real consistency. We've had a bunch of different guys go through there with varying levels of success. We've had injuries. We just haven't had the stability that you need at that position which is the most important in Canadian football."
So now the team has hitched their wagon to Max Hall - at least for this week - a CFL rookie who had a brief stint in the NFL and came out of Bombers training camp the No. 3 option. And while the new brain trust says this is a decision made unanimously by the offensive staff as a whole, struggling second-year offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, who recruited Hall to Brigham Young University in 2004 while he was head coach, has his fingerprints all over this move.
"You always try to use the plays in your playbook that help each quarterback," said Crowton. "And the thing that (Hall) does, he can throw in a good rhythm. He gets the ball off quickly with accuracy, and he's aggressive. With that in mind, I'll use the plays in our playbook that will compliment that style of play."
"I'm very excited, and I think the team is responding. I want to take this thing over and run with it," said Hall, who has shown his penchant for leadership. "I've spent extra time with the guys in the film room and on the field, and I can feel an excitement and everybody eager to play this game."
Hall knows he is being pressed into his first CFL action, but is determined to take advantage of the opportunity.
"With more experience you get better, so I'm going to fast-track that a little bit by being a starter, but I feel like I'm in a spot to where I can go and be successful and keep developing at the same time, and I can make the plays on offence that we're missing right now."
Crowton, meanwhile, has been on the hot seat all season as his offence has failed to find any sort of rhythm or consistency.
"I feel comfortable with the CFL game. The biggest thing that we have to do is with our own personnel. No matter what team you're on you have to use your personnel to get the most out of them to win games."
With the team ranking either last or next-to-last in 17 offensive categories, former Tiger-Cats head coach Marcel Bellefeuille was brought in this week as an "offensive consultant" to oversee the offence and provide suggestions.
"Obviously I'm a humble person right now, but at the same time I know I'm a good football coach," added Crowton. "I've won a lot of games. I've won many championships. And I think I can do it here. I'm trying to get the right combination for our team, for this particular team. Getting the right run-pass mixture. Getting the right up-the-field to underneath throws. Taking shots at the right time. One of the biggest disadvantages anybody has that hasn't been in the league… like myself who hasn't been in the league for a long time, is understanding the other coaches in the league. There's some good coaches on the defensive side. And so the more I play, the more I go against these teams then the better I'll be because I'll have more of that experience."
Notes... Veteran kicker Sandro DeAngelis was signed this week and seems to have impressed enough in practice as he will start in place of Justin Palardy this week… Demond Washington returns after missing a game with a suspected abdomen injury… Paul Swiston will start at right guard in place of Steve Morley. When asked if Morley played his way off or Swiston his way on, Tim Burke stated bluntly, "A little bit of both."… Fourth-year running back Chris Garrett, who has yet to dress for a game this year after tearing his Achilles in training camp in 2012, was released on Wednesday, along with import defensive end Marquis Frazier and import defensive back David James.