The off-season is underway and every team faces questions. Today, I look at three questions concerning the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
1. Will they finally make a quarterback decision?
The time has come for the Bombers to pick a quarterback and go with him. They so desperately want that guy to be Buck Pierce but he just isn't reliable enough to be Winnipeg's starter in 2013. Joey Elliott showed some flashes during his time on the field, but he doesn't look like the answer either. Alex Brink was handed the reins and did pretty much nothing. I think he played himself out of the derby, and maybe out of the league, with his poor performances last year. If Elliott is not the guy going forward it is because Winnipeg went and signed Mike Reilly, Adrian McPherson or Quinton Porter. I've already said I think the Eskimos will go after McPherson, so that leaves Porter and Reilly. After five years in the league, Quinton Porter is what he is: a decent QB, but not a guy you can rely on game in and game out for 18 weeks. Reilly is the unknown, having played sparingly this past season. I think the Bombers make a play for Reilly and name him the starter going into camp. I think Pierce remains with the team as a backup and Elliott goes back to the No. 3 role.
2. What will they do at running back?
Like Edmonton, the Bombers have a running back conundrum of their own. Do they stick with Chad Simpson, who was marvellous in 2012, or do they go back to Chris Garrett, who was going to be the starter in 2012 before he was lost for the year in training camp? This isn't an easy decision, but I expect the Bombers to either bring both to camp or go with Simpson. Garrett looked great filling in for former Bomber Fred Reid a the tail end of 2011, but Simpson was much better in 2012 and the team could ride him like they did Charles Roberts for all those years in the early and mid-2000s. I think if they have to choose one, they should choose Simpson.
3. Will Joe Mack actually do anything this off-season?
Winnipeg's oft-criticized general manager took a beating last off-season for sitting idly by while other teams grabbed players during free agency. Members of his own team blasted him on Twitter for his supposed dithering. When the Bombers got off to their 0-4 start, the calls for Mack's head began. They finished the season tied for the league's worst record with Hamilton at 6-12. But Mack got a reprieve and will get a chance to run the Bombers once again in 2013. But will he change his philosophy and sign some free agents? Will he find a way to not lose some of his own free agents, like Johnny Sears and Jonathan Hefney? Mack used the Bombers 10-8, first-place finish as a reason not to go after guys in free agency, but he doesn't have the afterglow of a Grey Cup appearance this off-season to deflect criticism. I expect the Bombers to be players come mid-February as they attempt to rebuild a team that fell off in 2012.