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May 6, 2016

Blog: Off-Season Update

Mid-January is annually a period where CFL teams begin planning for the upcoming season, despite it being months away. With no single standalone topic to bring you today, I thought I would share some thoughts and happenings around our football operations and the CFL to date.

 

The Schedule

Multiple drafts of the 2016 CFL schedule have been circulating over the last month. This is quite the process, and it should be noted that the league does a commendable job on trying their best to accommodate all clubs. Every CFL team will submit specific requests in terms of preferred calendar dates, but the league office has the challenge of putting it all together. To give you an example, one draft had our first three weeks a certain way, but the next version had us playing three completely different opponents in our first three games. I assure you Wade is doing everything he can to make the schedule as accommodating as possible for our fans, but he also has to take into account the Head Coach’s suggestions. As much as they appreciate and understand the fans, they look at a schedule much differently: “Days between games, travel and logistical scenarios, and back-to-back’s are always things you look at throughout this process,” said Head Coach Mike O’Shea. “Logistics are a big part of it. Can you get out of that city that night? What time is the game? And depending on that, are you able to do your meetings and/or walkthrough in Winnipeg before leaving? These, among other considerations, are what we have to look at.”

 

Paul LaPolice

Offensive Coordinator Paul LaPolice is back in the stadium working vigorously on his 2016 offence. I stopped in to see him yesterday, and asked him what he’s been up to. He immediately jumped into a long explanation about everything from formations to protections with the look of a mad scientist in his eyes.  He’s excited and in his element, that much is very obvious.

 

Free Agency

Free Agency is fast approaching (February 9th). All of our social networks will have behind-the-scenes footage, including comments throughout the day from GM Kyle Walters. As I’ve mentioned in the past, teams go into the offseason with a list of potential free agent targets, however those plans are constantly changing as players get removed from the market. As Free Agency draws closer, key pieces of our organization are consulted on their thoughts on the club’s needs. In our case, quarterback Drew Willy has been in touch with Kyle and Coach O’Shea on multiple occasions. You always want your franchise quarterback’s thoughts on changes to the offence (in this case). It should be an interesting day.

 

Alex Suber

A few weeks ago, former Blue Bomber Alex Suber called. He and I keep in touch quite regularly, but rarely do we speak over the phone. When I saw his incoming call, I was intrigued. He told me he was retiring, and was wondering if we would be open to signing him on a one-day contract. Very few players I’ve worked with over my time here have loved the city and the Bombers like Alex Suber, so I told him it was a great idea, but we would need to clear it with the General Manager. Kyle answered without hesitation, “absolutely”. Suber played and started 65 games over his time here (2010-2014), and did a lot in the community that most never knew about. It was an honour for us as an organization to have him reach out and ask to retire as a Bomber, and it shows the lasting impression the city, the fans and our organization made on him. Congrats on the career, Alex.