Eric “The Beltman” Tilman is no more in Hamilton. Expected to be the #1 contender for the Atlantic Schooners franchise as GM - if he hasn’t got a written commitment already.
So much for Winnipeg’s Lost Boys triumvirate (aka Canadian Mafia) reeling in a genuine southern boy silver-tongued charmer.
Both Tilman & Barker are actually silver-tongued charmers - Tilman a bit smoother, Barker a bit of a ruffian with a grizzled exterior.
Barker would have been a fabulous add in Winnipeg. No question about it. However, he would have brought in a certain level of disagreement on low-end players, actually a few high-paid guys, too! Walters & O’Shea are pretty much resigned to loyalty reward stuff with 99% of bomber players so a reasoned/experienced outside voice would not have been tolerated - UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!
Good moves by both teams. Both guys bordering on an excellent history of finding talent.
Shoulda, coulda hired Barker way back when but oh well. Mad Dog Robinson had a better plan if I remember correctly.
Bombers seem amazingly intent to keep their inner circle together. Guessing they are happy with the level of experience and the opportunity to learn together as they go. My theory is the less people know the less they know.
Keeping the team together may be the only secret to success required in 2019 the way things are going with all the defections to the south but eventually the stand pat theory will need to be overhauled.
…Very astute joe…the name of the game will be ‘who can keep it together’ in 19’…We’ve inked a few returnees…no Biggies’ mind you but it will be the way to success this season… the way it’s all starting to play out
Certainly Barker could well have been “yesterdays garbage” if he had been brought aboard 5 or 6 yrs ago. The Bombers tend to operate more a closed shop than any other franchise - when Barker arrived for interviews, weighing in a 325+, wearing sandals and other annoying (to our board) habits, he never had a chance. He was recognized as a ‘Rock-the-Boater’ and thanked profusely for coming in but sent on his way rapidly.
One thing about Barker that belies his California lifestyle and upbringing. He’s an old-boy GM. He’s got southern contacts. He can discern very good players from good to useless players (where guys like O’Shea & Walters defer to conduct & obedience)
And Barker would never, ever, ever put up with the draft stupidity in Winnipeg. Nor would he tolerate the lack of quality American receivers and pushy d-linemen the bombers are well-noted for.
Bombers got lucky with Harris (Wally decided he was all used up) and real lucky with Bighill (salary cap issues in BC) but other than building one of the Top 3 CFL o-lines the bombers loyalty-reward Cdn mafioso group has really done average things, and in many cases less than average things:
Poor U.S.A. recruiting and signing of wide receivers
Lack of killers and hi-end sackers on d-line
Poor recruiting and signing of difference-maker linebackers (Bighill was luck, Santos-Knox has moderate potential)
Signing a limited tool starting QB to far more money than his performance requires
Less than stellar coaching staff (other than Paul LaPolice)
Failure to acquire a burn-baby-burn returner
Stiff CIS drafting (ie. way too many abject failures)
Continued reliance on W. Dressler - even in face of continued fragility and declining stats
Failure of head coach to grow into anything more than a mid-pack CFL coach
And yet, despite all that is bad with the team, we were one win away from going to the GC. I think there are some teams that would gladly accept our type of failures.
I seem to remember Bighill saying he wanted to play for O’Shea.
Good analysis and well written. I swear you would still have the old Tribune in business having been given the chance.
Barker taking over from Adam Rita paid immediate results for the Argos. Trading Steven Jyles for Ricky Ray turned out very well and fits your scouting report alluding to his ability to recognize talent. (Ray - yes, Dalton Bell / Cleo Lemon - not so much)
Regarding Andrew Harris, I believe he had his mind set on coming home regardless of the situation in BC and believe he had a good offer from Wally to remain a Lion. His signing was imo the single biggest factor in the turnaround for the Bombers over the past 3 years and had nothing to do with Kyle Walters or Mike O’Shea influencing the decision. Setting a new standard for offensive coordinator pay in bringing back Lapo was #2 although whether it be complacency or the personnel he has been given to work with hasn’t lived up to the expectation (imo). It did effectively take the #1 contender to replace O’Shea out of that picture though. Furthermore, as much as they hold Andrew Harris so dearly to their hearts now as a player I have a feeling he will get the Doug Brown treatment upon his retirement when all the fans think he should continue on in a managerial position. Hopefully we get a couple more years before that happens.
Good point raised on the WBB forum by 66 Chevelle in that the secret to good recruiting is tied in to having the player agents come to them looking for a place where their clients can shine and impress rather then to sit on a practice roster and not get a chance.
Anyway… hard to move forward when you keep looking back so fingers crossed for a good year ahead.
Special wishes to all those celebrating Ukrainian Christmas. Have fun and enjoy.
Standard WBB operating procedure to have newly signed players gush about O’Shea in return for the lucrative signing bonuses they give out. Just a bit too much Wade in it for me to think Bighill did not get the $225 by way of an unreported $50,000 signing bonus.
That said he played his heart out and was full value for the money. He will be tough to replace if they lose him.