Burke, Creehan look to build off experience with each other | CFL.ca | Official Site of the Canadian Football League


WINNIPEG -- Casey Creehan is rejoining old pal Tim Burke and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as their new defensive co-ordinator and linebackers coach, the CFL club announced Thursday.

The move was done with the blessing of Creehan's now former boss, Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach George Cortez.

"He knows that Casey and I are tight, much like his relationship with John Hufnagel in Calgary," said Burke, when asked why Cortez would sanction the lateral shift.

It's also true that Hamilton, like the Bombers, had issues on defence last season. Particularly disappointing for the Bombers, who reached the Grey Cup game in 2011.

Burke says Hamilton had a lot of injuries to deal with, particularly in the secondary.

"The better defences have continuity and consistency and that's one thing we were unable to get done over there in Hamilton in my short stint there," added Creehan.

"We played a number of different combinations there in the secondary and in the defensive line due to injuries and rookies ... There were some things we did really well in Hamilton in spurts but we were inconsistent."

Burke said Winnipeg had similar problems, but not because of rookies.

"First of all we were banged up early," he said, pointing to four road games that opened the season because of construction delays on the new Winnipeg stadium.

"Certainly we did not play up to the level we played at the year before."

Burke says he has already had words with the defence about some of the emotional aspects of their game he felt were lacking.

"I believe we have the talent, we just have to have the great desire and effort. . . When we come back we're going to have the great desire and effort or we're going to be making some changes."

Creehan says he likes the idea of working with a more experienced crew, most of them dating back to his time with the Bombers.

"There's something to be said for experience in this league. That's one of the things I'm looking forward to in coming back to Winnipeg," he said.

He also had lots of nice words for his former and new boss, Bombers general manager Joe Mack.

"What I see is a team that has gotten tremendously better in terms of talent over the years and the one man responsible for that the most more than anybody is Joe Mack," he said.

"I think he's a tremendous evaluator of talent, a great GM, but an even better person."

Creehan coached the linebackers and defensive line in Winnipeg from 2010-2011 before taking the defensive co-ordinator spot with Hamilton.

Burke started last season as Winnipeg's defensive co-ordinator but was promoted to head coach when Paul LaPolice was sacked.

He said he wanted his replacement to be someone who shared his philosophy, and Creehan and Burke have been tight since they worked together in Calgary about seven years ago.

Creehan confirmed they have similar beliefs about what makes a good defence.

"First and foremost ,you have to be able to pressure the quarterback," he said.

"The second thing is you have to be able to disrupt the timing of the quarterback and the receiver. We both believe strongly in playing a fair amount of press-man coverage, which in our opinion is the best way to do that."

One of the positions Winnipeg struggled to get right last season was strong-side linebacker.

Late-season auditions by Johnny Sears and Demond Washington proved successful and Burke says they feel better about their choices going into 2013.

Sears will be having off-season surgery and is a free agent but he has already suggested he'd like to return.

"I think we're going to be OK at that position with those two guys," said Burke.

Fan Comments
als rule
watching NE patriots playing the MIAMI dolphins in miami!!the fishes DE #91 cameron wake ex of the BC lions(CFL) is now in double figures in sacks for the season!!
December 02, 2012 - 3:08pm
Creehan wasn't the reason Hamilton's defense sucked. I'm not a huge fan, but he's had success when he's had talent to work with. He might not be one of those rare guys who gets the absolute most out of what he has, but he's pretty good.

The fan confidence will come when doing the right thing actually works. When you look at what Mack had when he took over and what he has now, the youth and talent level (especially Canadian talent) is an immense upgrade. What's missing is consistency. Being frustrated is completely understandable, but it's continuity that develops consistency. Keeping Mack keeps a very good eye for talent AND provides that continuity. If they are ruining fan confidence right now, I don't care. They're doing what needs to be done and the fans will realize it soon enough.
December 02, 2012 - 1:11am
Not sure that you are right about Canadian talent. They have had four #1 draft picks in the past 2 years and so far two of them (Etienne + Penzer)are complete busts. Don't know if that's on Mack or on Kyle Walters but they wasted 2 first round picks on guys that they could have easily gotten in the third or fourth round. Maybe these guys will be late bloomers but doesn't look good right now. Penzer may have some talent but he has been very injury prone so far in his career.
December 02, 2012 - 6:58pm
I have to give the BB organization credit for one thing. They are never at a loss to find new ways to shoot themselves in the foot.
December 01, 2012 - 7:48pm
"Pressure the quarterback..disrupt the timing of the quarterback and the receiver" Nice philsophy that never quite made it into practice - at least not often - on the Ticats!
November 30, 2012 - 7:41pm
als rule
also sure sounds like fired jeff reinebold!!
December 02, 2012 - 9:58pm
wow....Mack's really going to build fan confidence by signing the guy that ruined the Cats D.
November 30, 2012 - 7:05pm
Actually, Creehan has had his hand on many of the Grey Cup defenses over the years when paired with Burke, including our own just last year. Not to mention that it was Creehan's first year as defensive coordinator with a guy who he hadn't worked with before.
Let's face it, Creehan is awesome and it's a good thing he's back where he belongs.
December 01, 2012 - 10:42am
owever, to Creehan's credit, we we're lacking in talent in that section. But I do agree he didn't do anything to help that situation.

Creehan has done excelllent in Winnipgeg before, so he probably will be fine.

December 01, 2012 - 1:40pm
als rule
we'll see!! feast or famine in the 'peg!! all they need now is jeff"out to lunch"reinebold!! LOL LOL LOL
November 30, 2012 - 11:01am