November 11, 2008
There's no easy fixDumping Glenn may not be the answer
By JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA
The oddity still strikes us as bizarre.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers signed head coach Doug Berry to a three-year contract extension on the eve of the 2008 CFL campaign, then were too embarrassed to announce it as the club stumbled and bumbled to an 0-4 start.
In fact, the Bombers still haven't announced the move, possibly because they are still flustered by an 8-10 record and an early exit from the playoffs after a Grey Cup appearance last year.
So now what?
The easy, quick-fix answers are to fire the head coach, fire GM Brendan Taman, terminate president/CEO Lyle Bauer and/or ditch starting quarterback Kevin Glenn.
Firing Berry would be an admission that Taman made a mistake in not only hiring him but quietly granting him the extension. That would also mean that Taman would be found wanting again so Bauer would have no other choice but to tell him to follow Berry out the door. Of course, that would mean that Bauer made a mistake when he granted Taman a one-year extension so his own head would be fitted for a noose.
But we doubt if any of the tall foreheads are stupid enough to signal his own death knell.
That brings us to Kevin Glenn. We may have been the first to promote him as the Most Outstanding Player in the East a year ago but he was not even the MOP of his own team this season.
Statistically, Glenn's numbers were not that far off those of last year but stats don't win the big games, and that's where Glenn was found most wanting. Glenn could not get the job done in the Eastern semifinal against Edmonton, the Bombers' biggest game of the year. Nor could be do it against the Eskimos in Edmonton, against the Stampeders in Calgary and so on.
"Sometimes, performance numbers don't necessarily reflect back on one individual per se, exclusively," said Berry, who was most critical of his offence after the semifinal loss. "Sometimes, it can be the people that are playing around you. Certainly, the offence in general did not perform to the way we did a year ago and that's about all I want to say on that."
Yet, the best quarterbacks in history take the blame on themselves, grab the bull by the horns and spark their teams to victory one way or another. Even quiet guys like Ricky Ray. If Glenn is unwilling or unable to do those types of things, it is time to find someone who can.
But there's the rub. Unless Calgary, Edmonton or Montreal is willing to trade their starting QB to Winnipeg, replacing Glenn with an unproven CFLer would be a gamble. Hand the reins to Ryan Dinwiddie or Bryan Randall, then suffer through their growing pains for the next couple of years -- and extend the club's Grey Cup drought. Go after Kerry Joseph or Michael Bishop and suffer through their inconsistencies.
Berry, who benched Glenn for three games during the first half of the season, blamed injuries for the inconsistent offence in the early going. But this is still an attack that boasted three 1,000-yard receivers, an all-star tailback and an offensive line that allowed the second-fewest sacks in the league. So, there is more to its failing than injuries and that's when you look to the leader.
Glenn, whose wife is expecting their first child in March, would prefer to stay put but seemed resigned to the possibility that he could be moved elsewhere.
"If I'm wanted here, then that's the place for me to be," he said.
But if the Bombers are going to get rid of Glenn, they must make sure his replacement is better. Or suffer another embarrassment.