Bombers on target

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:12 AM ET

How quickly things change in football. After starting the CFL season with a loss to the Montreal Alouettes, there was talk around Winnipeg that Blue Bombers GM Brendan Taman would be on a short leash, ready to take the fall for a poor start.

Three straight victories later, Taman received a contract extension yesterday from the Blue Bombers for building a championship contender.

Following a 5-13 season in 2005, Taman removed head coach Jim Daley, replaced him with Doug Berry and revamped a defence that was one of the worst in league history.

Still, Taman is lucky. His signing of suspended NFLer Onterrio Smith backfired, it took linebacker Kyries Hebert more than a week to get into the country and all the Bombers' offensive weapons have stayed healthy and productive.

In Hamilton, where head coach Greg Marshall was fired yesterday, several off-season changes on offence, such as bringing in quarterback Jason Maas, running backs Josh Ranek and Corey Holmes, and receivers Terry Vaughn and Kwame Cavil, haven't translated to wins. It's amazing how much a couple of bounces can mean the different between 3-1 and 0-4. It's also stunning how management reacts with 14 games remaining on the schedule.

OPENING DRIVE: Two CFL veterans lost their cool this weekend in completely uncharacteristic blowups. In Toronto, Bombers receiver Milt Stegall went after defensive back Clifford Ivory after the Argo hit fellow receiver Andrae Thurman. In Edmonton, Eskimos DL Joe Montford kicked Lions OL Rob Murphy in the groin after he was knocked to the turf, earning an ejection in his first game this season. Stegall got off easy, only taking a 10-yard objectionable conduct penalty. It just goes to show how frustrating football can be, even for veterans ... Hard to imagine anyone doing a better job placating the eight board of governors better than Tom Wright. In announcing Wright wouldn't seek a contract extension last week, chairman of the board Gene Dunn said the commissioner did an admirable job cooling off arguments from the members. What did he really do wrong then? ... It was Flag Day in Edmonton Friday. The Eskimos were called 23 times for 227 yards in penalties against B.C. The number of flags tied the franchise record while the yardage was the most against the Eskimos ever. The special-teams unit was hit for several of those penalties, three on one play. Discipline is a problem that has plagued the Eskimos since the start of last season and must be addressed.

ENDZONE TOSS: Another game in Edmonton, another complaint about the Commonwealth Stadium surface. This time, B.C. Lions coach Wally Buono wondered why the Eskimos would water the surface four hours before game time. Further compounding Buono's frustration was a nasty thunderstorm that rolled through before halftime. The Lions didn't adapt and the Eskimos controlled the run game in the second half. "We know Commonwealth plays to our advantage," said Esks receiver Ed Hervey. "They looked like they were a totally defeated team when the field was wet." ... Even if someone wants to argue who has the best-looking cheerleaders, the Argos shouldn't care -- they have the toughest. Bombers kick returner Albert Johnson III took out one member of the cheer team Saturday after getting pushed out of bounds, sending her flying backwards. Johnson immediately made sure she wasn't hurt and was impressed with her toughness. "That was amazing," Johnson told the Winnipeg Sun. "I think she set the standard for the rest of the cheerleaders in the league: Get in the weight room." ... The Lions released DB Sam Young after benching him in favour of LaVar Glover last week.

EXTRA POINTS: Several teams would be interested in receiver Trevor Gaylor if the Esks release him. Although he is prone to dropping the ball, Gaylor would be a nice addition to most teams after falling out of favour in Edmonton ... Winnipeg extended the contract with radio broadcaster CJOB last week, meaning listeners will get to enjoy play-by-play man Bob Irving until 2011. He's one of the best in the league in that capacity ... Coolest name of a player debuting last week: Shockmain Davis with the Bombers ... Not that it's an excuse but how different would the Ticats season have gone if both RBs Josh Ranek and Corey Holmes had been healthy ... All the talk in Regina was about how the 'Riders are over Henry Burris. It appears they are under his thumb, having gone 0-3 against Calgary since the QB left.


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