Backups bombing

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

If the CFL gave out an MVP award (instead of most outstanding player), Milt Stegall would be the definite favourite.

His toughest competition for this non-existent award might come from the man who threw him the ball for the first seven games of this season.

Right now, it's hard to tell who is more valuable to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2006. Some would say the troubles the Bombers had without quarterback Kevin Glenn in the lineup are because none of the backups (Mike Quinn, Brad Banks and Russ Michna) had any accuracy.

With Stegall out, though, there really wasn't anybody to throw the ball to. It's a chicken vs. egg thing.

And we may never find out who is more valuable to the Bombers. Stegall and Glenn were injured in the same game, the team lost three straight without them and both are 99.5% (in coach Doug Berry's words) ready to return for the Labour Day Classic at Saskatchewan. Berry pretty much confirmed Glenn will be back by releasing Quinn yesterday, while Stegall should slide back in to replace Kwame Cavil, who broke his ankle against Toronto.

WOES CONTINUE: The giant mess that is the Hamilton Tiger-Cats just keeps getting worse. After getting blown out for the second straight week by Saskatchewan Saturday, the Ticats released offensive co-ordinator Joe Paopao and offensive line coach Kani Kauahi yesterday.

The Ticats have no TDs in their last three home games in Paopao's system that was underutilizing running back Corey Holmes, had little creativity and gave up the ball way too often. It's silly to think head coach Greg Marshall was fired after four games in which the Ticats lost by 35 combined points. In the past three defeats, Hamilton has been outscored by 92. They even shipped DT Adriano Belli back to Montreal yesterday for DT Clinton Wayne (the most traded guy in the CFL) and LB Phillip Gauthier. The Stamps are still a little embarrassed they gave Hamilton one of its two wins this season.

OPENING DRIVE: New Roughriders GM Eric Tillman may have a tough time releasing Danny Barrett at the end of the season if the head coach continues to strike a chord with his players. A Grey Cup win might be the only way to ensure Barrett gets an offer beyond this season and that idea might be a good way to motivate the team. Barrett kept practice closed for a couple days and had the 'Riders focused on avoiding a letdown against Hamilton by playing us against the world. It was a good move ... Donald Brady is serious about his comeback with the Eskimos. The 32-year-old is leaving a sick father back on Long Island and could help give the Esks a boost this week heading in Labour Day ... It's obvious WR Elijah Thurmon hasn't been in Calgary long. He should know there is no fifth member of a bobsled team, which he joined for the TD celebration last week in Montreal.

ENDZONE TOSS: The Lions should be nice and prepared to face the Alouettes this week in Montreal. B.C. will have had 13 days off when they invade Molson Stadium, then only have a return game in Vancouver (Sept. 16) before its schedule gets busier ... Before the season started, a smart bettor would have put his paycheque on Ricky Williams falling in love with the CFL -- which he revealed he is last week. The CFL offers 41/2-hour workdays, good (but not great) money and a chance for a player to live a quiet life in the community. Williams is already talking about returning to Canada when his NFL obligations are met. "I come to work, I go home, play with my kid, walk to the store," Williams told a Toronto newspaper. "It's really nice. I get to teach. It's wonderful here."

EXTRA POINTS: Winnipeg is finding out what being a Grey Cup host city is like. Every time a team comes into Canad Inns Stadium, they picture themselves winning the Grey Cup on its turf. Beating the Blue Bombers is just a side benefit, which B.C. and Toronto have done in the past two starts ... The CBC's Darren Flutie summed up Hamilton's first-quarter performance Saturday, when the offence had minus-10 yards: "I'm laughing but it's not funny" ... The Alouettes will need to expand on the 20,202 seats at Molson Stadium if they hope to ever make money but are experiencing resistance from the surrounding community because of noise concerns. The Stadium could compete for the loudest in the CFL, especially when the PA announcer leads the crowd in an extended rendition of Bennnnn Cahooooooooon!


Videos

Photos