Struggling coaches on shaky ground

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:07 PM ET

Unlike the other major team sports, gassing the coach for a quick turnaround doesn't happen that often in football.

That's mostly because it usually doesn't work.

In two CFL cities, speculation of head-coaching firings have become the norm in recent weeks, although the Tiger-Cats took the pressure off Charlie Taaffe with a win over the Toronto Argonauts last week.

Doug Berry is clearly on the hot seat in Winnipeg, but the 1-6 Blue Bombers are taking the opposite approach -- changing some key personnel instead.

Berry already inserted Ryan Dinwiddie for a couple of starts, but now seems set on going back to Kevin Glenn as the starting quarterback.

Blue Bombers GM Brendan Taman hinted all weekend more changes would come and kicker Warren Kean was airlifted in to battle Alexis Serna as step one.

Taman obviously has taken his history lesson. The last time he switched coaches mid-season, the move didn't pay off as Dave Ritchie was fired and replaced by Jim Daley in 2004.

Daley didn't turn the team around, and things got worse the following season and he was let go.

In the CFL, the coaching staff sets a system from early in the calendar year, so changing it is tough. When an interim coach is announced mid-season, he usually comes from the same staff. (The last such move was Jim Popp taking over for Don Matthews midway through 2006. The Als made the playoffs and lost in the Grey Cup). There is one exception to this theory in recent years. Steve Buratto took over the 2000 B.C. Lions from Greg Mohns and finished a mediocre season with a hot streak, winning the Grey Cup over the Alouettes.

Opening drive

The CFL sent out a news release last week tooting its own horn. They have good reason. TV ratings up 19% and fans are seeing a great product. These numbers are through six weeks: Offensive TDs ups 19.2%, total score up 9.8%, while margin of victory is down 20.2% ... There are QB controversies brewing throughout the league. Winnipeg is the most high-profile, but Richie Williams has played well in Hamilton and will make it a tough decision with Casey Printers, while Lions coach Wally Buono put Buck Pierce in for Jarious Jackson. Pulling out wins further muddy the latter two situations. Jackson will likely get another chance, despite having 4.7% of his passes picked off, which is a huge number for a starting quarterback ... Stamps SB Jeremaine Copeland couldn't break out of his funk against the Riders. Copeland had a ball go off his arms to an opponent for an interception. He finished with only two catches for 16 yards, putting him on pace for 650 yards. For a former 1,700-yard receiver, those are miniscule numbers.

Endzone toss

The Ticats finally got a TD pass from a quarterback and one of their receivers soon exploded. Last year's first-overall draft pick Chris Bauman had a 63-yard major, the first of his career, so maybe breaking through will mean he develops into the Andy Fantuz-type player the Ticats expected ... While there are struggles in Bomberland, half the league is getting great kicking this season. Alouettes veteran Damon Duval is leading the way. Duval and Riders K Luca Congi are hitting at a higher than 90% clip, while Calgary's Sandro DeAngelis is at his usual 81% and solid. Since missing his first three attempts, Argos K Mike Vanderjagt is hitting at a rate of 84% ... Saskatchewan finally got an individual award last week when RB Wes Cates was named player of the month. Through their first six weeks -- all wins -- the Riders received no weekly player awards. It's a testament to their team play. Another sign of how tight they are: QB Marcus Crandell broke down crying when asked about Matt Dominguez's career-threatening knee injury ... With three rookies now starting, the Stampeders offensive line has done an amazing job. Through seven games, the group has only allowed seven sacks. Credit veterans Jeff Pilon and Rob Lazeo with pushing guards Jesse Newman and Dimitri Tsoumpas along with the new starter at left tackle, Ben Archibald.

EXTRA POINTS

Eskimos QB Ricky Ray passed former Lions QB Roy Dewalt for 17th in career passing yards by doing it in Dewalt's house, B.C. Place Stadium. Ray also passed the 24,000-yard mark in the same night ... Roughriders LB Anton McKenzie stopped by the media room in Regina jokingly asking those schlubs still working if they were willing to suit up for the team. The Riders lost OL Belton Johnson to a broken fibula -- the fifth such injury this season ... Following the rough first outing against the Riders, the Stamps defence got back on track against the rush. They held Wes Cates to just 20 yards and dropped their average down to 75.9 per game. The Riders are tied for second with Edmonton at 97.1 yards allowed per game.


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