Bombers optimistic they'll be good enough

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:01 AM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have two games left to decide their playoff picture.

But will Jim Daley's future as the head coach hinge on how they fare in these last matches?

"Everyone's future will be monitored at the end of the season, including mine," club GM Brendan Taman said yesterday. "But it would not be fair to pinpoint Jim. I'm more concerned with making the playoffs now."

Daley took over from Dave Ritchie when the Bombers were 2-5. Although Taman said previously that Daley is not an interim head coach, the Bombers have never disclosed the length of Daley's contract -- at Daley's insistence. And Daley will not comment on that pact.

But Daley believes that the Bombers are good enough to beat the Eskimos in Edmonton on Sunday.

"Back in August, we weren't good enough yet and I said it was our jobs as coaches and players to get good enough," he said. "Whether we're good enough yet will be indicated Sunday.

"We are optimistic. Our team is in great spirits and very anxious to get a chance to play and take a step. We're going against a home team who are the defending champions in our league at a stadium where they've been very successful, and that's life."

GM OPENING? The Calgary Stampeders, you may recall, were interested in hiring Taman a year ago and speculation is that there will be an opening in Ottawa if GM Eric Tillman leaves.

"All that speculation always comes out during Grey Cup week," Taman said with a laugh. "And it's not Grey Cup week yet."

SHOE-GATE: Each player is taking all six pairs of shoes issued to Edmonton to combat the confounding natural-grass surface at Commonwealth Stadium. And the Bombers have been getting shoe-wear tips from former Eskimos Elfrid Payton and Terry Ray.

"I've been in games where, throughout the first two quarters, you just try to figure out what shoes to wear," said receiver Kamau Peterson. "Now, half the game's done. It's crazy. You sit there watching their guys, wondering, 'What's he got on?' So, it plays with you mentally. But now, being around the league, you have more of a sense of what shoe to wear so, you can get that out of your mind and go in there and play."

That's exactly how Daley wants them to deal with it.

"We will prepare for the worst conditions possible," he said. "We want to prepare for the field, not get paranoid over it. We want to have all the options regarding shoes and clothing and bring them with us and the guys choose what's best for them. If we're focusing on the field and worrying about the grass, worrying about cold, worrying about this, that and the other thing, we're not worrying about Edmonton. I don't deal with the paranoia of it, I deal with the reality of it.

"You have to have enough variety of footwear to adapt to the field -- and that can change at halftime as the temperature changes. That's just the way it is. That's our country, that's our weather and it's something we've really handled well this week."

Peterson, by the way, will replace defensive back Boyd Barrett on the roster, Winnipeg's only change from its last game.


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