Bombers were their own worst enemy

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

The regression is complete.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have gone from the Grey Cup (2001) to the West Division Final (2002) to the West Semifinal (2003) to out of the playoffs (2004).

Head coach Jim Daley, whose contract expires at the end of the year, was asked yesterday what the Bombers need to do this off-season to get things going back the other way.

"I'm not going to comment on that now because we have one more game that we want to focus on," Daley said. "One thing I can mention, without it being a surprise to anybody, is what we have to overcome is ourselves.

"Our nemesis -- and this is no different than most teams in this type of situation -- has been ourselves."

The Bombers believed they had the talent to not only make the playoffs, but to challenge for the Grey Cup as well. It was the mental mistakes that led to penalties and big plays the other way that hurt them the most, according to Daley.

Rookie defensive end Tom Canada believes a major personnel shakeup is on the way.

"The feeling I get from the guys, a lot of the veterans, is that we could foresee some changes," he said. "It's tough."

Canada, who is entering his option year and leads the Bombers with seven sacks, wants to be back next year.

"I hope so. I like this program, I like the town, I like the fans and I hope I can be a part of the next phase. I'd love to be a part of it."

LAST CALL: Daley won't be auditioning players for 2005 when the Calgary Stampeders come to town Friday night.

"We're gonna start our starters and expect them, barring injury, to play the whole way -- at all positions," Daley said.

"The worst thing you can do to the team is to send a message that we're going use it to rotate and evaluate. Then you're telling your team that the game's not important. That's when players get hurt and teams take steps backwards."

HE'LL BE BACK: Bombers SB Milt Stegall, who will finish up his 10th CFL season on Friday night, has no plans to call it a career after this season -- if he has a choice in the matter.

"I'm playing," Stegall shrieked. "Will they bring me back? I don't know. But no, I'm not retiring."

FLYING THE COOP? Taman says close to a dozen players will become free agents this off-season, including defenders Ryland Wickman, Terry Ray, Joe Morgan, Tim Carter and the recently acquired Joe Fleming.

Fullback Scott Regimbald and receiver/DB Markus Howell also see their contracts expire, while receiver Robert Gordon has an out allowing him to play in the Arena League.

Other players, veterans included, could be released outright.

Asked about the status of his quarterback, star receiver and head coach, Taman had the following responses.

On Kevin Glenn: "He's done a pretty good job. The thing I like is he showed up in Edmonton for a big game and did well. Against Hamilton he struggled, but to be honest I don't think he was 100%."

On whether Milt Stegall has a future as a Bomber: "In my opinion, he does."

On Jim Daley: "I think he's done a pretty good job, considering. This isn't really his team, you could say. I just wish we could have won a couple more games to not have a question mark."

Taman says he and Daley will take their rebuilding plans to club president Lyle Bauer, who'll have the final say.

THE FINAL SAY: The Edmonton Journal reports that Commonwealth Stadium public-address announcer, Al Stafford, had this to say over the speakers Sunday when Bombers KR Keith Stokes had a lousy punt return in the second quarter: "We won't be reading about that in a magazine any time soon."


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