Preaching patience

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

Where is the screaming? Where is the yelling? Where are the threats of change?

They're certainly not coming out of Lyle Bauer's office.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers president and CEO obviously isn't happy that his team is 3-8 and in the CFL's West Division basement, but he was nothing but serene yesterday when discussing the state of his organization's on-field product.

In essence, Bauer's message to fans is to be patient.

Winnipeg is playing host to the Grey Cup next year, and while the Bombers haven't given up on this season -- they are only two points out of third place, after all -- a lot of what is being done this season is geared towards playing in the Grey Cup at Canad Inns Stadium.

"To be a part of it as a home team is the ultimate," Bauer said, "but that's very difficult to do.

"... We're definitely not giving up on this year, but '05 and '06 planning really tied together. And if there's a year we have to take our lumps, it's going to be this year, and we knew it."

The Bombers started 0-4 after losing starting quarterback Kevin Glenn to injury, but they won three of their next five when he returned.

AT A NEW LOW

However, they've lost two straight to teams that were 0-8 and on a five-game losing streak, respectively, and they now find themselves at a new low.

But you won't find any doom, gloom or rage from Bauer, who has joined head coach Jim Daley in taking a glass-half-full approach as the team builds for the future.

"We are seeing improvement," Bauer said. "The other day (a 45-26 loss to Saskatchewan) there were some good signs in certain areas, but there were other areas that let us down, and it's frustrating for everybody.

"And it's not acceptable, so we'll have to keep pushing, and if it means other talent, new people, then that's what it's gonna be."

Bauer refuses to evaluate the performances of Daley and general manager Brendan Taman in mid-season -- or even make them public when he does -- but he indicated that the duo is place in to make the run at the Cup.

Bauer, a former Bombers offensive lineman who has battled throat cancer for almost a year, pointed out that this season has been a trying time for not only himself, but for many of his employees.

"We've faced a lot of challenges," said Bauer, who said he's "doing well" in his battle against cancer. "That's not an excuse. That's reality. You lose your defensive co-ordinator (Rod Rust), we've had umpteen interruptions -- personal health problems ... or family issues. Some of them are public, and some of them will never be public.

"... We're not fooling anybody. There's deficiencies, and our guys know it. And there's some areas that I guess they thought we had the people. Maybe we do, maybe we don't.

"But there's a lot of intangibles this year, unlike any other I've seen, that have an effect."

Bauer just wants to see continued improvement during the team's final seven regular-season games. He will continue to provide the spending money -- even if it means staying in debt for another year -- to make the team better.

"We are keeping pace. We are spending money," he said. "Now, whether we're spending it in the right places, I guess that all remains to be seen."


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