Looking for revenge

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:00 AM ET

Jim Daley might have trouble pronouncing Syniker Taylor's name, but he's certain he can play some football.

Call him Senika (as Daley referred to him yesterday) or call him Bill; as long as he can help the struggling Winnipeg Blue Bombers defence, the team and its fans will be most grateful.

The Bombers plucked Taylor, a defensive back who can also play linebacker, off the Ottawa Renegades practice roster Tuesday, which means, as per CFL rules, he must be on the roster this Saturday night when Winnipeg hosts the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the second annual Banjo Bowl at Canad Inns Stadium.

In addition, the Bombers officially welcomed former Roughriders defensive back/linebacker Santino Hall, who is also expected to play Saturday.

Taylor and Hall will be asked to plug holes in a leaking and injury-riddled Bombers defence that has struggled mightily in two straight losses. Winnipeg (3-8) desperately needs to beat Saskatchewan (4-6) to remain in the West Division playoff race.

Hall, whom Saskatchewan released last month because coach Danny Barrett said he "took things for granted" after being named their 2004 rookie of the year, would love nothing more than to face his former team.

"Real bad," Hall said. "There'd be a lot of payback, a lot of payback. Just to show them what they let go."

At practice yesterday, Syniker was at one starting halfback position, Stanford Samuels was at the other, and Hall was playing dime back.

As for the halfbacks who played in Sunday's 45-26 loss at Saskatchewan, Justin Coleman is dealing with rib and foot injuries, while Brad Franklin might have to move to cornerback to replace Omar Evans, who has a neck injury and didn't practise yesterday.

INSIDE

"In both cases, it's very, very important that they're inside players for us," Daley said. "We have an abundance of guys who can play the corner, but the inside positions are very hard to find.

"... When you get injuries on a short week, you can't bring in guys who have never been in the CFL. I hope they're ready."

Taylor, 25, is another CFL sophomore who, like Hall, had a rough start to the season. He showed up at Renegades camp overweight and was suspended, although he claims he had to go home to deal with personal issues.

He returned to the team a few weeks into the season and has worked himself back into shape.

"I'm happy," said Taylor, who had 25 tackles, 11 special teams tackles, one fumble return and one interception in 13 games last season.

"I love playing defensive back. I love covering and coming down and blowing things up."

Hall, 24, said his release from the Riders happened only because he was mad about not getting enough playing time. If that was wrong, then he doesn't want to be right.

"It was a lot of stuff I'm mad at that they put in the paper that wasn't true," he said. "You know, false things the coaches and staff said.

"... They felt that I didn't want to be there. It wasn't that I didn't want to be there. I just felt I should be on the field."

To make room for Taylor and Hall, the Bombers released defensive back Jemonte Battle.


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