Bombers in Tee's future?

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

Tee Martin blames the system.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers third-string quarterback feels he did not get a fair shake earlier this season when he took over for injured starter Kevin Glenn.

Martin's first few CFL games had critics whispering that he couldn't quarterback the Oak Park Raiders, let alone a CFL club. In four appearances, he completed just 40 of 95 passes for 458 yards and one touchdown but threw four interceptions.

"That really bothered me," Martin said yesterday. "I felt like the guinea pig. I felt like the experimental puppy out there, getting hit all the time, taking all the shots and taking the shots in the media, too."

Martin, who guided the University of Tennessee Volunteers to the 1998 NCAA football championship and arrived in Winnipeg with much fanfare, said he did all he could under the circumstances.

"It's one of the most erratic seasons I've even been a part of on any team in terms of players, for one, philosophies and systems," the former NFLer said. "If you look at us the first five games of the season and compare those to the next few games, it's totally two different teams.

"You go from a team that was trying to put American football into the CFL and it not working to totally changing and becoming something different. Our philosophies totally changed.

"We were trying to be a running team, in terms of every first down we ran the ball just about. And if we got yardage, fine. If we didn't, we were always stuck with second-and-long yardage, so it became pretty obvious to the defence what we were going to be doing.

"... I just never felt like I had an opportunity to be a CFL-type quarterback."

The Bombers were 0-3 with Martin as a starter, and they lost to Calgary in his only other appearance in early August. After that, Martin said, the quarterbacks and receivers sat down with the coaches and revamped the system.

Not only that, but the team brass made several personnel moves on the offensive line and in the receiving corps.

"We made some changes, and when Montreal came we had a breakout game (with Glenn back at quarterback)," Martin said. "... I'm not the guy in there, so it's looks like something different."

It should be noted that Bombers head coach Jim Daley said basically the same thing back in August that Martin is saying now. When he demoted Martin to No. 3 in favour of Russ Michna four days after the Calgary game, Daley blamed the O-line and the receivers for Martin's poor showing.

"A veteran would have trouble if we're gonna drop five balls," Daley said on Aug. 10. "When Tee went in, he looked good. He looked real good."

What happens next is anyone's guess. Glenn has entrenched himself as the team's No. 1 pivot going into 2006, but Michna and Spergon Wynn are also waiting in the wings.

The Bombers want Martin to come back next year, but he said his terrible experience this season will play a role in his decision about what to do next year.

"I had my trials this year," he said. "Next year, I don't know where I'll be or what situations may come of this, but I just wasn't happy about this season.

"It's the first season in my life that I never felt real happy."


Videos

Photos