'No doubt' about Bauer

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 5:32 PM ET

As a head coach in pro sports, sometimes you have to push and prod, sometimes you have to take a step back and sometimes you have to rant.

Take the same approach all the time, and people will tune you out.

The same goes for a sports columnist.

So no, we're not going to call for the firing of Winnipeg Blue Bomber president and CEO Lyle Bauer, general manager Brendan Taman and head coach Jim Daley.

Sure, the Bomber brass has lost most of its lustre this season. In fact, it's tarnished to the point where some people want to throw the whole works out and start over again.

A 5-12 record will do that. A performance like Saturday's 41-1 loss in Vancouver makes you think the cleaning staff and receptionist should probably go, too.

"In this business there probably are no guarantees for anybody," Bauer was saying yesterday. "And that includes me."

We're sorry to disappoint the lynch mob out there, but Bauer doesn't have anything to worry about.

"He's rock solid," Bomber board chairman Ken Hildahl said yesterday. "There's absolutely no doubt in my mind or the board's mind, whatsoever, that he's the person for the job. Absolutely, no question on that. What other changes will take place, time will tell. But, no, I don't think it's at the point where we have to panic."

Why the unwavering vote of confidence?

Because when Bauer took over the reins of this community owned team 5 1/2 years ago, it was on legs like Bambi's, quivering under the weight of a debt fast approaching $6 million.

Today it's a couple hundred thousand bucks shy of breaking even.

Bauer also has a contract that runs through 2008, so he's not going anywhere.

On the football side, though, he's coming to a crossroads.

So far, his decisions to promote Taman and Daley have failed.

Will he remain patient, or will he clean house?

You get the feeling he's going to give both an opportunity to turn this mess around, or, at least show they've got a plan to do it. One that's put together with more than duct tape and bailer twine.

"We will close out the season on Sunday," Bauer said. "And then we'll move forward with letting people review what has gone on, what changes need to be made in their respective areas of responsibility. And then we'll move forward."

There are those who think Taman and Daley should get the axe, now.

Then what? Go into a Grey Cup season with a whole new set of coaches, a new philosophy and yet another rebuilding plan?

Daley's only been in charge 14 months. He's had one off-season to put his team together. He deserves a second, assuming we can agree he's made some progress.

Not sure about that? Then you've forgotten how bad the Bomber offensive line and receivers were earlier this season. Daley and Taman rebuilt those, either through trades or by turning over every rock they could find.

Asking them to rebuild the defence at the same time was apparently too much to ask, and when defensive co-ordinator Rod Rust left because of a family emergency, the patchwork dam gave way. This Sunday, against Calgary, the defence will likely put its name in the record books by giving up the most total yards in CFL history.

Injuries, retirements and holdouts have also contributed to this mess.

And yes, so has the coaching staff. A guy with Daley's attention to detail shouldn't field a team that allows five punt blocks, or can't convert on short yardage.

So put the head man and the GM on notice, by all means. One more off-season to prove they can do the job.

Tying the can to either or both now just opens up another one.

One that might smell even worse.

Contact Paul at pfriesen@wpgsun.com or 632-2788.


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