Blue QB spot wide open

Kevin Glenn was the starting QB last year for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, but he has plenty of...

Kevin Glenn was the starting QB last year for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, but he has plenty of challengers in training camp this season. (Winnipeg Sun/Brian Donogh)

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:20 AM ET

There are a few things you can count on when a new football coach takes over a losing team.

With apologies to Jim Daley, most don't talk about rebuilding. They'd rather tell you the team isn't that far from being competitive.

They'll usually say there are some good players, that it's just a matter of adding a few parts and changing the system or the attitude.

Invariably, they'll also say no player should be comfortable -- that every job is up for grabs.

Since taking over in December, first-year Blue Bombers head coach Doug Berry has followed the script pretty well, especially the part about nobody having a job locked up.

Unlike Daley, he's also refused to anoint Kevin Glenn as the starting quarterback going into training camp.

Berry wants everybody on their toes, and as Glenn took the field for his first workout with the rookies yesterday, the new boss rammed that point home with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

"I just don't know that Kevin Glenn is the quarterback," Berry said. "He's got to prove it to me. I haven't seen it on the field."

It was suggested Glenn at least has the upper hand on his three competitors for the job -- Russ Michna, Brad Banks and Mike Quinn -- because of his CFL resume.

"Yeah, but what is it? What has he accomplished?" Berry asked.

You know, the 27 touchdown passes last year, coach.

"Yeah, but what was the team's record? The ultimate quarterback takes his team to victory."

Regardless of the talent around him?

"Regardless."

Bomber fans, settle in for a good, old-fashioned shootout: four gunslingers, four weeks, one man left standing in the huddle.

When's the last time we've seen the pivot spot this wide open -- the Jeff Reinebold days?

That Berry won't say the No. 1 job is Glenn's to lose is one thing.

That he won't even give the vet an edge over relative CFL neophytes like Michna, Banks and Quinn is another, entirely.

When Berry looks at Glenn, he sees a quarterback who went 5-9 as a starter last season (he missed the better part of four games with injuries).

What he'd like to see is Glenn in an entirely different offence than what the Bombers ran in '05. "The format of the offence here isn't my style," Berry said. "Let me observe him in a setting where he's got five wide receivers. And when you look at him in that aspect, he's got the capabilities."

Berry's top three traits for a successful quarterback are escapability, accuracy and brains.

Glenn, he says, seems to fit the bill on at least two.

"Kevin can be a very accurate passer," Berry said. "He has escapability. The thing that is the intangible that I didn't know anything about is, what's his knowledge? What's his learning curve? That's the thing I'm going to try to find out here."

In the first face-to-face between the two late Wednesday, Glenn made a good impression, telling Berry he didn't want to wait another day -- he wanted to get out there.

On the verge of signing a contract extension that'll substantially boost his salary (approximately $150,000 last year) Glenn says he's ready to earn the increase in pay.

"Every year you grow," he said. "My mindset this year is to take another step. Do all the extra stuff that goes along with being a quarterback."

Glenn says he's convinced Berry's Montreal-style offence is going to make everybody look good.

"This offence is something to be reckoned with. I see why Montreal was doing the things they were doing. It's a quarterback's dream."

The question is, will he get a chance to live it?


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