Berry ticked off

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

Doug Berry looked like a doomed man heading to the firing line.

"Lead me to the slaughter," the first-year Blue Bomber head coach cracked, as he prepared to face the media last night.

Sorry, the slaughter had already happened. To the tune of 32-5 at the hands of the B.C. Lions. At home, no less. That's three straight in the not-so-friendly confines.

Lousy timing for the Bombers.

You see, they're heading into a bye week, which gives Berry plenty of time to decide who's stopped pulling his weight after that heady, 5-2 start.

"I promised this team when we come back from the break, there will be some changes," Berry declared. "That may be in personnel, maybe a little bit in scheme, but we're not going to go out there and ever play like this again."

Berry was smiling as he spoke, but it sounded very much like a threat.

"Oh, yes it is," he confirmed. "I'm threatening. I am not a happy coach. What do they say -- smile and don't cry?"

Bomber fans were shedding plenty of tears as they watched quarterback Mike Quinn, making his first CFL start in place of injured Kevin Glenn.

I expected a little bit more from the guy, too.

Not a lot, mind you. It's not often you see an NFL journeyman -- and few have journeyed as much as Quinn over his career -- make an immediate impact in the CFL.

Sitting on top of all that inexperience, and weighing it down like a sack of rotten potatoes, was the fact Quinn was coming off an injury of his own, the result of a hellacious hit to his chest and shoulder against Montreal way back on July 15.

The result: Quinn looked every bit the unsure, deer-in-the-headlights passer you'd expect in his first extended look at a CFL defence, while wondering, at the same time, whether his body was going to hold up to the pounding.

And so the Bombers fall to 5-4 at the midpoint of a season that suddenly hangs very much in the balance.

I guess we know what Berry thinks of backup quarterbacks Brad Banks and Russ Michna, because he kept sending Quinn back into the fray, even as the 32-year-old was serving up four interceptions and two fumbles.

Unless Quinn's learning curve develops a hairpin, the Bombers are a one-horse team that will be in tough to win a single game until Glenn returns.

A little extreme, you say?

Then you didn't see the defensive effort last night. Because it couldn't have done much more, aside from scoring some touchdowns of its own.

Bending a little too much, but refusing to allow the Lions into their end zone time and again, the dirty dozen left their bowels out on the turf in an effort to keep their team in it. Miraculously, they did, too, despite a fistful of turnovers by the offence, nine if I counted right, as Winnipeg trailed just 19-3 well into the fourth quarter.

Then the wheels fell off.

Where does this leave the home team going into a bye week, then the second half?

They've got to be wondering just how good they really are.

Don't get me wrong. Berry has done miracles to get them to this point.

But if Glenn's out a month, that cushion over Hamilton and Toronto in the CFL East could disappear as quickly as it was created in the first place.

That's why Berry is threatening extreme action.

Here's his challenge, though: finding a way to win without Kevin Glenn.

The alternative isn't pretty.


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