Flaw exposed

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:15 AM ET

I hate to say we told you so, but...

The topic first came up in this space way back in the warm, promising days of June, when the flowers were blooming and the CFL season was a blank page: who would back up quarterback Kevin Glenn on Version '06 of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers?

It was a pressing, not urgent, issue at the time because, through two pre-season games, the contenders for the job -- Brad Banks, Mike Quinn and Russ Michna -- had staged a pillow fight for the position.

Truth is, it looked more like they were vying to be No. 4 on the depth chart than No. 2.

In early August, a Bomber fan's worst fears were realized, as Glenn went down for three games and the three musketeers took turns fumbling at the controls.

By the end of August, Quinn and Michna were gone, Banks had been reduced to a $100,000 bench ornament and we were still wondering, "Who's No. 2?"

At the time, this space endorsed the signing of ex-Bomber Khari Jones, by the simple reasoning that he couldn't do any worse. Not to mention, what would happen if Glenn went down again?

Saturday night in Vancouver, he did, and now this team's chances in Sunday's East semifinal in Toronto ride not on No. 5's right arm, but on his wonky left ankle.

Once again, the one major flaw in an otherwise nice rebuilding job by the Bomber braintrust has been exposed.

Only this time, the team's inability to find a serviceable backup is coming back to haunt it at the most important time of the year.

A cruel twist of fate, you say? More like the odds catching up with them.

"Most teams, if their No. 1 goes down, they're in trouble," Bomber GM Brendan Taman argued yesterday.

That's true. But it's also true there were No. 3 quarterbacks in Saskatchewan and B.C. this season who've looked better than the Bombers' No. 2. Far better.

Glenn's early-season injury last year, and the disastrous results that followed, should have served as a valuable lesson. Unless your starter is named Calvillo, Ray or Burris, you need somebody in the wings who can handle more than a clipboard.

I wouldn't trust a Winnipeg backup with the pen these days -- he'd probably stab himself.

The latest to fail the audition, Ryan Dinwiddie, played OK Saturday, if you ignore the two interceptions that led directly to 14 B.C. points late in the first half.

But that's like saying the ugliest girl in your Grade-8 class was just fine if you looked past the warts, the Coke-bottle glasses and the crooked nose.

Dinwiddie, like Quinn and Michna before him, clearly isn't ready for prime time. And how could he be -- he's been in Canada a couple of months.

Think a former CFL most outstanding player like Jones would look good in blue and gold right about now?

Taman admits old No. 17 might have been a good fit this season, after all.

"Before camp we might have thought of (Jones) more seriously than we did, maybe, in hindsight," he said. "You always want a guy with experience to go with a guy with experience."

Instead, if Glenn can't play in Toronto Sunday, head coach Doug Berry says he'll hand the ball back to Banks.

That smacks of desperation.

With nobody else to turn to, Berry would place the playoff fate of his team in the hands of a man he's shown zero confidence in all season.

Now, this isn't all on the Bombers.

They weren't alone in thinking Banks had some serious potential when they plucked him in the Ottawa Renegades dispersal draft.

For whatever reason, the guy has taken to Berry's offence like a cat to water.

Sunday, he could be thrown into the deep end and left to sink or swim, the Bombers potentially going down with him.

All the while, grasping at the same straws they were grasping at in June.

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STAND-IN STRUGGLES

A look at how the Blue Bombers backup quarterbacks fared this season:

ATT CMP PCT. YDS TD INT

Mike Quinn 62 33 53.2 355 3 5

Brad Banks 52 22 42.3 219 1 3

Ryan Dinwiddie 24 11 45.8 107 1 3

Russ Michna 3 1 33.3 4 0 0

Total 141 67 47.5 685 5 11

Bombers record with Kevin Glenn healthy 9-5

Bombers record with Glenn injured 0-4


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