Berry believes in Glenn

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:21 AM ET

This may surprise you but Winnipeg's main worry is not at quarterback this season.

Its biggest concern is with the kicking game and at linebacker, Blue Bombers GM Brendan Taman said during a CFL state-of-the-franchise teleconference call yesterday.

School is still out on whether incumbent quarterback Kevin Glenn can lead the Bombers to the Holy Grail but head coach Doug Berry believes in him.

"For Kevin, it's just a matter of staying healthy all year," he said, referring to the fact that the under-sized pivot has been injury-prone. "He was making good progress in the first seven games until he got hurt last year ... I really believe that, if he can start off the year the same way, he can keep getting better from week to week. He's capable."

If Glenn cannot stay healthy, both Brad Banks and Ryan Dinwiddie will return and the Bombers hope to groom one or two other prospects.

"I'm really glad that both Brad Banks and Ryan Dinwiddie are coming back," Berry said. "It was a blessing that they both played in the last game of the year in B.C. and if they can pick up where they left off, we'll be in a very good position."

The Bombers, however, seemed hesitant to re-sign Banks at first and Dinwiddie was yanked out of the AFL because he was still under contract to Winnipeg.

Meanwhile, Ike Charlton bolting to the NFL left a gaping hole on defence. Charlton was simply made for the re-shaped outside linebacker position that combines a defensive back's skills with linebacker toughness and may not be replaceable.

"Charlton's loss opens up question marks there, but I think we'll be OK," Taman said. "But any time you lose a guy with his experience, it is a concern."

Taman added that former Hamilton DB Chris Martin, signed as a free agent, did play a similar position with the Tiger-Cats and will likely be slotted at linebacker in training camp. DB Kelly Malveaux also filled in admirably when Charlton was hurt last season.

And veteran kicker Troy Westwood will be challenged once again.

"More kickers are coming to camp," Taman assured. "We'll have Troy and two other guys." Westwood took over both kicking duties after punter Jon Ryan jumped to the NFL. He punted for a 42.9-yard average (fifth in CFL) and connected on only 69.8% of his field goal attempts (sixth in CFL).

Meanwhile, non-import offensive lineman Mike Abou-Mechrek signed with Saskatchewan and cornerback Stanford Samuels joined Edmonton as free agents.

Defensive lineman Ron Warner was traded to Edmonton for Canadian receiver Jason Nugent while cornerback Omar Evans, LB Donnavan Carter and fullback Scott Regimbald were released.

Taman, however, also signed such free agents as OL Andrew Greene, DL Nate Davis and Jerome Haywood and DBs Davin Bush and Greg Moss, and acquired OL Alexandre Gauthier from Calgary.

"We lost some guys on defence and that's part of the game," said Bomber linebacker Barrin Simpson. "But you've got to be strong up front to compete and, in my mind, we've got the strongest front in the league."

Offensively, the Bombers focused on the O-line that has been plagued with injuries for years. Taman also acquired OL Matt O'Meara from Saskatchewan to add to the line's depth.

"We've had some losses but overall, we had a pretty good off-season and I hope we can keep going the way we were going last season," Taman said.


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