Banks cashes out

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

Doug Berry finally got what he wanted.

Then again, this might be a classic case of, "Be careful what you wish for."

A few days back, the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers wished out loud that one of his quarterbacks would have a bad day.

The idea being to help Berry separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

Now, the Bomber boss may have had his tongue wedged gently in his cheek at the time. But since neither of the potential backups to Kevin Glenn had separated themselves from the pack in a positive way, Berry's roster decision would be easier if someone stood out in a bad way.

Brad Banks, come on down.

You remember Banks from last season. The $100,000 third-stringer who looked lost in Berry's system. The guy Berry had so little confidence in he preferred to play Mike Quinn.

For some reason, Berry wanted Banks back this year. Apparently, he saw something in the former Heisman Trophy runner-up most of us didn't.

In last night's pre-season opener, a 35-23 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, I'm thinking the Bomber boss saw the same thing everybody else saw.

And it wasn't pretty.

In fact, the 27,000 or so tortured souls who sat through a dreadful, albeit typical, display of pre-season football may have witnessed the end of a once-promising career.

This was supposed to be the year the light went on for Banks, a former Iowa Hawkeye who's been in the CFL three years.

He was the "steal" of the Ottawa Renegades dispersal draft, I recall.

Safe to say the Bombers came out of this Banks with counterfeit cash.

Let's recap last night's crime, as painful as it is to do.

On Winnipeg's second possession, a Banks' pass into a crowd is intercepted and leads to Hamilton's first touchdown.

DOOMED FROM START

It takes until late in the first quarter for Banks to generate a first down -- and it comes via the run. Through 15 minutes, he completes one pass for four yards.

With one last chance, Banks throws one of those sideline passes that looks doomed from the start, and it goes for six points the other way.

When this less than auspicious audition was over, Banks stood on the sidelines largely ignored by his teammates, as if they were afraid his bad karma might rub off.

So where does this leave the Bomber offence, which without Glenn last season limped along like a dog on three legs?

Depends how you look at it.

Perhaps, as Berry wished, it's just as well someone played themselves right off this team.

Based on last night -- and let's be careful not to base too much on a single pre-season game -- the Bombers may have found a No. 2 pivot in Justin Holland, who fired a pair of touchdown passes, including a 78-yard hookup with Terrence Edwards that looked like a Ken Ploen special: not particularly pretty, but in the right spot.

Trouble is, Holland, just 24, is brand new to this game.

To expect him to have the same success against a starting defence during the regular season is dreaming in Technicolor.

The other contender as Glenn's understudy, Ryan Dinwiddie, didn't generate a single point last night. Even tossed a pair of late interceptions.

Truth is, the best quarterback on the field was Hamilton's Timmy Chang, and you can excuse Bomber fans for wondering why GM Brendan Taman didn't find someone like him over the winter.

Of course, the presence of Milt Stegall and Charles Roberts, held out of the lineup last night, can make a quarterback look a whole lot better.

So we'll reserve judgment for a while, yet.

Except for one thing.

The verdict on Banks is in.


Videos

Photos