Coach's conundrum

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

Doug Berry's bye week won't be filled with mindless activity.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers coach's brain will be working overtime as he tries to figure out what to do with Chris Brazzell.

Brazzell, a slotback, was left at home when the Bombers travelled to B.C. last week and beat the Lions 22-21. The move was actually made to fix a struggling defence, and the ratio prevented Berry from going with four import pass catchers.

Berry agreed that the Brazzell decision will be his biggest roster conundrum when the squad returns from its bye week on Sunday.

"I don't know. I don't know," Berry said when asked what he's going to do. "But I know we can go either way. When we took Brazz out of the lineup, he feels like he didn't do everything that was humanly possible for him to maintain his position on the field.

"But by the same token, had we not been experiencing the problems we were having on defence, that move would never have happened.

"So he wasn't benched because of poor play. I gotta steal from somebody to pay off the other guy. Somebody's gotta pay the price, and unfortunately it's Chris."

The Bombers, who lead the East Division at 4-2-1, had been cruising right along with four import receivers and Canadian Ian Logan playing cornerback. When Logan got hurt, however, the Bombers struggled in a loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats with non-import Neil McKinlay at outside linebacker in place of import Corey Jenkins.

Jenkins went back to his starting role in B.C., so the Bombers added Canadian receiver Arjei Franklin in place of Brazzell to meet the minimum of seven Canuck starters.

Franklin and fellow Canadian O'Neil Wilson played well against the Lions, too, totalling six catches for 50 yards in the victory.

Brazzell, who could have been a free agent this past winter but took a pay cut to re-sign with the Blue and Gold, has 15 catches for 159 yards and one touchdown in six games. He "understands" why he was the import pass catcher taken out of the lineup, as Milt Stegall, Terrence Edwards and Derick Armstrong all have more catches and receiving yards.

Brazzell said Sunday he is willing to wait to see how it all plays out.

"It could be one game, it could be more than one," Brazzell said. "Coach Berry said they gotta get the defence playing better, and whatever they decide to do with the ratio, I'll just sit back and still prepare like I'm playing."

Logan will be healthy for the Bombers' next game, Aug. 24 against Toronto, but so will cornerback Robert Bean, who has missed five games after arthroscopic knee surgery.

The original plan was to go with an all-American secondary of Bean, Kelly Malveaux, Kyries Hebert, Davin Bush and Anthony Malbrough, who will also return from injury after the bye week.

"It's a tough call there," Berry said. "Logan will be coming back healthy, so that gives us the option. If we want to go back to Brazz, we could.

"We also got Malbrough and Bean coming back, so it's like, OK, what are we going to do now? It's hard to say."


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