Questions about backup plan dog GM

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:40 AM ET

The "Fire Taman!" thread on a Winnipeg Blue Bombers fan website, had stretched to six pages last night.

There were plenty of posters defending the Bomber GM, but there were more than a few who felt he dropped the ball this season when it came to securing a solid backup quarterback.

Ryan Dinwiddie was forced to make his first pro start in Sunday's Grey Cup against the Saskatchewan Roughriders after No. 1 pivot Kevin Glenn broke his arm in the East Division final.

Dinwiddie threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, and Saskatchewan won its first championship since 1989, leaving the Bombers with the CFL's longest title drought at 17 years.

"Hindsight being 20-20, if we knew he was going to start in the Grey Cup, I'm sure we would have (given Dinwiddie more playing time)," Taman said. "But our plan all along was to ride Kevin as long as we could. We did, just the timing of the injury wasn't great.

"The kid made a couple of mistakes, but who doesn't make mistakes in football games? But he did what he could to help us win."

The Bombers' lack of backup experience was a major focus last off-season after they went 0-4 without Glenn in 2006. Taman, for example, had a chance to acquire B.C.'s Jarious Jackson for a first-round draft pick before the season but decided against it.

So the big question in wintry Winnipeg yesterday was: Could the Bombers have won on Sunday with an experienced backup?

'FAIR QUESTION'

"It's a fair question, but all our staff has a lot of confidence in Ryan, and other than a couple throws I think he proved that he functioned quite well," Taman said.

"I'm sure there's other guys in the league that might have had a better chance to win, but (Buck) Pierce and (Jason) Maas and all those guys, they've been in the league, earning their stripes all along.

"This is Ryan's first steps into that process. If we can get him back next year, he'll be that much better."

SPECIAL PERFORMANCE: Bombers backup safety Jason Nugent, a Scarborough, Ont., native playing in his own back yard, broke the Grey Cup record for special teams tackles on Sunday night -- and he needed only the first half to do it.

Nugent had five special teams takedowns in the opening 30 minutes, breaking the record that was previously shared by Donald Smith (Toronto, 1997) and Raymond Biggs (Calgary, 1999).

QUIRKY STAT DEP'T: The Bombers have scored 19 points in their last two Grey Cup losses.

LATE HITS: The Bombers have 44 players going into the option years of their contracts, but Taman doesn't expect to lose any of them to the NFL. Wide receiver Derick Armstrong and safety Kyries Hebert, however, are two players who might get a look ... Taman said it's all but certain Troy Westwood will be back for an 18th season. "I haven't talked to (head coach) Doug (Berry) yet, but I plan on picking up his option," Taman said ... Sunday's Grey Cup telecast on CBC drew 3.337 million viewers, a 4% increase over last year's game in Winnipeg ... The Bombers will clean out their lockers today before going their separate ways for the off-season.


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