Berry safe, for now

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:12 AM ET

The most restless natives are calling for the head man's head even louder now.

But it just is not going to happen -- this week.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers fell to 2-8 after blowing what looked like a sure victory over the league-leading Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday and many of the club's most faithful fans have had enough -- according to fan websites.

Many believe it is time for the Bombers to fire head coach Doug Berry and/or GM Brendan Taman.

"The head coach will not change," Taman said yesterday. "Everyone is reviewed, as always, on a weekly basis, including me.

"I believe these players and coaches can get this turned around, but changes will continue. Stay tuned."

Taman then signed free agent defensive end/linebacker Kai Ellis and tried to trade defensive end Tom Canada to Hamilton for middle linebacker Zeke Moreno -- before discovering that Canada is suffering from a physical ailment.

Meanwhile, the Tiger-Cats canned head mentor Charlie Taaffe yesterday, after Hamilton had fallen into an identical 2-8 record and a tie for last in the East with Winnipeg.

"I think it's more than 2-8, it's (Taaffe's record) more like 5 and 28 (actually, 5-23 overall) or something like that," Berry said. "They had a really tough time of it and it's disappointing because Charlie Taaffe is a good friend of mine. I know he's a really, really good coach.

"I've worked with him (in Montreal) and it's disappointing to see him not have the opportunity to finish."

Berry, who had reportedly signed a three-year contract extension with the Bombers on the sly earlier this year, has said several times that he is not concerned about losing his job. Despite that extension, the Bombers could try to buy him out if they ever did decide to fire him or just eat the cost of the last two years.

This season has been a nightmare for Berry, filled with soap operas, underachievers and rumour. It started to go downhill when veteran slotback Milt Stegall surprised the Bombers with the news that he needed knee surgery on the eve of training camp.

Then, veteran kicker Troy Westwood was cut in training camp and replaced by kickers who have struggled almost as much as he did.

That was followed by other injuries to such key personnel as offensive lineman Matt Sheridan, linebacker Barrin Simpson and now, Canada's illness.

Quarterback Kevin Glenn -- the Eastern nominee for Most Outstanding Player last year -- struggled so much that Berry actually benched him for three games.

The desperate Bombers then traded one of their most popular players, tailback Charles Roberts.

With the team that he took to the Grey Cup last year disintegrating around him, Berry remains safe. Yet, the worst loss of the season was the one to Saskatchewan where the Bombers blew a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter Sunday.

"Those were the epitomes of lows to lose a football game like that," Berry said. "Initially, everyone's going to think that the roof caved in but, when you stop, reflect and think about some of the things that happened, particularly with what is happening in the East, you come to the realization that we've got to get on our horse and start to ride it."

The Bombers, who are four points behind the second-place Argos, play them in Toronto this Friday.


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