Mr. Triple Threat

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

The remote possibility of the Toronto Argonauts catching the Blue Bombers for a post-season has been reduced to a minor irritant.

So it is time to take a short break from that pursuit to take a look at Winnipeg's top players as we approach our own election time -- that is, nominating candidates for the Most Outstanding Player awards.

Yes, that might be like naming the tallest midget on a squad that is limping along with an embarrassing 6-9 record, but we will give it a go anyway. The Blue Bombers may even come up with the most unique candidate ever. Think about this: veteran defensive tackle Doug Brown would be a triple winner right now.

My fellow colleague, Paul Friesen, was actually the first to suggest that Brown is Winnipeg's top defensive player, top Canadian AND its Most Outstanding Player.

"Yeah, I can see that," Bombers GM Brendan Taman mused aloud when I suggested it to him last week. "A triple winner? Wow!"

After all, Brown has been the team's top defensive performer overall, hands-down. He is second in quarterback sacks with five and has 35 defensive tackles from a position where his primary responsibility is often to take on two, sometimes three, blockers to open up lanes to the quarterback for his teammates. Those contributions don't show up on the stats sheets.

Game in and game out, Brown has been the club's most dominant player. In fact, the only defensive player you could name in the same breath is Kelly Malveaux, the defensive back who has excelled at strong-side linebacker since being converted there due to the injury to Ike Charlton. Defensive end Gavin Walls has come on lately but his slow start hurts him.

Brown is also both an on-field and off-field leader whose candour is refreshing. But the most shocking aspect of this is that Brown leads the Most Outstanding Player category for this team, too.

Think about it. None of the offensive players have been consistent enough. Receiver Romby Bryant has led in pass catching most of the season but he has dropped too many passes. Tailback Fred Reid has not started enough games and quarterback Kevin Glenn, last year's Eastern nominee, was benched for three games. Yes, that is a reflection of the way the offence has played.

Unless another offensive player really grabs the spotlight in the next couple of games, there can be no argument against Brown.

Brown is also a shoo-in as top Canadian -- again. Other Canucks who deserve consideration are receiver Arjei Franklin and offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte.

LaBatte will be the rookie candidate and, we are told, should rate serious consideration as the club's top offensive lineman, too. But I won't speculate on that category because I don't even pretend to be an expert there. As for other rookies, cornerback Willie Amos has also been impressive (Bryant is not classified as a rookie).

That leaves special teams. If you could base it on eight games, you would have to give the nod to kick returner Jason Armstead. But the entire season has to be considered. So, right now, that honour is a toss-up between fullback Graeme Bell and safety Ian Logan, who are tied for the team lead in special teams tackles. In fact, Logan may even rate some consideration as top Canuck.

The bottom line is, if the ballots were being stuffed in the box today, Brown would be our triple winner.

Trouble is, voters elsewhere may not consider him to be good enough in any of the three categories to represent the East. That would be a shame.


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