Bark like big dogs

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:34 AM ET

This certainly is not the way you want your quarterback to perform as you prepare for CFL post-season play.

But the worst thing the Winnipeg Blue Bombers could do right now would be to start experimenting with the backups at the expense of starter Kevin Glenn the way that the Saskatchewan Roughriders are doing right now.

Glenn is in a funk but he needs to play himself out of it.

After all, he is quite capable of leading this team to victory when he's on his game, and Glenn still gives the Bombers their best chance to win -- believe it or not. That's no knock on the inexperienced guys waiting in the wings. It's just that we have seen what this guy can do when he's in a groove. Trouble is, Glenn has not been in that groove for a while. In fact, but for a brief period against the Eskimos in Edmonton, he has been off-kilter ever since taking two hellacious hits from Edmonton defenders when Winnipeg beat the Eskies here (yes, the second was a cheap shot).

Glenn hit rock-bottom against the Stampeders in Calgary on Saturday. He completed only six of 13 passes for a horrendous 33 yards, leading the offence to just six points in one half of play. Sure, the rest of the offence shares the blame but it is up to the quarterback to take the burden upon his shoulders to lead the way out of the wilderness.

"He didn't play very well in the first half," a concerned Bomber head coach Doug Berry said yesterday. "I'd like to see him more or less peaking right now. I don't think it's his decision-making as much as it's his accuracy sometimes is not quite as sharp as we would like it.

"Part of the evaluation of a quarterback is putting your team in the end zones. Sometimes, you can be 21 of 24, but if you're not scoring, it's not a good night. Sometimes, you can be 12 of 29, but we've scored three touchdowns and you win by two or something. That's an OK night."

Of course, the quarterback needs the receivers to get open and the offensive line to give him enough time to throw. The potential pass catchers seemed to spend more time looking for flags than open prairie on many plays and Glenn was sometimes hurried.

"We just didn't make enough plays," Glenn repeated his mantra to reporters in Calgary.

That means that neither he nor the rest of the offence was good enough to out-play their opponents.

Berry does plan to play Glenn as much as needed in Winnipeg's last two games, which is really his only option.

"I'd like to see him experience more success," Berry said.

"We've just gotta make sure we turn this thing around and get back to the football that we need to play in the playoffs," Glenn said. "It's a team sport. We all need to get it going and play better, get a groove going and get some momentum going into the playoffs."

If the Calgary game was a measuring stick, the Bombers did not even register. They will have another litmus test when they take on the Alouettes in Montreal this Sunday.

"As I reminded the team, when you play a team like Calgary and going forward into this one against Montreal -- the two division leaders -- they're the big dogs and if you want to play with the big dogs, you've got to be able to bark like the big dogs," Berry said. "Right now, our bark isn't as loud as we want it to be."

In fact, it's a whimper, and the lead dog needs to start the playoff growl.

INJURY UPDATE: DB Anthony Malbrough will likely miss Sunday's match with a strained groin while RB Fred Reid is day-to-day with bruised ribs.


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