Bombers define 'mediocre'

PAUL FRIESEN

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- The defining moment, indeed.

That's what Winnipeg's Doug Brown had said the CFL East semifinal was going to be for his Blue Bombers.

A true read on this puzzling bunch of underachievers.

Check that -- the Bombers of 2008 can no longer be called Team Underachievement.

Yesterday's inglorious end to the season proved, once and for all, that this bunch, collectively, just wasn't good enough. Period.

The 6-2 record down the stretch? Inflated by inferior competition -- a.k.a. four games against the horrible Argos and Ticats.

A 29-21 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos, on their home turf, before a strong crowd and with the weather supposedly favouring their two-headed ground game, exposed the Bombers for what they've been all along.

Mediocre.

And if you want to know where to start, look no further than their quarterback, Kevin Glenn, who played nowhere near the level needed for his team to have a chance.

If you don't believe me, just ask head coach Doug Berry.

Unprodded, Berry's post-game comments quickly got around to No. 5, who capped an underwhelming season with an even worse performance in its biggest game.

"When you look at the quarterback play, Ricky (Ray) had an outstanding day," Berry said of the Eskimos pivot.

DISAPPOINTED

"I was a little bit disappointed that we weren't able to match that in a game of this magnitude. We just didn't match up."

You could say that about Berry's entire offence.

That vaunted run game, dubbed 'Thunder and Lightning' by the coach a ways back?

More like 'Dribs and Drabs', as the Eskimos seemed to know exactly what was coming, and when.

Fred Reid couldn't find any running room early, and by the time the switch was made to Joe Smith late in the third quarter, it was too late, with the Bombers down by two touchdowns.

Into the wind, when the running game should be money in the bank, the Winnipeg offence simply went bankrupt.

Of course, the Eskimos defence, having read all week about Winnipeg's plans to pound the ball, stacked up against it.

ONE-DIMENSIONAL

"We knew we had to shut it down and make them one-dimensional," Esks lineman Fred Perry said. "And make Kevin beat us with his arm."

It wasn't going to happen.

Not even close.

Glenn's production consisted of one, long touchdown to first-year CFLer Romby Bryant -- a score that was negated by an interception for a touchdown the other way -- and not much else.

Staring straight into that north breeze, when just a few first downs could have made all the difference in the world, Glenn blinked, and nobody ran off the field faster when it was all over.

You can't help but wonder if he'll be running back to Winnipeg for training camp as the starter next season.

"That's a long ways away," Berry said.

"Right now, I'm not even thinking about that."

No, there's plenty more for Berry to consider -- like his decision to go for fourth-quarter field goals instead of gambling, still down by two major scores.

"You just keep saying, 'Well if we get the ball enough times something's going to break' -- we have the talent out there," Berry explained.

Wrong. We're tired of hearing that.

It's obvious the Bombers don't have enough talent.

And if they do, then that points the finger at the coach.

Because the bottom line is this: Berry's team took a major step back in Year 3, and is nowhere near replacing that 1990 Grey Cup pennant on his office wall.

So what if it rebounded to go 8-10, with a quick exit from the playoffs.

The definition of that: not nearly good enough.


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