Questions must wait

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:23 AM ET

The man in charge of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers didn't offer any hints about the future yesterday, but he did say the past will not be forgotten.

Club president and CEO Lyle Bauer, speaking one day after the Blue and Gold were eliminated from the CFL playoffs, said the entire season will be taken into account when decisions are made this off-season.

"We had significant challenges in the beginning and for a variety of reasons," Bauer said. "There were some things that happened that helped turn some of those fortunes, but we can't let those things cloud what happened earlier."

The Bombers finished the regular season with six wins in their last eight games and had high hopes going into the post-season.

PITIFUL

Their 29-21 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos in Saturday's East Division semifinal at Canad Inns Stadium, however, looked eerily similar to earlier in the season, when the Bombers started with four consecutive losses and were a pitiful 2-8 in mid-September.

Post-season evaluations began in earnest on Maroons Road yesterday and will continue for the next couple of days. As a result, Bauer refused to speculate about what could be a turbulent off-season.

"There's some things that need to be changed or dealt with here," he said. "However, over the next few days we'll focus on putting closure to the 2008 season, and then once that's done we'll move forward with 2009.

"... You have to take a step back, reflect and see what the issues were, if they can be corrected or if there has to be change to have them corrected."

GM Brendan Taman, in his 10th season with the team, has one year remaining on his contract, while head coach Doug Berry has two left on his three-year extension that was completed in June but never announced publicly.

'CHALLENGES'

Bauer sang the same "closure first" tune when asked about the futures of Taman and Berry.

"Right now the focus at this point in time will be for the players and the coaches and management to put closure to 2008," he said.

It was the same thing when he was asked how he thought Taman and Berry performed this season.

"We had our challenges, and right now it's best that we deal with closure for our players and coaches in that regard, and then we'll deal with the rest of it afterwards," Bauer said.

Berry was to speak with the media yesterday afternoon, but the session was cancelled after Saturday's loss. He will address the team one last time this morning, and then the players will clean out their lockers before going their separate ways.

The look of the locker-room, not to mention the management and coaches' offices, could look significantly different next season. The Bombers lost the 2007 Grey Cup but were expected to challenge for it again this November.

Instead they fell flat on their faces, and now the organization's Grey Cup drought has reached 18 years -- the longest in the league by nine years.

Despite that dismal fact, Bauer would not confirm that more significant changes need to be made this off-season compared to last year's, saying only, once again, that they have to put 2008 to bed first.

"It's a difficult time for a football team," he said. "I hate to use the analogy, but it's a wake. This time of year is never fun, no matter what happens. The only time it's fun is when you win it all.

"We all know what everybody wants. Nobody wants it more than the people here."


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