Cupboards are bare

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:02 AM ET

Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Mike Kelly welcomed his new director of player personnel into the fold yesterday -- and took a few swipes at the "media darling" he's replacing.

During a conference call with reporters, Kelly spoke glowingly of the addition of John Murphy, a 36-year-old career scout from the U.S., saying he's just what the doctor ordered. Murphy has signed a three-year contract with the club.

Kelly also said former GM Brendan Taman left the cupboards bare.

"We have no system right now in place with any bank of information on players," Kelly said. "There's nothing in the offices. We have to start running this organization, on the football side, as a professional football organization, not as a club sport. And if some people take that and think that I'm throwing a jab, I am."

Kelly said he's never seen an organization's scouting system in such poor shape.

"We have nothing," he said. "I've never seen it before. Even when I've taken college jobs, at least there's been a list of recruits and evaluations on those players.

"A good pro personnel director is going to write upwards of 1,200 reports in a season. We don't have anything like that at the Bombers. We don't have a database for it. Everything was done on napkins, I guess."

Kelly says that's why he hired Murphy, a detail-oriented, lifelong scout whose database boasts between 5,000 and 8,000 player names and evaluations.

"We have a guy in place that we're excited about, that's going to be based in the States, whose job isn't to be a media darling -- it's to find players," Kelly said.

Told of Kelly's assessment, Taman says he left the Bombers with a lot more than he inherited when he joined the team a decade ago.

"I would have hated to see his reaction to what myself and Dave Ritchie walked into," Taman said in an e-mail to the Sun. "My office consisted of a file folder with an old (negotiation) list... I didn't complain."

Given an opportunity to say more, Taman took the high road.

"All I will say is: Charles Roberts, Arland Bruce, Geroy Simon, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Romby Bryant, Dan Goodspeed, Gavin Walls, etc, etc," he said, listing some of the players he recruited. "I wish them luck and hopefully they get that Cup."

Taman resigned earlier this month after 10 years as Winnipeg's primary bird dog. He joined the community-owned franchise as it was staggering under some $5 million of debt.

As he rose from personnel boss to GM, his teams reached the Grey Cup twice, in 2001 and '07, but failed to win a championship.

When the Bombers regressed to an 8-10 mark last year, then lost to Edmonton in the CFL East semifinal, Taman's GM duties were scaled back to strictly a personnel role.

"Brendan did a great job on a shoestring budget, bringing players in that kept the Bombers somewhat competitive during a very difficult financial time," Kelly continued. "I like Brendan. I know the media adored him. But we're taking this thing in a different direction. It's going to be a much greater workload. And I think Brendan recognized that.

"We want a bigger pool of information. That's why John has been hired, in order to take us to the next level. From my experience, we were lagging behind. Now we have an opportunity to get ahead."


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