Ropes are tightening

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:50 AM ET

Remember the Hardy Boys, those clean-cut, all-American, crime-fighting lads from yesteryear, and the grim predicaments they'd often find themselves in?

Invariably, Frank and Joe would be left tied up somewhere, only to free themselves by slowly working the ropes loose, or finding some other ingenious means of escape.

I bring this up today because Lyle Bauer, the big boss of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and Mike Kelly, the man he anointed to be his head coach, are in a similar bind.

Tied together, their football house teetering on the cliff, these two need Fenton riding to the rescue. Or at least Biff and Chet.

Alas, all they have is Michael Bishop, leading an offence that's been gagged and blindfolded through seven weeks of the season.

And so while the clock ticks, Bauer and Kelly work at their restraints, the bad guys in the rest of the league slowly slipping out of sight.

Where will it end?

Judging by the comments to recent stories at winnipegsun.com, there's a growing segment of fans who are ready to toss them onto the disappearing floor, make them the missing chums, for good.

I haven't been shy to call out the coach and, before that, the president for the less-than-thorough hiring process that brought Kelly here in the first place.

But I've yet to call for their heads on a platter.

And I'm not going to today, either.

Yes, this team's offence has been about as effective as the old Bayport police force, as old-fashioned as Aunt Gertrude. You don't need a magnifying glass to see there's something seriously wrong with the approach.

Kelly promised a speed boat, but delivered a dingy. With a leak.

He was supposed to be the whiz kid, but he's looked more like the simple-minded Chet, only instead of constantly eating, he's forever sticking his foot into his mouth.

Nobody but him would touch the quarterbacks, Kelly vowed, and it's too bad, because they desperately need help.

The shotgun formation? For flag football and people who don't know how to coach quarterbacks: another Kelly-ism.

I'd say that makes the shotgun perfectly suited for Kelly, since he apparently doesn't have a clue.

Doesn't know how to treat quarterbacks when they fail, either -- hello, Stefan LeFors.

Seems Kelly and his cohort, player personnel director John Murphy, are having some trouble getting a handle on the salary cap, too, having paid out more than $300,000 in bonuses to players who haven't contributed a lick, and are long gone.

So desperate are they, they went hunting for hidden gold, going to LeFors and demanding some of his (question: if LeFors relieves Bishop and plays well, does he get his money back?).

It's a conundrum, folks, with nary a secret door in sight.

The ropes confining Bauer and Kelly are tightening, and beginning to leave nasty marks. The natives are getting restless.

With colder weather and six home games in the season's second half, the scars may well be shaped like dollar signs, when all is said and done.

But like Frank and Joe Hardy, Bauer and Kelly deserve a chance to get out of it.

They made the decisions which led to this trap, and they'll have to put their heads together for a solution.

They can call every Biff and Chet they know -- hell, maybe vivacious Callie and Iola can put their pretty little heads together, too.

You have to give them at least the rest of 2009.

If they can't get out of it, the ending won't be storybook.

What do I mean by that?

The clue will be in the embers of a charred season.


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