Winnipeg Sun: time to buy a winnier!

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Attention all Winnipeg Blue Bomber fans: you will not hear the word "rebuilding" once this season.

New Bomber head coach Doug Berry made that crystal clear yesterday.

Jim Daley, whom the Bombers fired Nov. 8 after a dismal 5-13 campaign, used the rebuilding term early and often this season, and it was not exactly loved by fans, players and management.

Many interpreted the word as a built-in excuse for losing. Berry looked like he was sucking on a lemon yesterday when someone asked him about rebuilding.

"It's a dirty word to me," Berry said. "We're not rebuilding anything. We're gonna get an attitude, that's all.

"... We've got good players here."

Speaking of those players, Berry was peppered with questions about his inherited personnel, even though he had been on the job for only 30 minutes.

He obviously didn't commit to anything right then and there, but he did offer some preliminary observations.

The first inquiry was whether or not Kevin Glenn was his starting quarterback.

"He is right now, sure," Berry said. "Kevin Glenn is adequate. Of course I've never worked with him, but in terms of viewing him on film, I'm satisfied with what I've seen on film of Kevin Glenn at this point."

Berry feels good about running back Charles Roberts, the CFL's rushing king this season, as well as all-star slotback Milt Stegall.

He said he's familiar and happy with slotback-kick returner Keith Stokes because of their time together in Montreal, and the only other player he mentioned by name was receiver Jamie Stoddard.

He said the defensive line is solid, he knows the interior of the offensive line well, and he also used the word "adequate" to describe placekicker Troy Westwood.

Other than that, Berry has a lot of learning to do. Bomber video co-ordinator Daniel Sutcliffe has put together hours and hours of film for Berry to watch over the Christmas holidays.

"I want to intensely view every position and make sure I know exactly where we might perceive change needs to be made," he said.

After watching that movie, Berry will give the thumbs up or the thumbs down on the personnel and go from there.

"We're gonna have an attitude," he said. "I don't know if that means changing players or just changing the attitude. This is professional football. There are good football players here.

"It's going to be up to me to try to get the best out of their talents. If that talent isn't good enough, then we'll make some changes.

"I don't think the fans are going to be displeased if we change half the team, three quarters of the team or 5% of the team. They're not going to care, as long as they look out on the field and say, 'Hey, we're winning.'"

So what this tells us is Taman will sit back because he has his next coach he can blame.

i'd like to hear they have some trades in the works or free agents they've been talkin to.....

right now, it sounds like they are content to do NOTHING....staying with a team that won 5 games ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH when your hosting the Grey Cup!

......some consistency at QB and their offence is just's the defense that needs to be cleaned out and started from scratch pretty much, 'cept for maybe fleming........but guess what folks, that is called rebuilding whether you actually say the name or not.......

Again Berry will have the same talent on the field as Daley. A new coach does nothing but win them one extra game for the new coach. They will be bottom feeders again.

not really....if your only working on one aspect ( this case, defence ), then thats improving...rebuilding is an overhaul on all levels.

Defence just needs a good D coordinator, we had one of the best D's in the league until the D coordinator quit. Bring that man back!

We have a good QB in Glenn or Wynn and a strong back up in Michna, make some improvements in the O and we will be all set.

Yeah, I say play Wynn. Glenn is just ok, and horrible at times. Wynn is their future. Or should I say, Lets give Tee Martin just one more chance :shock:

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Paul FriesenSat, December 17, 2005

[b]Show him the money [/b]

I've got one final question for the brain trust of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on the hiring of Doug Berry as their new head coach.

You got the guy you wanted, fellas. Now, are you going to give him the tools to be successful?

Because let's face it, Moses could take over this club and, forced to use the same players as last season, even he couldn't prevent that defence from parting like the Red Sea every week.

Berry's former employer, Montreal Alouettes GM Jim Popp, summed it up nicely the other day.

"Obviously, the Bombers have work to do," Popp said. "Don't expect miracles right off the bat."

No, the masses here in Winnipeg aren't expecting the new guy to walk on the Red River, at least not after, say, mid-April.

Got to stop

But this business of trying to feed 25,000 or so football fans with just a handful of wins each year has got to stop.

This town is starving for a playoff team. Two seasons on the outs is a long time in a nine-team league, never mind the 15 years without a championship.

To get there, though, the Bombers are going to have to change the way they do business.

I'm talking about doing better scouting and spending a little more money.

Not blowing up the budget, just giving it a little steroid injection. Guaranteed to enhance performance. And it's not against the rules, because there aren't any in the CFL.

"I don't know what the budget is," Berry said. "I've been led to believe we're going to spend what we need to spend to be competitive."

Well, Mr. Berry, we can tell you, with near certainty, your new employer is one of the more frugal organizations, if not the most frugal, in the league. We can't be 100% sure because CFL types, in their short-sighted, self-preserving way, keep these things very hush-hush.

In president/CEO Lyle Bauer's defence, he doesn't have a lot of wiggle room. The community-based board of directors he answers to isn't about to let him run up a deficit, not with the club just six years removed from near-bankruptcy.

But if the last two years have taught us anything, it's that any savings you may accrue by either letting your better players go (hello, Brian Clark), signing second-tier free agents (where are you, Wane McGarity?) or recycling other team's discards (come on down, William Fields) are gobbled up by the dwindling crowds that result.

Conversely, shelling out a little more coin in key areas will pay off if the team actually plays entertaining, winning football, because it'll put more bums in the seats.

"To me, it's identifying some things we need in key positions," Berry said.

"If a team is spending big money for a player at a position that's not critical, then you're misusing your finances."

We can only wonder how the new guy will feel about his two defensive tackles (Doug Brown and Joe Fleming) pulling down close to $300,000, combined, while the starting quarterback he inherits (Kevin Glenn) earned about a third of that last season.

We also wonder how Berry will react the first time he asks GM Brendan Taman to pursue a certain free agent, or re-sign a certain player, only to be told they don't have the money.

To paraphrase the line from the Wizard of Oz: You're not in Montreal anymore, Mr. Berry.

"That has not bothered me," Berry insisted. "Lyle asked me that in the interview, and he thought there would be a tremendous difference. I don't see it that way."

Trust us. There's a difference.

But we're not going to let this organization lean on the crutch of poverty. That's far too easy a cop-out.

The spending gap isn't so big that a smart, team effort can't overcome it.

It's not the Red Sea.

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Doug Berry didn't exactly give a ringing endorsement on Thursday when asked if Kevin Glenn was his No. 1 quarterback.

Berry, the new Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach, said Glenn was "adequate" and that he was "comfortable" with him, but that was only from what he'd seen of Glenn on film.

In other words, Glenn better be ready when training camp opens in May.

"I'm anxious to know what he thinks about the QB situation," Glenn said yesterday from his hometown of Detroit. "You wonder if he thinks you're able or capable to do the job."

Despite having one of the CFL's top quarterback efficiency ratings in his first full season as a starter, the jury still seems to be out on the 26-year-old.

"I feel like I've proven myself in this league, and I'm eager to see what happens," Glenn said. "I feel like the Winnipeg club wants me. I'll have to wait and see."

Glenn is entering the option year of a three-year contract with the Bombers, and he told the Sun after the season that the priority the team put on the renegotiations would tell him a lot.

Bombers GM Brendan Taman spent the five weeks searching for a head coach, so he hasn't had a lot of time to talk contract with Glenn. In addition, players who will be free agents in February will be first on Taman's list.

As for the hiring of Berry itself, Glenn is excited about the prospect of working with someone who helped Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo dominate the league.

"It's a good thing. He knows how to win," Glenn said. "That's one thing we need to do in Winnipeg.

"I'm eager and anxious to work with him."

Glenn has even spoken to Alouettes backup Ted White about Berry.

"He said he's good to work with," Glenn said.

Glenn is also interested in seeing whom Berry will hire as the team's offensive co-ordinator. There's a chance that Berry will keep Mike Gibson in the position, because they have known one another since the mid-1980s.

Under Gibson's guidance last season, Glenn completed 57.3% of his passes for 3,571 yards and 27 touchdowns, which were third-most in the league. Those are solid numbers considering Glenn missed three games and most of a fourth due to injury.

Glenn, however, threw 17 interceptions, and three of them came at critical junctures in two games that the Bombers had good chances of winning.

Glenn possessed the league's second-best efficiency rating at one point during the campaign, but he struggled down the stretch and ended up in fifth spot behind B.C.'s Dave Dickenson, Toronto's Damon Allen, Calgary's Henry Burris and Calvillo.

..interesting comments from a winning QB. ...Anthony Calvillo....I am going to miss Doug Berry and what he brought to this team.....he definitely was a reason for Calvillo's success...

what can he do with the QB. position for the Bombers...wil be very interesting...

in my opinion...the Bombers did not play to their full potential at any position last year under Daley..(makes you wonder about what Charles Roberts could have really done under a proper coach)..the Bombers have a lot of talent....and under the guidance of Doug Berry... will definitely be a force to reckon with in 06..... :wink: