WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Blue Bombers 36-13 win in the CFL pre season opener versus Montreal last week didn’t seem to do a lot to provide some clarity to the roster battles taking place at Defensive Halfback, Receiver, and Running Back. Or who will be the #3 Quarterback on the depth chart behind Drew Willy and Matt Nichols. And that’s because none of the participants appeared to give much ground to the people they are competing with.
It doesn’t sound like Dominique Davis or Bryan Bennett are going to get nearly as much time on the field tonight in Ottawa as they did against the Alouettes, when both performed very well. So we may have to wait until June 19th when the 46 player roster is set before we find out who gets the nod from the coaching staff in that battle.
But the first wave of cuts happens tomorrow, when all nine CFL teams have to get their camp rosters to 65. So the pressure has been ramped up for tonight against the RedBlacks in some of those other position “skirmishes”.
After Saturday’s workout, Head Coach Mike O’Shea had no reason to tip his hand- not that he would- on who has the upper hand at Running Back between Carlos Anderson or Timothy Flanders. The coach felt both players had productive games against the Alouettes- but with Drew Willy expected to be at the controls for at least the first half- and presumably with Andrew Harris as his number one option out of the offensive backfield- Anderson and Flanders are not likely to get as many touches as they were given vs Montreal.
The most intense battle- at least from a sheer numbers perspective- is at the receiving position, O’Shea rattled off no less than seven names after the Saturday practice of pass catchers who are still very much on the radar. And that doesn’t include the starting quartet of Weston Dressler, Ryan Smith, Darvin Adams, and Rory Kohlert.
Jace Davis, Thomas Mayo, Fred Williams, Julian Talley, Gerrard Shjeppard, Quincy McDuffie, and Kevin Cone all need to be noticed tonight for the right reasons.
Julian Posey and Kevin Fogg have quite the “mano et mano” competition going at the right defensive halfback position once occupied by Demond Washington. And former Saskatchewan Roughrider Macho Harris is trying to hold off Canadians Brendan Morgan and Taylor Loffler for the starting job at Safety.
With Canadian veterans Keith Shologun and Jamaal Westerman getting the night off, 2016 CFL Draft picks Trent Corney and Rupert Butcher will start on the right side of the Defensive Front Four this evening. And we’ll see if Adrian Hubbard can follow up on his impressive performance against Montreal with a similar- or better effort tonight in Ottawa.
Bob Irving will have more on the 680 CJOB Pre Game show starting at 5 p.m. when he’ll have some comments from Coach O’Shea and will also be joined live by General Managers Kyle Walters of the Blue Bombers and Ottawa’s Marcel Desjardins.