Training Camp 2014

Depth chart courtesy of Kirk Penton as training camp opens tonight:

Bombers depth chart Kirk Penton - May 28th, 2014

QB — Drew Willy, Max Hall, Brian Brohm, Robert Marve
RB — Will Ford, Nic Grigsby, Paris Cotton, Carl Volny, Kevin Smith, Errol Brooks
WR — Mario Urrutia, Jason Barnes, Braylon Bell
SB — Nick Moore, Jaymar Johnson, C.J. Tarver
SB — Cory Watson, Julian Feoli-Gudino
SB — Clarence Denmark, Aaron Kelly, Donavon Kemp, Aaron Woods
WR — Rory Kohlert, Jordan Brescacin, Taylor Renaud
LT — Glenn January, Jarvis Jones, Paul Swiston
LG — Chris Greaves, Tyson Pencer
C — Steve Morley, Matthias Goossen
RG — Randy Richards, Chris Kowalczuk, Quinn Everett
RT — Pat Neufeld, Dan Knapp, Dale Stevenson

DE — Jason Vega, Greg Peach, Willie Moseley
DT — Ryan Lucas, Louie Richardson, Kashawn Fraser
DT — Bryant Turner, Jake Thomas, Zach Anderson
DE — Kenny Tate, Stafford Gatling, Louis Nzegwu
WLB — Desia Dunn, Kamaal McIlwain
MLB — Ejiro Kuale, Ian Wild, Graig Newman, Jesse Briggs, Aram Eisho
SAM — Korey Banks, Maurice Leggett, Stephon Morris
CB — Chris Randle, Marty Markett
HB — Demond Washington, Brandon Hogan
S — Johnny Sears, Dan West, Matt Pierce, Teague Sherman
HB — Alex Suber, Don Unamba, Bruce Johnson
CB — Donovan Alexander, Matt Bucknor, Kris Robertson, Derek Jones

K/P — Lirim Hajrullahu, Mike Renaud, Brett Maher
LS — Sean Blake

First glance at how they may deploy the ratio - 3 NI starters at Oline, 2 at receiver, Ryan Lucas starting at one of the DT spots, and Donoan Alexander at corner. Currently have an import Randy Richards listed as the starter at RG with Morely penciled in to start at centre for the time being. If Goosen can pick things up quick and take a starting role sooner then I would assume Morely slides back over to guard.

Looking at this depth chart still goes to show how poor our depth is at NI oline and NI receiver. The guys behind Watson and Kohlert don't exactly inspire. Hopefully someone steps up or there are some choice roster cuts from other teams down the line.

Sears moving from SAM to safety. Hopefully this will help keep him healthier.

Halfback spots could be quite the battles. Washington and Suber could face stiff competition from Hogan and Johnson who have NFL experience and by all accounts showed will at minicamp.

I like the idea of Sears at safety, I think that should work out pretty well. Not sold on Alexander ahead of Bucknor, but we'll see.

....Definitely a good move with Sears at safety....head-hunter and tracker..Alexander has to show me something more than he has in his last 2 stops to get my nod...All this is so preliminary though...Don't forget who's running the D :lol: ..With Etch you just never know :wink: I hope a new contract is ratified and we can get on with things, seriously...We wait patiently...

Ah yes, papa, a very valid point indeed. With Etch, there'll be guys lining up all over the place, regardless of what any depth chart indicates. His defensive sets and schemes can confuse the opposing offence, here's hoping they don't confuse your D players. . . they're gonna need a lot of time studying up this season.

That looks like a very small LB crew. Dunn is a DB by trade moved to SAMLB do to coverage abilities. Doubt he would be at Will.
Ian Wild was fantastic at Will LB but if he is just as good at MLB so be it solving the MLB issue. If Newman does play LB it will be in the form of Will/Safety similar to his foremr teamate butler.
Alexander or Bucknor at CB looks great on paper and for the ratio but is it realistic. Bucknor did start a season at CB in Hamilton which was the worst defense in the league. rookie Robertson being thrown into the CB fire not a good idea as well. Saety and special teamstostart his career would be ideal and very possible.
Alexander is a safety and should be the safety. Messing with placing Sears from a natural cover DB at CB/HB or even Sam makes not much sense.
Use of TE that is a receivng threat ideal. Pointbriand has been a great blocker and teamsguy but SMU product Fitz has the 6'5" TE body.
Getting canadian Dlineman like Lucas and Thomas step up their game will be huge fora ratiospot.

....Well steve you managed to pump the tires of a near-do-well, Alexander and to cast doubt about Sears and his versatility..Alexander has not impressed me in his last two stops..Most likely why he has moved along from those teams...His ni status and being a local guy is getting him a good look and a spot with the Bombers, I'd say, not his competency at his position..Sears on the other hand, although an import, is far and wide a better prospect at safety..IF Alexander is going to stick with the club, his play will have to improve a lot...There's some terrific talent getting a good shot in the defensive back-field..Most likely the ratio numbers will keep Alexander around but you can bet Sears is going to get a long hard look at safety..Well see when the final roster spots are decided.. :wink:

Cant argue with Sears being a better safety than Alexander and going Canadian at the field side corner gives them also Bucknor who has started in Hamilton but was part of a terrible defense and Robertson as rookie I would highly doubt that he would be able to adjust to the receivers he will face in the CFL.
Sears may be much better at field corner than any of the current roster players and except for injury he was going to fill the Sam LB role.
Newman IMHO is much better than many people may think. He was buried behind a lot of talent with the Riders and the fact that the Bombers were willing to out bid the Riders they are expecting that he should be in a break out season situation, whehter at Safety or an undersized but hard hitting Will LB.
Alos with Robertson speed he could possibily be able to play safety right away.
Walters and company have brought in as much talent as could possibily be done it will be up to the players and coaches to put the pieces in the right spot.
hamilton is also looking at a great player but inexpereinced Canadian at Field Corner. Where as Edmontom did last year will not be this year since bringing in Watkins.
BC also is moving Keynan Parker from a back up CB to safety and have brough in a ton of new import DB's

WINNIPEG, MB., May 31, 2014 - The Winnipeg Blue Bombers today announce the club has signed import defensive back Terry Hawthorne.

The team has also released the following players:

  •    Import defensive back Brandon Hogan
  •    Import wide receiver Braylon Bell
  •    Import offensive lineman Randy Richards
  •    Import linebacker Kamaal McIlwain

Caught the tail end of the first practice today. Thought I'd share

Kevin Smith was on the sideline and I saw later reported in the Free Press he injured his hamstring earlier in the practice. He spent a lot of time alone and stood away from the team in the last session and during the final team huddle. Not sure if he's standoffish or just disappointed the injury might have cost him a shot at earning a job.

With Randy Richards let go after rookie camp, they shuffled the deck at OL. Morely was moved to first team right guard where Richards was originally penciled. His prior spot as first team Centre was now the recently resigned Quentin Saulsberry, Goosen the 2nd team centre. Morely seemed to get some 3rd team reps at centre during the offense versus defense to finish off practice . He snapped the ball well but IMO he appeared to struggle to get his hands on a rusher after snapping the ball leading to a DT getting an open gap up the middle. As odd as it might be to start an import at C in the CFL, if Goosen isn't ready then they may have to use Saulsberry there and not Morely. Kowalczuk started at centre a couple years ago before being replaced by Sorensen, and was mentioned as a possible centre candidate but he's listed as RG on the depth chart and did not get any reps in drills or otherwise at centre that I noticed.

I was expecting to get a look at Sears at S but he seemed to be playing HB with Maurice Leggett in at S.

QBs had some moments. Hall looked decent, Willy on one play stood in the pocket with a rusher coming in on his blindside and delivered a nice strike. Number of missed throws, some over, some behind. I am really hoping there is no players strike as the QBs will need a good amount of time to work on their chemistry with their receivers. It looks like there is something there that can be good, but it looked like a work in progress to me.

Speaking of receivers - Nick Moore had some ups and downs, as did Watson. Urrutia wasn't noticeable to me other than on one play when Randle, giving up over 6" in height, jammed him just off the line of scrimmage during skelly and completely stopped up his route. I've read elsewhere that others thought he looked good, maybe that was in an earlier part of the practice. Kohlert was his usual self, seemingly catching every ball in his direction. Feoli-Gudino and Renaud made a few grabs in skelly session as well.

Of the RBs, Paris Cotton was noticeable for good reasons, as was Ford, while Nic Grigsby for bad reasons to me. There was a pick late just before the first practice broke off, looked like it was Don Unamba who made it.

Swiston still not recovered from last years injury and was on the sidelines as well. May be hard for him to keep his active roster spot this year.

The status quo would be to start 3 Canadian and 2 imports on the oline. It used to mean Imports at both OT spots. With Neufeld and seemingly more and more qual;ity Canadian RT putting an emphasis at the best center possible Import or Canadian is a pretty good idea.
They are solid at Canadian receiver to start two.
Defense will have to come up with two ratio spots.The Bombers went after and got the best Canadian players they could they just happen to be a very deep bunch of DBs. Which could translate into a sfaety, field Corner or Will LB in any ogthjose combinations. Newman, Bucknor, Robertson, Alexander, Teague give a nice variety of vets, young guys, and perhaps guys ready for breakout season.
making a concerned effort to grab Newman in FA and trade for Bucknor they will look at the Field CB ad LB spot as well as safeties. Field canadian CB have not had much success but several clubs still looking for the right player and safety to Will LB has become something of a new look for Canadian hard hitters

.....Well here's a good reason why fans shouldn't go all 'ga-ga' about a player until he actually does something for you....Kevin Smith released due to injury...It's sad to see him not get a better chance at a spot but when you can't stay healthy, game over...If his injury would've occurred during the season (if it ever gets going) it would have been disastrous and maybe cost another good prospect a is what it is...Tough luck for Smith...such is the world of football :expressionless:

He certainly looked dejected. Wonder how bad the injury was as I didn't see it happen but only saw him limping afterwards and the limp wasn't terribly pronounced. If it's not too bad wonder if this was a "see you in two weeks when you're better" release to open up a roster spot for another live body. They had a couple guys go down yesterday.

Sounds like Watson is sitting out this morning. There were a couple of diving catches in the last session that I saw on day one of camp and IIRC Watson was the guy that laid out at least once if not twice to make a grab, so I wouldn't be surprised that he might be a bit sore this morning. Hopefully it's nothing more than that though, given his penchant for injury.

On to plan B - Ryan Lucas suffers torn ACL, out for season. Will have to find another way to fill the 7th NI starting spot.

Bombers will be in the tough to find that 7th NI spot. If they could get a 4th Canadian on that Oline togo with the two receivers thatwould be 6 on O. Then it comes down tothe strong pointof their Canadian defenders which is DBs. Safety would be an obvious and they have several who can do it. Will LB Newman also a possibilty and the field CB which Bucknor has expereince but how good is he

7th starter could be by committee - a rotation including Jake Thomas, Rene Stephan, and another of the import DBs. There's always the possibility of finding another depth NI player once teams make cuts. Ticats may let a DL gone after adding Laurent.

As the CFL game changes, like all football, that more players are used on diffense in different packages and rotations. The Bombers, the Als, and the Riders all seem to be in a similar spot where a second ratio spot on defense may be by committe with a set of organized packages and rotations.
It is becoming something we may see more of instead of saying we have a ratio spot at MLB so we need a Canadian back up at that position.
BC did something similar in 2012 with Harris as a Canadian RB being backed up by an import in Tim Brown who doubled as return man. When Brown came in it was part of a double switch with Paris Jackson coming in for Arland bruc to balacne the ratio without having any kind of dropoff at the receiver spot.
The Lions got away from that last year with Jackson not getting that time hense his unhapiness

One more sleep now that they have a tentative agreement :rockin:

How's Willy doing so far at TC?

With Lucas now out for the season really leaves Jake Thomas on the Dline who Mike O'Shea seems to be very pleased with and entering his 3rd season it would be about the time for him to break out.
The rest of their Canadian Talent lies with their DBs and and how versatile they may be.
If Indeed Ian Wild Moves to MLB Newman could/Should be primed and ready to play Will LB as well as Safety. He was buried in the talent the the Ridrs had last year and i think he will break out this season. There is a reason why the BBs signed him and a reason why he left his hometown riders.
Roberston at 100% also looking at the safety spot would be very nice. Bucknor at Field Corner has starting experience as a rookie but after being ousted by the Austin Era entering his 3rd season steps from CIS to now a 3rd year CFL player could be right on time.
Alexander was an all star not that long ago. Not sure He can do the job at Field CB but at Safety it is a no brainer that he can play that position. Teague Sherman also brings into his 2nd full year of expereince still cutting his teeth on Teams but a great upside IMHO.
Growing pains for sure but they have those 4/5 Canadian DBs versatile to spread from the safety spot to Will LB or Field CB.

Depth will be an issue for sure but similar to what we saw Riders do in 2012 ans Hamilton last year there should be no down time in evaluating talent the entire season with plenty of players coming in and plenty being let go who do not fit the mold.
Walters has been a tireless worker since he was the interim GM making improvemtns fromthe day he took that role and he will continue to do so.
Taking a draft pick at a pivotal Line position that actually is on board from day one is already a huge improvement over the 2013 draft.

Here's the Bombers depth chart for tonight's game:

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The Bombers have a lot of nicked up players so that's not the team that will start the season.

Leggett, Kansas City Chiefs top rookie in 08, appears to have locked up the Safety position. Sears had been pencilled in there but was moved to HB and is now injured. When he gets healthy again I think we'll see him in front of Demond Washington at that position.

Bucknor is the field CB because Alexander is injured.

Unamba has had a good camp and has leapfroged Dunn to take the Wil position.

Ian Wild is the MLB because Kuale is injured.

Peach is in for an injured Jason Vega.

On offense it looks like they're going with three import O-linemen.

The 'newcomer', Dan Knapp played a bit towards the end of last season. This guy is a monster: 6'5", 305 lbs, and unlike most O-linemen, he's ripped. He's also fast. At the end of each practice Bob Wylie has the O-line doing gassers. Knapp finishes way ahead of the others. The other day the QBs joined in and only Drew Willy beat Knapp (and only by a neck).

Urrutia, at 6'6" and 238 lbs is getting a good look at WR but Arron Kelly and C J Tarver have also been impressive. As has, to a lesser extent, the Canuck, Feoli-Gudino.

Finally, our kicking is going to be a lot better this year. Both Hajrullahu and Maher have been booming them.