WINNIPEG – Fans of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers got an early taste of football as the club opened their three day mini-camp at Investors Group Field on Monday. The camp is strictly for players on offense as the team puts Paul Lapolice’s new playbook to the test.
“It’s just great to have players around,” head coach Mike O’Shea said.
It was the first chance to get a glimpse of a number of new players that were brought in as part of their off-season roster overhaul. Newcomers like Weston Dressler, Ryan Smith and Andrew Harris ran drills for the first time in a Blue Bombers uniform.
“It was great. Today was awesome,” Harris said. “Obviously there’s a lot of new stuff we got to put in. But for me it was good to get running around and meet some of these guys today and putting the blue and gold on for the first time and actually doing it for real.”
“Right now it’s just trying to get comfortable with the guys,” said Dressler. “There’s a lot of new faces here and there’s a few guys that have been here the past few years. Just get that comfort level and let those situations kind of play themselves out and the leaders will emerge within the locker room.”
It was the first real test for Drew Willy’s recently healed up knee and it held up well over the first two practices in the closest thing to a game he’s seen since crumpling in a heap on the turf back in August.
“I’m 100 per cent running around today,” Willy said.
“You didn’t even tell that I was injured before so it just felt good to get out there.”
But with no defense on the field the question is how can they tell who’s doing well when you’re playing against nobody.
“We are evaluating everything but it’s different,” O’Shea said.
Addison Richards, Kevin Cone and Jace Daniels did not practice on Monday and won’t be taking part at all this week, as they are still recovering from injuries. Receiver Jace Davis won’t attend because of what O’Shea described as “family issues”. Receiver Jerrel Jernigan was here but already left.
“He actually went home today, personal reasons, he had to get home,” O’Shea said. “So we’ll see how that goes from this point forward. I don’t expect him back in this camp. It’s just too short to fly him home and fly him back.”