WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were left in a precarious situation at the quarterback position after Darian Durant’s surprise retirement.
Last year’s second and third stringers Dominique Davis and Dan LeFevour are both gone, so suddenly the Bombers have little depth at the most important position on the field.
Matt Nichols has a firm grip on the starting quarterback position, but after him the depth chart is completely up in the air with three young QB’s battling it for the back-up job: Zack Mahoney, Chris Streveler and Alex Ross.
“It’s a good opportunity for me,” Ross said. “I never would have initially come out here and say, hey, I’m trying to be the third string quarterback. If Darian was out here I’d want to compete with him and that’s just the type of competitor I am.”
Ross, 25, is the only one of three newcomers with any pro experience but he only completed five passes with two interceptions last season in his rookie year with the B.C. Lions.
“When I first came up here last year I was new to the whole CFL, new to the waggle, I was new to the wider field,” he said. “So having a good understanding of that coming into rookie camp and coming into training camp — I think I have a leg up now.”
WATCH: Raw Alex Ross Interview
The Bombers are also high on Streveler who set no less than 20 school records at the University of South Dakota. He recently worked out in front of scouts from all 32 NFL teams but decided to take a flier on the CFL.
“While to some people it might seem like the more glamorous decision to say you went and did an NFL mini-camp, but at the end of the day I just want an opportunity to compete and play football,” Streveler said.
“When I was getting some calls from NFL teams later on after the draft, maybe they were kinda lukewarm about a mini-camp. I felt like maybe, just come up here and get into actual camp and get somewhere where I’d have a real legit opportunity to compete for a spot. Where an NFL team would be maybe just a tryout situation and the chances of me even making it into camp are gonna be slim.”
And the head coach is looking forward to watching the competition for the backup job play out.
“We got a couple young guys that we believe are real smart guys.” head coach Mike O’Shea said. “We’ve got some guys that have in a very short period of time have stepped into a better opportunity. And it’s going to be exciting to see how they seize that opportunity.”
“We’ll see in three or so weeks where that lands them.”
WATCH: Raw Chris Streveler Interview
Both Streveler and Ross seem to understand the subtle nuances of Canadian football.
“They maybe big name guys, quarterbacks in the NFL, and they just can’t get a grasp of the game when they get up here.” Ross said. “The CFL, there’s a whole new feel to it. It’s a whole new game so you have to have a good understanding of that game. You can’t come up here and think it’s like U.S. ball.”
But the Canadian game isn’t the only thing they’re learning about.
“I don’t know anything about loonies and toonies really.” Streveler said.
“I don’t have a Canadian bank account or anything like that.”
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