Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea, his staff, and the team’s scouting department were finally able to get on the field and “not have to look at film of losses”. The Bombers kicked off a two-day free agent camp on Tuesday at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
O’Shea liked what he saw in terms of the talent assembled.
“We’ve got different ranges of guys in terms of their size and their speed,” said O’Shea following the morning session.
“That kind of variety is good. We could move guys around for the second practice and see their versatility. Give ’em just enough to see how well they learn. And keep it simple enough so they can play fast.”
One of the players on that learning curve is quarterback Bryan Schor, who is on the Bombers negotiation list. But he doesn’t consider that an advantage over Sean McGuire and Kevin Anderson – the other two QB’s competing in the camp.
“I don’t think any of the quarterbacks are looking at it as me versus you, or any of that,” said the former James Madison University standout. “I’ve been vocal about talking to Sean and Kevin about that. I don’t like thinking you’re going out, and it’s winner take all between the three of you.”
One of the more familiar names on the 40 player roster belongs to former Dallas Cowboys receiver and returner Lucky Whitehead. Two years ago he was released by the Cowboys because of what turned out to be an erroneous shoplifting charge. And then he suffered a foot injury after being picked up by the New York Jets.
The 5-9, 180 pound speedster says once he recovered physically, he also ran into some trouble off the field, and needed to “clean that stuff up.” He was thankful when Bombers Director of US College Scouting Ryan Rigmaiden picked up the phone and gave him a call.
“It was a great conversation. I was definitely excited for the opportunity to come down here – learnin’ on the fly,” said Whitehead. “He liked my style of play, my speed. Just wanted to make sure I was healthy.”
Another former NFLer who is looking for a fresh start is cornerback and safety Mykkele Thompson. The ex-New York Giants draft pick suffered a torn achilles in his rookie season in 2015, and then injured his knee the following year.
The 25 year old from San Antonio was born in Italy and also spent part of his early childhood in England as part of a military family. So he understands changes-but admits the CFL rules have been a little tricky to handle.
“It’s definitely an adjustment. And we have to come out here and adjust as fast as we can,” said Thompson. “It’s especially a strain for the defence – cause we’ve never seen receivers run at us before like that. It’s definitely challenging.”
The third and final session of the camp is set for Thursday morning, and then decisions will be made over the weekend on which players will get an invite to rookie camp, which is scheduled to start on May 15th at Investors Group Field.