Winnipeg Blue Bombers wrap things up in Florida
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers Coaching and Scouting Staff saw what they needed to see. Now they just have to decide which 20 or so of the 40 players they watched the last two days at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida did enough of the right things to earn an invite to next month’s training camp in Winnipeg.
GM Kyle Walters says he had a few interesting conversations with some of the players ahead of Thursday morning’s final practice session. “Yeah, a couple sidle up and asked, How many guys from here make it to training camp?,” said Walters just as the final practice was underway.
“You can tell the veteran guys who have been through these things before, that wanna start figuring out the numbers game of things here,” said Walters. And the numbers work out to something like this according to the GM.
Right after the practice, Walters huddled up with his scouting staff of Danny McManus, Ryan Rigmaiden, and Ted Goveia – along with Head Coach Mike O’Shea and Coordinators Richie Hall and Paul LaPolice to decide on which of those 20 or so players would make the grade.
Hall feels there are some players who attended this camp, who could push for a spot on the Blue Bombers active roster in 2019. And he used Brandon Alexander as a prime example of an unemployed football player who came out of nowhere to become a mainstay on one of the better teams in the CFL. “We lost two good football players on the corners last year in Fogg and Randle,” said Hall. “We got some veteran inside guys coming back, but we’re short on the edge. You look at BA two years ago – he was an unknown. Now he’s one of our top Defensive Backs.”
Alexander made the trip from his home in Orlando to provide some encouragement – a a few helpful tips to his fellow defensive players. “While I was on the sideline I wanted to tell them how to gauge the receiver as far as how fast or how slow they were running off the ball.” And here is Hall on the way his defensive unit responded to a challenging first day of camp.
While it’s a guessing game as to who some of these standouts were in the minds of the Bomber braintrust, one player on the offensive side of the ball who looks like a for sure to get an invite to phase two of the process is Receiver Rasheed Bailey. And Offensive Coordinator Paul LaPolice had high praise for the well traveled Philadelphia native when he was asked about Bailey’s camp performance. “He did everything right. Every rep he was doing things a hundred miles an hour, and he caught almost every ball thrown to him.”
Bailey certainly appeared to set the standard coming out of Bradenton.