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Author Topic: Blue Bombers roster - 2020-2021  (Read 37794 times)
gobombersgo
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« Reply #300 on: July 05, 2021, 08:23:25 PM »

POSITIONAL PREVIEW - RUNNING BACKS
JULY 4, 2021 - Ed Tait

RUNNING BACKS


One day in the future - maybe it's within a calendar year, maybe it's not for another two-three-four-five years - Andrew Harris will walk into the football operations offices of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and make this declaration:

"That's it. I'm done."

It seems that until then, however, he'll just keep on kicking Father Time's backside all over the place while further cementing his place in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

Of this, there is no debate: the Blue Bombers star running back turned 34 in late April and missed out on adding to his legacy numbers with the cancellation of the Canadian Football League's 2020 season. That legacy already includes being a five-time CFL All-Star, the league's Most Outstanding Canadian in 2017, the first player in Grey Cup history to be named the MVP and top Canadian, the CFL's all-time leader in yards from scrimmage and rushing yards by a Canadian.

So the question on everyone's lips as camp opens this week is this: will the year away from the game refresh and revive the Winnipeg product, or lead to rust that pushes him to the end of his career?

In any case, Harris has stressed over and over again during this long absence that the fire still burns in his belly and that massive chip on his shoulder that has been his trademark very much remains in place.

It should be said, then, that with the Bombers entire starting O-line returning Harris has a real shot at chasing his fourth consecutive rushing title - a feat that hasn't been done since Mike Pringle of the Montreal Alouettes from 1997-2000.

The Bombers have brought in a couple of intriguing American prospects in Joshua Caldwell and James Williams, but it's the homegrown depth behind Harris that means the club will keep the spot Canadian now and, possibly, in the years ahead.

Johnny Augustine proved to be a solid replacement when he filled in for Harris for two games in 2019, and in Brady Oliveira and 2021 CFL Draft pick Kyle Borsa the Canadian RB cupboard is well stocked. Veteran Mike Miller remains a lock at fullback and as a force on special teams, where he is poised to become the CFL's all-time special-teams tackles leader.

In the end, though, as the Bombers ready to begin preparations on a condensed season, the focus will remain squarely on Harris - and with good reason. He is now a 19-to-10 favourite to win the rushing crown again and 9-to-4 to win the Most Outstanding Canadian award.

And bold is the bettor who puts down money against him.

TRAINING CAMP 2021 PREVIEW

A LOOK AT THE RUNNING BACKS

The Returnees:

Starter: Andrew Harris

Reserves: RB Johnny Augustine*, RB Brady Oliveira*, FB Mike Miller*

CFL free-agent additions: none

Departed: FB John Rush*

2020/2021 CFL Draft/Global picks in camp: Kyle Borsa

CFL newcomers: Joshua Caldwell, James Williams

*Indicates: Canadian

IMPACT NEWCOMER: Kyle Borsa

Selected in the 5th round, 39th overall, of the 2021 CFL Draft, Borsa isn't just an intriguing prospect to line up behind Harris, Augustine and Oliveira on the RB depth chart, but could also get some work at slotback. In many ways, he could be a clone of Nic Demski - a versatile athlete who could line up in the slot and then get the occasional carry out of the backfield. In any case, his first route to a roster spot will be on special teams.

X FACTOR: Brady Oliveira

Oliveira suffered a leg injury in the second game of the 2019 season and while he busted his backside to return to practice later that season, he did not see any game action again. A finalist for the Jon Cornish Trophy as the most outstanding Canadian in college football in 2018, he very much remains an intriguing prospect.

BIG STAT: 75

During his four seasons as a Blue Bomber Andrew Harris has pulled in 300 passes - an average of 75 per year. That's an astonishing number for a RB, and more than any other Bombers player, with Darvin Adams second over that span at 235.

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/04/positional-preview-running-backs-5/
« Last Edit: July 05, 2021, 08:25:15 PM by gobombersgo » Logged

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« Reply #301 on: July 05, 2021, 08:31:39 PM »

WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS' STOUT DEFENCE READY FOR 2021
JULY 2, 2021 - CFL.CA STAFF

https://www.cfl.ca/2021/07/02/continuity-key-bombers-stout-defence-ready-2021/
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gobombersgo
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« Reply #302 on: July 07, 2021, 02:41:02 AM »

POSITIONAL PREVIEW - RECEIVERS
JULY 6, 2021 - Ed Tait

RECEIVERS


It is a collection of men that is more hard-hat and lunch-pail than being all about flash and style.

Oh, they can sparkle brightly on occasion - see: 2019 Grey Cup playoffs - but are more often simply about getting it done while doing the unnoticed dirty work that comes with the gig.

To that end, the fact that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers return all five starting receivers from the '19 Cup run - wideouts Darvin Adams and Drew Wolitarsky and slots Nic Demski, Kenny Lawler and Rasheed Bailey - is welcome news as the club begins its championship defence all these months later.

Of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't also mention who isn't here, as free-agent addition Bryant Mitchell was to provide another big-play element to the attack before he opted to retire this spring. The fact that the club pursued and signed him does indicate it is seeking more targets for the receiving corps, with the candidates likely coming from the 15 fresh faces scheduled to report to camp this week.

Interestingly, outside of Adams - who is the veteran of the group at 31 and has two 1,000-yard seasons to his name - this is a group that also appears to have more to give, especially with Lawler, Demski and Bailey all 27 and Wolitarsky still just 26.

Adams posted back-to-back 1K seasons in 2017 and 2018 before having what he called a disappointing '19, although he was sensational in the playoffs. Lawler led the Bombers in receiving yards at 637 on 46 receptions while being named the team's Most Outstanding Rookie; the spirited Bailey made only four regular-season starts and then three more in the playoffs; Wolitarsky has nine TDs in the last two years while the multi-dimension Demski was one of a handful of players who found an extra gear when it mattered in November of '19.

The yardage and reception numbers for the Bombers receivers were down in '19 - Lawler's 637 was the lowest total to lead the club since Bob LaRose's 587 in 1975 - due to the club's focus on pounding the ball, especially with three different quarterbacks having starts in Zach Collaros, Matt Nichols and Chris Streveler.

It's the upside of the current starting crew along with Adams, plus the big-play potential of receivers/returners Janarion Grant and Charles Nelson could bring to the attack, plus a collection of new faces led by one-time Chicago Bears star Cam Meredith that will certainly have new offensive coordinator Buck Pierce rubbing his hands together like a mad scientist.

All the ingredients seem to be in place. Now it's up to Pierce, Collaros & Co. to turn it into an even more potent concoction.

TRAINING CAMP 2021 PREVIEW

A LOOK AT THE RECEIVERS

The Returnees:

Starters: Darvin Adams, Nic Demski*, Drew Wolitarsky*, Kenny Lawler, Rasheed Bailey

Reserves
: Charles Nelson, Janarion Grant

CFL free-agent additions: none

Departed: Lucky Whitehead (B.C.); Daniel Petermann* (Ottawa), Kenny Walker

2020/2021 CFL Draft/Global picks in camp: Brendan O'Leary-Orange*

CFL newcomers
: Carlton Agudosi, Deontez Alexander, Macho Bockru*, Montay Crockett, Davon Grayson, Quadree Henderson, Blake
Jackson, Malcolm Lewis, Mekale McKay, Kelvin McKnight, Cam Meredith, Alonzo Russell, ArDarius Stewart, James Tyrell*, C.J. Worton.

*Indicates: Canadian

IMPACT NEWCOMER: Cam Meredith

We told you of his signing on Canada Day and the man?s resum? sparkles. There will undoubtedly be questions about whether his knee is 100 percent, but if the hinge holds up the Bombers could be adding another game-breaking receiver to their arsenal.

X FACTOR
: Kenny Lawler

Lawler already lead the Bombers in receiving, as a rookie back in 2019, so calling him an 'X Factor' might seem a bit of a reach. But like many players who enter their second year in the CFL, Lawler could be on the verge of posting gaudy totals as the game slows down for many as they master the 'Waggle' and other tricks of playing receiver in the three-down game and on a wider field. He also rather quickly established a chemistry with QB Zach Collaros when the veteran arrived at the CFL trade deadline.

BIG STAT: 3,819

The Bombers finished first in rushing yardage in 2019, but was last in the CFL with 3,819 yards through the air. Again, much of that has to do with starting three different QBs, but that total was the lowest for the club through the air since 2009, when the passing yardage was 3,600.

FYI

The last two Grey Cup champions - your 2019 Blue Bombers and the 2018 Calgary Stampeders - did not have a receiver reach the 1K mark. In fact, the last two Bomber Grey Cup teams, in 2019 and 1990, did not have a receiver crack the 1,000-yard mark. Lawler led the club with 637 in '19, with Rick House the top receiver in yardage in 1990 at 883.

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/06/positional-preview-receivers-5/
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« Reply #303 on: July 07, 2021, 02:50:24 AM »

POSITIONAL PREVIEW - QUARTERBACKS
JULY 6, 2021 - Ed Tait

QUARTERBACKS

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will open camp this week with Zach Collaros as the unquestioned No. 1 quarterback - of that there is no debate.

After all, that's what going unbeaten in your starts and helping the team end a 28-year championship drought can earn a man: not only the adulation of a Grey Cup-starved fan base, but a brand new contract and a fresh start.

Here's the interesting thing about all that: Zach Collaros has made exactly one regular-season start for the Blue Bombers. Heck, yeah, the three in the playoffs were absolutely meaningful, but the story of his arrival is testament to the old expression that 'timing is everything and if it's mean to happen it will, at the right time and for the right reason.'

Acquired in the dying moments just before the close of business at the CFL trade deadline in October of 2019, Collaros was added after Matt Nichols had been shut down for the season with an injury and with Chris Streveler feeling the accumulative effects of taking a pounding in his starts in relief.

Collaros made an instant impression with everyone on and off the field and when the '19 season ended the club had a serious decision to make: hitch their wagon again to Nichols, who was so vital in the franchise turnaround but was coming off shoulder surgery on his throwing arm, or to the man who was 4-0 in his starts and took the final knee in victory in the Grey Cup.

All this means that for the first time since the summer of 2016 the Bombers will enter camp with a new clear-cut No. 1 QB behind centre. Collaros' skill has never been questioned - he was twice named the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Most Outstanding Player - but he has been crushed by injuries in recent seasons, having not played a full 18 games since 2017.

That makes the man directly behind him on the depth chart - the talented but untested Sean McGuire - one of the most-intriguing players not only heading into training camp, but the regular season.

Offensive coordinator Buck Pierce and the Bombers coaches love McGuire's toughness, his arm and his leadership ability, but with just three pass attempts to his name there will be questions about how vulnerable the defending Grey Cup champs are if Collaros goes down.

You see, not only has Nichols exited - first to Toronto and then to Ottawa - but the club has also lost Streveler and his unique rhino-in-a-quarterback's-body skillset to the Arizona Cardinals.

To offset that, the club has also brought two interesting prospects into camp in former Hawaii/Oklahoma State starter Dru Brown and Dalton Sneed, who threw for 47 touchdowns and over 6,000 yards in his last two seasons at Montana State. Still, with no preseason games that pair must truly be seen as projects heading into the '21 campaign.

So there are essentially two storylines in play here at the same time as the Bombers ready to open: the excitement of what Collaros could do with this offence and with his receiving corps with a full training camp under his belt, and the underlying worry - just as it would be with any team and their QB1 - of what life might look like without him.

TRAINING CAMP 2021 PREVIEW

A LOOK AT THE QUARTERBACKS

The Returnees:

Starter: Zach Collaros

Reserves: Sean McGuire

CFL free-agent additions
: none

Departed: Matt Nichols (Ott.), Chris Streveler (Arizona, NFL)

2020/2021 CFL Draft/Global picks in camp: None

CFL newcomers: Dalton Sneed, Dru Brown

IMPACT NEWCOMER
: Zach Collaros

We're not trying to be cute here, but the reality is spelled out above. Collaros was 22 of 28 for 221 yards with two TDs and one TD in his lone regular-season start. And while he was a quick study of the offence and those around him in the spectacular playoff run of '19, he comes into camp with less games played with the Bombers than McGuire, the man listed behind him on the depth chart.

X FACTOR
: Buck Pierce

This isn't just about Pierce replacing Paul LaPolice as offensive coordinator after the latter moved on to the head coaching gig in Ottawa. Think of it this way: Bombers QBs will benefit from having one of the most-respected coaches in the CFL now leading their room AND the offence. Pierce was in high demand across the CFL over the last few seasons, but opted to stay with the Bombers not just because he liked Winnipeg and his family is here, but because of this very opportunity.

BIG STAT: 105.6

Collaros posted a 105.6 QB-efficiency rating in his four starts with the Bombers. Small sample-size yes, but only two other QBs had a higher rating in 2019 - Nick Arbuckle at 106.5 and Nichols at 107.2.

FYI

The Bombers went 41-21 under Nichols from 2015-19 and, even though the injury limited him to 11 starts in '19, he did lead the club in passing for five straight seasons.

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/06/positional-preview-quarterbacks-5/
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« Reply #304 on: July 07, 2021, 03:43:37 AM »

Love it thanks goBgo!
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gobombersgo
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« Reply #305 on: July 07, 2021, 03:49:58 AM »

The team has issued jersey numbers to the players;

Some notes:
- Bombers list 103 players on the roster.
- numbers not issued - 11, 28, 63, 75, 85
- 17 is being used by Blake Jackson WR, Mazzi Wilkins DB
- 22 Kyle Borsa RB, Ranthony Texada DB
- 25 Joshua Caldwell RB, Prince Robinson DB
- 57 Tanner Cadwallader LB, Tyler Johnson OL
- 84 ArDarius Stewart WR, Carlton Agudosi WR
- 91 Connor Griffiths DL, Andree Saint-Amour DL
- players without numbers; Mekale McKay WR, Mason Moe LB

https://www.bluebombers.com/roster/

Jersey info from Ed Tait from a few years ago;

In the meantime, some jersey number background info:

The Bombers haven't formally retired numbers, but the following are officially no longer available to players:

11 - Worn by hall of famer Ken Ploen, the face of this franchise during his playing days from 1957-67 and later into his retirement. Ploen also wore 89, as did many players of that era who played both sides of the ball.

28 - Jeff Nicklin was a decorated Bomber from 1934-40 before becoming a decorated soldier in World War II, passing away on the battlefield in 1945. The winner of the Most Outstanding Player Award in the West Division is annually presented with the Jeff Nicklin Memorial Trophy.

75 - As a tribute to Tommy Lumsden, who played end, defensive end, tackle and guard for the Bombers from 1951-54 but passed away at the age of 25 in a Winnipeg hospital while suffering a gall bladder attack near Beausejour. The Tommy Lumsden Trophy is presented annually to the Bombers' top Canadian player.

That information is passed down from one equipment manager to the next and Brad Fotty, who has been in the position since 1990, has since put Walby's 63 and Stegall's 85 out of commission. The same was done for Bob Cameron's 6, but when the club signed quarterback Dominique Davis - who asked for that number - the hall of fame punter gave his thumbs up for it to be brought back.

https://www.bluebombers.com/blue-by-the-numbers/
« Last Edit: July 07, 2021, 04:41:36 AM by gobombersgo » Logged

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« Reply #306 on: July 07, 2021, 04:29:50 AM »

Great information GoBGo
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« Reply #307 on: July 07, 2021, 04:52:26 AM »

Players I have listed on the roster that the Bombers haven't added to their roster page:

James Williams RB   A   signed Mar 5 2021
Patrick Choudja - 99 DL   A   signed to future contract Oct 10 2019
Vontarrius Dora DL   A   signed Jan 11 2021
K Kearse-Thomas LB   A   signed July 2 2021   
Dexter McDougle  DB   A   signed Feb 6 2020                                     
David Rivers  DB   A   signed July 2 2021 
Hakeem Baily  DB   A   signed July 2 2021 
« Last Edit: July 07, 2021, 05:51:55 AM by gobombersgo » Logged

gobombersgo
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« Reply #308 on: July 07, 2021, 05:53:05 AM »

My unofficial numbers by postion;

Quaterback
4

Runningback
4 Nationals
2 Americans

Fullback
1 National

Receiver
18 Americans
 5 Nationals

Oline
7 Americans
6 Nationals
1 Global

Kicker

1 National

Long-snapper
1 National

D-Lineman
12 Americans
 5 Nationals
 1 Global

Linebacker
8 Americans
4 Nationals
2 Globals

Defensive Back
24 Americans
 3 Nationals
 1 Global

110 players in total

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« Reply #309 on: July 07, 2021, 12:19:47 PM »

Players I have listed on the roster that the Bombers haven't added to their roster page:

James Williams RB   A   signed Mar 5 2021
Patrick Choudja - 99 DL   A   signed to future contract Oct 10 2019
Vontarrius Dora DL   A   signed Jan 11 2021
K Kearse-Thomas LB   A   signed July 2 2021   
Dexter McDougle  DB   A   signed Feb 6 2020                                     
David Rivers  DB   A   signed July 2 2021 
Hakeem Baily  DB   A   signed July 2 2021 

Chouda, McDougle, Dora and Williams were on the roster page before ( IIRC ) so I wonder if they have been released.

The same question for the two players with out numbers. Moe and McKay

In each instance these players were among the oldest signings back in late 2019 or early 2020.

My suspicion was that the oldest signings might be those that decided not to come to TC or were released by the team at some point. As new players were added more recently, those signings added for TC 2020 might have been displaced in some cases.

Still waiting for the final crunch of transactions to get us down to the 100 player limit. Mostly just hoping we don't have any veterans retiring.

I can understand why the very recent July signings haven't been added to the roster while final paperwork is being filled. OTOH, players not on the roster or not getting numbers IMO means not coming.


« Last Edit: July 07, 2021, 12:34:57 PM by Blue In BC » Logged

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« Reply #310 on: July 07, 2021, 02:03:49 PM »

Chouda, McDougle, Dora and Williams were on the roster page before ( IIRC ) so I wonder if they have been released.

The same question for the two players with out numbers. Moe and McKay

In each instance these players were among the oldest signings back in late 2019 or early 2020.

My suspicion was that the oldest signings might be those that decided not to come to TC or were released by the team at some point. As new players were added more recently, those signings added for TC 2020 might have been displaced in some cases.

Still waiting for the final crunch of transactions to get us down to the 100 player limit. Mostly just hoping we don't have any veterans retiring.

I can understand why the very recent July signings haven't been added to the roster while final paperwork is being filled. OTOH, players not on the roster or not getting numbers IMO means not coming.




I would be surprised if Mekale Mckay was a pre-camp cut by the Bombers. He has been on our neg list for years and the Bombers have hotly pursued him but could never convince him to come North until now as he opted for the AAF and XFL instead. If he is not in camp my guess is that he opted out and asked for his release to go back to the XFL when it resumes.
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Blue In BC
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« Reply #311 on: July 07, 2021, 03:31:20 PM »

I would be surprised if Mekale Mckay was a pre-camp cut by the Bombers. He has been on our neg list for years and the Bombers have hotly pursued him but could never convince him to come North until now as he opted for the AAF and XFL instead. If he is not in camp my guess is that he opted out and asked for his release to go back to the XFL when it resumes.

I was high on him as well and agree with what you're saying. OTOH, XFL or USFL in 2022 might have come into play for him asking for his release. Or it could be a Covid related decision.

Hard to tell why a player signed 18 months ago doesn't show on the roster that was just updated this week. Ditto for the others I mentioned.

110 players so something has to give.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2021, 04:23:45 PM by Blue In BC » Logged

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« Reply #312 on: July 07, 2021, 03:39:21 PM »

I was high on him as well and agree with what you're saying. OTOH, XFL or USFL in 2022 might have come into play for him asking for his release. Or it could be a Covid related decision.

Hard to tell why a play signed 18 months ago doesn't show on the roster that was just updated this week. Ditto for the others I mentioned.

110 players so something has to give.

For sure....and I hope he is here at camp, or we cut him because we found better prospects.
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« Reply #313 on: July 07, 2021, 04:23:20 PM »

For sure....and I hope he is here at camp, or we cut him because we found better prospects.

I would have thought he'd be quite high on the early TC depth chart as far as rookies. He might still be coming and we'll find out soon enough.

The better prospect aspect is something we fans wonder about as players are added and others deleted. Ultimately we don't know what the basis of some decisions are about.

This year even more so with rookie " retirements or suspensions ".

Some positional groups like DB's where we have 28 in total is easier to lose a few in that fashion without adding. However we HAVE added 3 in July. Hence my expectation some rookies are no shows. The coaches will have a perception of skill set, versatility and probable specific each is looking to win and an initial depth chart.

Unlike losing 3 - 4 OL or LB's where we have less imports coming to camp.

The Bombers have the least amount of deletions post free agency as far as I can tell. Maybe being Grey Cup champs plays into that.

Odds are against at least some players deciding to not play in 2021. The question is which ones are making those decisions.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2021, 04:38:30 PM by Blue In BC » Logged

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« Reply #314 on: July 07, 2021, 09:12:15 PM »

I would be surprised if Mekale Mckay was a pre-camp cut by the Bombers. He has been on our neg list for years and the Bombers have hotly pursued him but could never convince him to come North until now as he opted for the AAF and XFL instead. If he is not in camp my guess is that he opted out and asked for his release to go back to the XFL when it resumes.

Mckay has a long wait for the XFL then. Stated in today's news that no plans to start UNTIL 2023! Long time to go without a pay cheque. You will be forgotten in the NFL or CFL if you sit on the sidelines that long unless another COVID lockdown comes again.
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