All four Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterbacks will get their chance to play when the Bombers suit up for their first exhibition game against the Toronto Argonauts on Monday.
The second one though, a June 14 visit to the Calgary Stampeders, might look a lot more like the Drew Willy show. In past years, the Bombers have rested their incumbent pivot in the second exhibition game of the year. This year, with a young quarterback corps – none of which have started a season before – things are going to be different.
"I think you answered the question right there by saying ‘veteran’ and ‘incumbent,’" Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea said, after the fifth practice of training camp. "In my mind right now, I don’t think the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are in a position to rest anybody… they’re valuable repetitions against good opponents that you need to beat."
So far though, O’Shea has fine things to say about his presumptive starter, Drew Willy. "He’s grasping it all very quickly, taking the classroom out on the field," the head coach said. "He’s got quick decisions… it comes down to decisionmaking, and he’s doing it at a rapid pace."
Meanwhile, O’Shea was still working through the aftermath of losing Canadian defensive lineman Ryan Lucas, who is out for the season with a blown ACL. The head coach repeated that message on Wednesday – that he was more concerned about the player than about the Bombers’ non-import depth.
As of Thursday morning, he said, the team was not making plans to acquire another non-import, though they have another round of team meetings on Thursday evening to discuss that and other topics.
"What concerns me is a good man might not be playing football again," O’Shea said. "That’s a decision he’s going to have to make. Ryan Lucas is an important part of our team, whether he’s on the field or not."
On the injury front, the Bombers were missing a raft of players, including defensive back Donovan Alexander (calf), defensive end Jason Vega (hip flexor), punter Mike Renaud (tight back), receiver Donavon Kemp (groin), offensive lineman Tyson Pencer (flu), defensive back Dan West (calf), and EJ Kuale (ankle). None of these were serious, O’Shea said, and everyone is "mending nicely."
Offensive lineman Paul Swiston is still out with injury, and tailback Will Ford missed his second full practice with a hamstring injury.