December 10, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
If Blue Bombers coach Tim Burke had to pick an MVP of this mucky 1-8 season so far, well, "that’s a hard one," the coach mulled after practice today.
That said, he still did come up with names: on offence, slotback Cory Watson has been coming out to play. On defence, sack master Alex Hall and defensive back Desia Dunn are getting the job done. Still, Burke’s been blunt before that there are holes on this roster, and places where the talent level could use a boost.
The Bombers looked to continue that process today, when they added former NFL safety Aaron Rouse to the roster; he could play linebacker as well. Rouse is a big guy, 6-foot-4, and played 41 games between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants. After NFL salary rules likely squeezed him out, he played in the UFL, but found himself looking for work after that league folded suddenly last year.
Now, after Bombers scouts sussed him out, Burke is hoping he might bring something new. Right now, the team has the 29-year-old penciled in the backfield, but that could change – since he is an import, there’s also the ratio issue to consider there too. "I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can do," Burke said. "If he was a free safety, he should have great range… he’s got long body, long arms. That would help with man coverage as well."
If the Bombers do want to put Rouse at safety over Cauchy Muamba, that means they’ll have to start a Canadian elsewhere. Right now, Burke says, he isn’t sure where that would be. But bear in mind, the Bombers are also still looking for new talent. "It depends on if we can make some moves along the way," he said.
Speaking of moves, the Bombers don’t plan to make many in advance of Sunday’s game. The defence will likely remain the same. On the offence, Paul Swiston will probably go to tackle, as the Bombers ran in practice on Wednesday, and Shannon Boatman will stay at guard.
Meanwhile, running back Chad Simpson told trainers he had a hurting foot today, but it wasn’t known if that would pose any bigger problem than a daily bump.
The revolving door continued to spin at Investors Group Field this morning as the Bombers signed two new players and released two others.
The most interesting move of the day was the signing of import linebacker/safety Aaron Rouse, (6-foot-4, 227, Virginia Tech) a former 3rd round pick of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers and a veteran of 41 NFL games over four seasons, including 18 starts, with the Packers and New York Giants.
Rouse was one of five players the Bombers worked out Tuesday morning in what was a mini-camp of sorts. Rouse’s credentials as a former safety are of particular interest at a time when head coach Tim Burke has been very critical of the play of his secondary.
The Bombers also finally announced the signing of import OL Colt Schulte (6-6, 296, Missouri Western), which had leaked earlier in the week and was expected. Schulte started 38 games at Missouri Western at both guard and tackle.
To make room, the Bombers released import DB Joe Sampson and import OL Aderious Simmons from the practice roster.
Updated on Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 2:55 PM CDT:
Re-tops from after practice.