CFL: Previewing the Upcoming 2011 Winnipeg Blue Bombers Training Camp
It was 207 days ago that the 2010 season ended for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, finishing the season on a 4-11 record and entering the offseason with more questions than answers.
Today marks the opening day of rookie camp, before everyone gathers at training camp on Sunday.
One positive to take from finishing last in the league, it allowed the Bombers to acquire their first No. 1 overall draft pick since 1975 and with that, selected linebacker Henoc Muamba.
The Bombers were not done there, as they would use their fourth pick in the first round, acquired after trading coveted quarterback Steven Jyles to the Toronto Argonauts, to select University of Saskatchewan receiver Jade Etienne.
Finishing up, they would drop their 2012 first-round pick in order to select non-import receiver Kito Poblah in the 2011 supplemental draft.
You could say the Bombers had a very successful offseason in terms of revamping their team with hopes of turning that 4-11 into a 11-4 or better record this season.
Buck Pierce has all but locked up the starting position at quarterback, claiming that he has never felt better in his life than right now. Hoping to show the fans that his hard work in the offseason was for them and look to further improve on the 2010 season.
Earlier in the year, the Bombers held their mini-camp segments, with a few gems showing some of what they have to offer, in what many hope will pay off in the regular season.
Wide receiver Damian Sherman of Southern Illinois was one of those gems, featuring explosiveness from the line, an ability to catch a wide range of passes and seemed to possess the ability to run routes.
The Bombers spent this offseason looking to improve their receiving core and help give Pierce and Company more targets to hit, and it then came as no surprise to many when the team announced the release of Brock Ralph.
Looking to improve off a solid rookie season, wide receiver Greg Carr looks to further implement himself in the offense this year. Carr registered 31 catches for 568 yards and four touchdowns including a beautiful 74-yard reception.
On the offensive line, Obby Khan returns for another season, still looking to improve every year. Ryan Donnelly announced his retirement after a solid nine-year career.
Defensively, the Bombers have added former Alouette defensive coordinator Tim Burke to the coaching staff. The rumoured 3-4 defense system may be implemented this season and what better than to have a quality player in Muamba to help out.
If there's one thing the Bombers would like to accomplish, they would give Doug Brown a Grey Cup ring as he retires at the end of the 2011 season.
There is still a lot of work to be done in training camp as the team gets ready for the regular season, and the No. 1 issue that needs correcting is the ability to close out games.
No question, there are definitely spots open to fill throughout the board, and the rookies will do all they can in order to catch a spot while the veterans look to lend a helping hand.
Overall, expect a very talented, hard-working rookie and training camp as the Bombers prepare for the 2011 season. There have been some changes, many additions and a lot of talent to look over the next month and both general manager Joe Mack and head coach Paul LaPolice look to make a solid squad.
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