Training camp 2005

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:00 AM ET

Hold on to your cowboy hats, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are hoping to get back into the thick of the CFL showdown by hiring a posse of gunslingers who have ridden out of Cowtown.

At least seven Stampeders who suited up for Calgary last year will be seeking employment at the local rodeo this season -- joining another slew of former Stamps already in the 'Peg, including head wrangler Jim Daley.

The upside is that the familiarity could breed quicker chemistry. The downside is that Calgary finished dead last in 2004.

So, welcome to Stampede Park East, and here's a look at each position of this year's version of the 'Blue Stompers.'

QUARTERBACK

STILL HERE: Kevin Glenn, Tee Martin

NEW ARRIVALS: Spergon Wynn, Russ Michna, Jon Hooton

ADIOS: Khari Jones, Stanley Jackson

OUTLOOK: Daley has made no bones about the fact that the starting job is Glenn's to lose. Glenn may not be the next Damon Allen but he is quite capable and does have the savvy to lead. But fans will still be yelping to see the incredible arms of Martin and Wynn and, some say, one of them will be the starter before the year's out.

RUNNING BACK

STILL HERE: Charles Roberts, Cory Olynick

NEW ARRIVAL: Jarrett Smith

ADIOS: No one

OUTLOOK: Roberts was the nominee as the team's Most Outstanding Player for the second straight season as he was one of the few bright spots on a dull 2004 squad. The offence will revolve around his incredible talent.

FULLBACK

STILL HERE: Scott Regimbald, Wade Miller, Chris Cvetkovic

NEW ARRIVALS: None

ADIOS: Randy Bowles

OUTLOOK: Regimbald should give Roberts that extra big block he needs and help protect the quarterback. He can also get the short yardage that the Bombers blunder over so often. Miller is still a solid backup. Cvetkovic is actually a long snapper but might get some real looks at fullback.

RECEIVER

STILL HERE: Milt Stegall, Jamie Stoddard, Kamau Peterson, Derrick Smith, Keith Stokes, Geoff Drover, Gilles Colon

NEW ARRIVALS: Wane McGarity, Dimitrius Breedlove, Vinnie Sutherland, Elgin Hicks, Simon Blaszczak (junior)

ADIOS: Robert Gordon, Markus Howell, Reggie Jones

OUTLOOK: This corps must be much better than last season when some handled the ball like a handful of suicide chicken wings, although Stegall came on in the last half. Look for big things from McGarity and Sutherland.

OFFENSIVE LINE

STILL HERE: Dave Mudge, Matt Sheridan, Jermese Jones, Dan Gyetvai, Cory Annett, Todd Krenbrink

NEW ARRIVALS: Mike Abou-Mechrek, Kendrick Rogers, Kevin Breedlove, Pete Campion, Jean-Francois Ostiguy, Geoff St. Denis

ADIOS: Orlando Bobo, Moe Elewonibi, Shawn Gifford

OUTLOOK: Aside from the secondary, this was the most maligned group until Daley took over. However, if Bobo does not come back, it will be weakened further. The loss of Elewonibi leaves them scrambling to find a starting centre but Abou-Mechrek should inject the grit missing since Eric Wilson left town.

KICKERS/RETURNERS

KICKERS STILL HERE: Troy Westwood, Jon Ryan

NO ARRIVALS OR DEPARTURES

OUTLOOK: Ryan, who took over as the punter, suffered some burnout midway through the season but has proven he has a leg good enough for pro. Westwood had another solid season placekicking so the kicking game is in good hands, er, feet. Long snappers Cvetkovic and Michel Dupuis also return.

RETURNERS STILL HERE: Stokes, Roberts, Derrick Smith, Stephen Fisher

NEW ARRIVALS: Wane McGarity

ADIOS: Howell

OUTLOOK: Stokes is simply the best in the business. Roberts and McGarity are no slouches either.

DEFENSIVE LINE

STILL HERE: Doug Brown, Joe Fleming, Tom Canada, Melvin Bradley, Jon Oosterhuis

NEW ARRIVALS: Martin Lapostolle, Jeff Noga (junior), Jason Clark, Marcus Jones, Gavin Walls

ADIOS: Elfrid Payton, Denny Fortney, Tyson St. James

OUTLOOK: The interior may be the best in the CFL but the ends remain huge question marks, even with Canada returning off a solid rookie campaign.

LINEBACKER

STILL HERE: Lamar McGriggs, Ryland Wickman, Travis Ortega, Neil McKinlay

NEW ARRIVALS: Sean Woodson, Willie Fells, Ron Ockimey, Tony Ortiz, Scott Mennie

ADIOS: Maurice Kelly, Terry Ray

OUTLOOK: The loss of Kelly (retired) -- easily one of the club's two best defenders during a bad year -- has been grossly underplayed. Some good new talent but they have been sitting idle for too long to do much damage early from a critical area.

DEFENSIVE BACK

STILL HERE: Fisher, Tim Carter, Jayson Bray, Wes Lysack, Justin Coleman, Cedric Dickerson, Boyd Barrett, Markese Fitzgerald

NEW ARRIVALS: William Fields, Omar Evans, Mesene Louisdor, Maurice Tucker, Shawn Gallant, John Sullivan, Marcus Bradley

ADIOS: Ricky Bell, Eric Carter, Raheem Covington, Marcel Smith, Marcus Smith, Joe Morgan

OUTLOOK: May be the most talented and experienced DBs in camp since the Juran Bolden days, which is good because the air defence could not suck much worse. However, if Bell does not return, the nightmare could continue.

Will former Stampeders give Blue horses they need?


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