Surprise contender

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:12 AM ET

Kevin Glenn has already been deemed the starter. Backup quarterbacks Tee Martin and Spergon Wynn are poised to sign new contracts with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

So, what of Russ Michna, the other QB in camp?

Michna, 24, played against Glenn in college and knew of both Martin and Wynn by their reputations before he arrived here.

"I knew they were real talented guys," Michna said yesterday. "I knew I was going to have a tough time to try to get a position here. All you can do is go out there and try to perform every day, learn the game and every opportunity you get to learn, you've got to take it and run with it. In this game, you don't get that many opportunities so, you've just got to be really on your game, learn all you can and be ready to go from there."

Michna, who spent part of the last NFL season on the St. Louis Rams practice roster, has been a quick study and is actually pushing Martin and Wynn for a job here. Yes, really. And that could open up some trade possibilities.

"Michna's years with the St. Louis Rams have prepared him well for our league because of the nature of their offence," said Bomber head coach Jim Daley. "It's a very CFL-friendly offence. He is a productive quarterback and he's an interesting guy. The only thing that matters is who gets first downs and who gets the ball into the end zone. So, we'll see in the two pre-season games."

The 6-foot-1, 224-pound Western Illinois product conceded that the CFL suits his style.

"A little bit," said the lefty. "I'm still kind of slow to be up here, I think. But it's nice to be able to get on the move and throw the ball. And we do a lot of things like moving the pocket, getting out and making plays. That's the one thing I've really picked up so far -- the quarterback's job is to make plays here, more than in the States where it's your job to get the ball into the hands of the guys who make plays. Here, you have to be an athlete and do those things a little bit more."

Although Michna may not wow anyone with his arm, he does know how to get the job done. In fact, his strength seems to be completing passes in tight coverage.

"Coming out of the NFL, that would be a characteristic of their game," Daley said. "They play on a much smaller field. You have tighter windows and you have to be very accurate, and Russ is.

"He's got a touch and he's got an instinct that is clearly visible to all those around him."

And Michna is still wondering why the Rams released him just three weeks before Bomber camp started.

"It was a little disappointing just because the way it played out," he admitted. "From everything I understood, I was going to be given another opportunity in training camp and it just didn't work out that way. All you can do is move on and try to get somewhere else."

But he is not treating Winnipeg as the equivalent of being sent to purgatory.

"Not at all," insisted the affable Michna. "Any time you can get to play football, how can it be a bad deal? Who knows? Two months from now, I could be behind a desk somewhere."

But first, he will get a chance to prove himself during today's scrimmage and the exhibition games.

"You hope to impress," Michna said. "That's just part of my job."


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