Bombers lock up QBs

Quarterbacks Kevin Glenn (5) and Tee Martin (12) laugh as they leave the practice field with QB...

Quarterbacks Kevin Glenn (5) and Tee Martin (12) laugh as they leave the practice field with QB coach Willie Gillus Thursday, June 9, 2005. (Winnipeg Sun/Brian Donogh)

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

About 10 months ago, Brendan Taman signed all three of his quarterbacks to contract extensions on the same day.

He called Khari Jones, Kevin Glenn and Stanley Jackson the best trio of gunslingers he had ever assembled during his tenure as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers GM or director of player personnel.

Two of those three pivots are gone; Jones was traded, and Jackson was cut.

So yesterday, when Taman officially signed 26-year-old backups Tee Martin and Spergon Wynn to contract extensions that will keep them -- along with starter Glenn, 25, and lefty Russ Michna, 24 -- as Blue and Gold property until the end of 2006, he was somewhat more reserved.

Thin on experience

"Experience-wise it's thin, but talent-wise it's pretty good," Taman said. "There's a lot of upside to all four of them. Their arrows are all going up, which is a great thing to have in your quarterback stable.

"Last year, we had a good group of guys. Their arrows weren't necessarily going up; they were (levelling off). They were still good, but now we got guys that maybe aren't as good even as last year's guys, but their arrows are up.

"Shortly and quickly they could overtake most of the guys we had. So I'm cautiously optimistic that we have a very good young bunch of guys that are going to be pretty good quarterbacks."

Martin and Wynn, a pair of former NFLers who would have become free agents at the end of this season, are both believed to be making about $80,000 this season.

"I'm excited about the opportunity, the commitment by the team and by me," Martin said. "I came to training camp on time, and we got the deal done, so it says a lot about what the organization is trying to do in terms of the future.

"So I look forward to being a part of it."

Now that the contracts are done, it's time to find out if they can play. That starts tonight in Edmonton, when the Bombers take on the Eskimos in the first pre-season game for both teams (8 p.m., CJOB).

Martin won't play because of a sore knee, but Wynn and Michna will get one-third of tonight's tilt to strut their stuff.

If, after a pair of exhibition games, all four have shown the ability to lead a CFL offence, Taman wouldn't be reluctant to talk trade. A CFL team can keep only three quarterbacks on its active roster.

"We'd look at it, for sure, to upgrade our team," Taman said. "I'd be pretty stupid not to consider a trade that would benefit us -- if we still have three other guys ... that would help our club.

"Selfishly, though, I would like to keep all four, because quarterback's not a position you want to screw around with."

Head coach Jim Daley said all four quarterbacks are doing a great job of learning the new offence. He added that Wynn, Martin and Michna have conducted themselves with professionalism even though Glenn has been appointed the starter.

"They are very strong, very independent and very self-motivated," Daley said. "They have not needed -- or not visibly needed -- a lot of extra attention to keep their spirits up."

Wynn, who was the third-stringer behind Casey Printers and Dave Dickenson last season in B.C., said the depth is vital.

"That's the kind of situation you want to be in," Wynn said. "That just raises the level of competition. It helps you get better.

"... With the depth that we have, I think the community of Winnipeg and the organization feels real comfortable in whoever they send out there on the field on any given night."


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