Banks takes charge

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:04 AM ET

Brad Banks is the front-runner for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers backup quarterback job, and now all he has to do is cement it in the team's two exhibition games.

Bombers head coach Doug Berry said yesterday that Banks has done well enough in the first week of training camp to be ranked among the top three of the five quarterbacks in camp.

"Right now he's in the top three, so whether he's two or three ... it looks like he's going to make the team," Berry said.

Kevin Glenn is sitting pretty at No. 1, but Berry wouldn't reveal the third member of the troika.

"I can't tell you," Berry said. "That's the hard one."

Put Berry's words all together, and it sounds like Banks has a grip on the backup job, leaving Ryan Dinwiddie, Justin Holland and Matt Bohnet to battle it out for the third and final pivot position.

Berry has said all week that he was about to cut a quarterback, but he hasn't done it yet. Expect that to happen either today or tomorrow, but it won't be Banks heading for the airport.

"I'm encouraged with Brad," Berry said. "I like what he's done so far. His mental awareness is way ahead of last year at this point, and of course we know he's physically capable of being able to do the job."

Coincidentally, Banks said he's performing better because he isn't "over thinking." He looked lost last week at rookie camp, but he's turned it up a notch since main camp opened on Sunday.

"It's going pretty good," Banks said. "On my part I'm doing some good things out there, and then I do have my scary-looking parts out there.

"But overall I think I'm doing a good job."

Banks hasn't received much love from Bomber fans since being plucked last April in the Ottawa Renegades dispersal draft. Then again, he didn't get much admiration from his enormous extended family back home in Florida over the winter, either.

"Just threats," he said. "Like I better get on the team and I better produce something. They ain't seen me play in a while. I got the threats. No encouragement. That's how we do it. We get the threats out."

The first person breathing down his neck was his dad, followed by his brothers and then his cousins, two of whom are B.C. Lions defensive back Korey Banks and Arizona Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin.

"It goes down the line," Banks said. "Everybody."

That's a long line, too, because Banks has somewhere in the neighbourhood of 130 cousins. He's not worried about the fans getting on his case, but his family's a different story.

"(The fans) can't really touch you," Banks said, "but when you go home (the family's) got hands on."


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