The Winnipeg Blue Bombers' quarterback picture for Friday's pre-season finale is starting to come into focus, but it's not yet crystal clear.
Head coach Doug Berry announced yesterday that Justin Holland will be travelling to Hamilton and will be the first pivot to replace starter Kevin Glenn, who could play all the way into the fourth quarter if he chooses to do so.
"That's all I can tell you today," Berry said. "And that's probably all I'll be able to tell you until we travel."
The big question now is whether Brad Banks or Ryan Dinwiddie will be on the plane to Hamilton on Thursday as the third quarterback. Then again, it might not matter.
"I want to see Holland play again, and I still don't know how long Kevin's going to go," Berry said. "So the third quarterback that we bring is probably going to be immaterial anyhow."
If Banks doesn't travel or dresses but doesn't play, he could be in trouble. The fourth-year pro, who needed to step it up this season, completed only one of seven passes for four yards and two interceptions in the first quarter of last week's pre-season loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Dinwiddie had better numbers than Banks (9-for-18 for 91 yards), but he also threw a pair of picks.
The backup battle is the focus of this year's training camp because last season the Bombers were 0-4 in games started by their No. 2 quarterback.
RATIO GAMES: CFL laws require that teams start at least seven Canadian players, but there's a chance to the Bombers could go with eight this season.
Berry is hoping to have four Canucks on the offensive line, one on the defensive line (Doug Brown), one at safety and as many as two at receiver.
"That's what we're really looking at, is the potential of eight," Berry said. "And can we have a consistent seven out of that eight?"
Much is still up in the air, however. It's not a given that a Canadian will start at safety, nor is it certain that the Bombers will start two Canuck receivers. Berry is still in talent evaluation mode, however, and will cross the ratio bridge when he comes to it.
"I haven't even gone there yet," he said.
LATE HITS: LB Toney Edison, DB Davin Bush, CB Robert Bean and S Greg Bearman returned from injury yesterday, but DT Jon Oosterhuis (lower body) and P Chris Beckman (groin) joined the walking wounded, which already included Albert Johnson III, Alex Gauthier, Kerry Johnson, Matt O'Meara, Quentin McCord and O'Neil Wilson. Berry said if players don't practise today, it's unlikely they'll play Friday in Hamilton ... The Edmonton Eskimos have signed free-agent DL Rahim Abdullah ... The Bombers practise once today, from 10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.