HAMILTON -- It is the final showdown for many of the Blue Bomber hopefuls tonight. And perhaps, some veterans.
Unless your name is Stegall, Roberts, Armstrong, Glenn, Brown or Simpson, there are no guarantees among the Bombers this year. And what makes tonight's pre-season game even more important for those hoping to either establish careers or extend them is that this match will be fresh in the minds of coaches when they make those dramatic decisions on final cuts tomorrow -- to be announced Sunday.
Winnipeg head coach Doug Berry said there are as many as six positions to be decided before the Bombers start preparing to face the Eskimos in Edmonton for the season-opener on Thursday.
We know that Berry et al must decide on whether to employ a Canadian at safety and if so, which one? They must decide where to plug Kyries Hebert -- either leave him at weak-side linebacker (WIL) or drop him back to safety.
If he drops back to safety, who plays WIL? And who will get the nod at strong outside linebacker (SAM)? Or will the Bombers gamble on Corey Jenkins? And will the Bombers keep both imports Nate Davis and Jerome Haywood at defensive tackle?
The nationality of the player who starts at safety will determine who starts at receiver. If Winnipeg starts two Canucks at receiver, will imports Chris Brazzell and/or Terrence Edwards be sent packing? And who will return kicks -- an import who can also play receiver, a la the injured Albert Johnson III, or an import who can back up Charles Roberts at tailback?
Then there's the punter. Will the Bombers decide on Chris Beckman, an American with the salivating hang time, or Pat Fleming, a Canadian CFL veteran who understands blocking schemes but has been known to shank a few and has had a few punts blocked?
On top of all that, Berry is determined to get his offence in synch before the season starts.