Casey Printers can sometimes do more damage ad libbing on the run than the most-poised pocket passer.
So preparing to face the Tiger-Cats' latest pivot in Hamilton on Saturday can be a nightmare for Winnipeg coaches.
Printers just returned to the CFL after failing to crack the NFL's Kansas City roster last week and has been cramming the Hamilton playbook ever since. The Blue Bombers have no idea what the former CFL MVP will be able to do this soon after returning.
"That's the thing, it's fear of the unknown," Bombers GM Brendan Taman said yesterday.
"He's probably very similar to (Saskatchewan quarterback) Kerry Joseph in his athletic abilities and stuff," said Bomber head coach Doug Berry. "From throwing the ball, who knows what Hamilton's going to put up for an offence?
"We've got to anticipate that it's going to be based on what we've seen so far and what Casey will be able to handle in that package."
The last time the Bombers played Printers, then the B.C. QB in 2005, he completed 23 of 35 passes for 435 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Lions to a 42-31 victory. The time before that, Printers completed 25 of 35 passes for 360 yards and four TDs, adding two majors himself, as the Leos routed Winnipeg 48-17 the same season.
Although Printers failed in his NFL bid, it did little to discourage his bravado as he has declared that he wants to be the best QB around.
"He wants to be the best quarterback in the world, I heard," said Bomber defensive tackle Doug Brown, an ex-NFLer. "My advice to Casey Printers is, 'Baby steps.' It's quite a leap going from a starting quarterback in the CFL to the best in the world. But you've got to admire his ambition."
Keeping Joseph under wraps last Sunday will serve as a good warmup to stopping Printers.
"Compared to the previous game on Labour Day, we were able to get a little more pressure and we were a lot sounder collectively against the run and containing and corralling Kerry Joseph, which was the key to our success," Brown said. "The good thing about this match is that we need to concern ourselves with the similar task of keeping Printers in the pocket and only making plays with his arm and not his legs."
Winnipeg defensive end Tom Canada concurred.
"Casey Printers can run for 200 yards, too," Canada said. "So, if his first and second reads are gone, he's taking off. So, it's definitely a challenge for our defensive line. It's definitely a challenge for our defence.
"It's his first game back in the CFL and he's gone on record saying he wants to do all these great things and I'm sure he's going to want to come out his first game and do something special. So, we've definitely taken that into account. It's going to be a challenge for us but we're more than ready for it."
However, even the 6-foot-2, 216-pound Printers warned Hamilton fans not to expect instant miracles.
"It'll take time," he told the Hamilton Spectator. "It's not going to be the quickest transition, but it shouldn't be as slow as it was for me to go down to the NFL."
But some of the Bomber defenders seemed pumped to play Printers.
"Casey's going to be back and we'll just have to go out there and hit him in the mouth and let him know that we're here to fight," said linebacker Ike Charlton, who also just returned from the NFL.