While the quarterback situation is the main focus, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers also have some primary secondary concerns.
First, veteran cornerback Juran Bolden, who just returned from the NFL two games ago, has returned to his Tampa, Fla., home to be with his wife who had gone into labour. Although the Bombers expect Bolden back in time to play their next CFL game against the Argos in Toronto on Sunday, there is always an element of doubt involved.
Meanwhile, both defensive back Davin Bush (hamstring) and cornerback Greg Moss (hamstring) are doubtful to play Sunday. So, it looks like Chijioke Onyenegecha will get another chance to suit up for Winnipeg. The rookie import started three games and has dressed for five this season.
"When he played, he showed great signs of having a lot of talent and of course, the longer he's been with us the more practice time he's gotten," Bomber head coach Doug Berry said yesterday. "He's a very talented guy and we'd be comfortable putting him back in the game again."
Since returning to the practice roster, Onyenegecha had actually been taking some reps at strong-side linebacker spot but is ready to play either cornerback or DB if, as expected, he is called upon.
"This is a rough sport and guys go up and down so, I don't know when my time's going to come," said the 6-foot-1, 209-pound Oklahoma product. "I'm just being patient, humble and I'm working hard.
"I think I played decent. Of course, I always think I could have played 10 times better. But this is a veteran team and I was on practice squad and I moved up. So, I knew when those guys got back, it was going to be their opportunity to play because they've been here for a couple of years and they're sharper than me. I'm still learning the system, learning the game ... Hopefully I'll be ready to play so, I can stay here as long as possible."
NEW BLOOD: The Bombers also added another CB to their expanded practice roster, Art Thomas. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Virginia product was cut by the NFL's Miami Dolphins last year. Thomas, 27, had been allocated to the NFL Europe's Amsterdam Admirals, where he recorded 25 defensive tackles, three knockdowns and a blocked field goal in 2006.
"He's a big guy who moves around pretty good," Berry said. "I know he went to a good academic school so I know he will be capable of handling things at a rapid pace. He played at a major college and has some background in the NFL."
Thomas took some limited reps at yesterday's short workout.
"Basically, I've got to get back into game shape," he said. "I've got to learn the defence and to understand the (CFL) game as a whole because it's a little different as to what they can do on offence and what we can do on defence here."
HASHMARKS: Bombers GM Brendan Taman is still hoping to fill the last available spot on the expanded practice roster with a QB this week ... The Bombers are closing in on a record sixth straight sellout as they have already sold about 22,000 tickets for the next home game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, to be played Sept. 29.