Lots of new faces as Kelly puts stamp on team

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:08 AM ET

Casting Ryan Dinwiddie adrift was just the latest in a plethora of changes the new Winnipeg Blue Bombers regime has made.

That includes the loss of starting quarterback Kevin Glenn, so there'll be a lot of new faces when Training Camp 2009 opens today at Canad Inns Stadium with practices at 7:45 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

"Sometimes change is good," said veteran receiver Terrence Edwards, who signed a three-year contract extension yesterday. "(Head) coach (Mike) Kelly wants to put his stamp on things. He's going to do it his way and I think a lot of players are excited about the product he's going to put on the field.

"I know all the guys who were here last year are excited to see his new plan, his new vision and we're just excited to get going."

The receivers will have to adjust to a new starting QB.

"Kevin (Glenn) was one of my good friends on the team but we start playing this game at a young age and we understand that not the same team is going to be there the next year," said Edwards, 30. "I wish Kevin was still here but ... whomever coach Kelly decides on, we'll just have to go out there and make plays for him and make his job easy.

"As players, we can't question (Kelly's) decisions. We've just got to live by it. He's the boss. He makes the decisions. We've just got to go out there and play ... Whatever he puts out there, we've just got to buy into it and believe in it."

'Fingerprints'

For veteran defensive tackle Doug Brown, this is the fourth new regime he's experienced as a Bomber.

"You have to admire that this is a group, a nucleus of managers and coaches that aren't afraid about public perception," he said. "They're making the moves they want to make to put their fingerprints on this team.

"They want to put together the team that has the best chance of us being favourably reviewed at the end of the year, which is when it is most important."

Linebacker Siddeeq Shabazz and receiver Brock Ralph are among those whom Kelly has acquired from Edmonton.

"He's a players' coach," said Shabazz, a weak-side linebacker. "He was always real down-to-earth, a really cool guy who's always fun to be around and I expect him to be the same here."

Kelly was Edmonton's receivers coach last year.

"I don't want to say they're players' coaches because it sounds like they're pushovers, which they're not," said Ralph, referring to both Kelly and assistant coach Rick Campbell, who was also in Edmonton.

"They know how to handle professionals and that's one of the things the guys are looking forward to with Kelly, especially."

HASHMARKS: S Jonathan Hefney and OL Kelly Butler were no-shows at medical day due to passport snafus ... The Bombers also cut DB Derrick Strait, WR Ivan Birungi and LB Bryan Wilson ... The club will hold an open house for fans this afternoon and the players will be available to sign autographs afterwards.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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