Half of 2009 Bombers are newcomers

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

The dust from the atomic bomb that went off on Maroons Road in the off-season has settled, and we can now see what the 2009 version of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is going to look like.

Head coach Mike Kelly has finished his tweaking. The result is 25 returnees, 25 newcomers and an astounding 38 players who finished last season with the team but are no longer wearing Blue and Gold.

If your head is spinning, you're not alone. Here's a position-by-position look at who's old, who's new, who's gone and what it all means. Projected starters have an asterisk.

QUARTERBACKS

STILL HERE: Bryan Randall

NEW FACES: Stefan LeFors*, Richie Williams

OUTTA HERE: Kevin Glenn (Ham), Ryan Dinwiddie, Timmy Chang

THE SKINNY: Kelly handpicked LeFors to replace Glenn, and the coach will ride the left-hander as long as he possibly can. Randall, the backup, looks much more polished with a year of practice under his belt. It is the team's biggest question mark going into the season.

RUNNING BACKS

STILL HERE: Fred Reid*, Daryl Stephenson, Jon Oosterhuis

NEW FACES: Lavarus Giles, Yvenson Bernard

OUTTA HERE: Joe Smith, Graeme Bell (Edm), Brian Guebert

THE SKINNY: We thought it would be Thunder (Smith) and Lightning (Reid) once again, but Thunder got his walking papers, replaced by the impressive Giles. Will it be another two-back system? Why not? Reid and Giles are dynamite.

RECEIVERS

STILL HERE: Romby Bryant*, Derick Armstrong*, Terrence Edwards*, Arjei Franklin*, Aaron Hargreaves

NEW FACES: Adarius Bowman*, Brock Ralph

OUTTA HERE: Milt Stegall, Jamie Stoddard, Kerry Johnson, Casey McGahee

THE SKINNY: Hands down one of the best pass-catching groups in the CFL, and Kelly knew enough not to touch it. Bowman, if he can hold on to the ball, and Ralph, if he can get healthy, are solid additions.

OFFENSIVE LINE

STILL HERE: Obby Khan*, Brendon LaBatte*, Ryan Donnelly

NEW FACES: Steve Morley*, Kelly Bates*, Glenn January*, Luke Fritz, Lorne Plante

OUTTA HERE: Dan Goodspeed (Ham), Alexandre Gauthier (Ham), Dominic Picard (Tor), Kyle Koch (Edm), Bobby Singh (B.C.), Matt O'Meara, Matt Sheridan, Darryl Conrad

THE SKINNY: This unit took a huge hit via free agency and trades, and it'll be interesting to see how quickly it comes together and/or how well it will play. Another large question mark.

DEFENSIVE LINE

STILL HERE: Doug Brown*, Gavin Walls*, Shawn Mayne

NEW FACES: Fred Perry*, Tyrone Williams*, Riall Johnson, Dorian Smith, Don Oramasionwu

OUTTA HERE: Tom Canada, Jerome Haywood, Kai Ellis (Edm), Matt Kudu, Josh Miller

THE SKINNY: Brown, the reigning East Division defensive player of the year, anchors another strong aspect of the team, although it is getting up there in age. Johnson is a versatile backup who can get after the quarterback.

LINEBACKERS

STILL HERE: Barrin Simpson*, Ike Charlton*, Joe Lobendahn, Neil McKinlay, Pierre-Luc Labbe

NEW FACES: Siddeeq Shabazz*, Jonathan Hefney

OUTTA HERE: Zeke Moreno (Tor), Cam Hall, Anthony Maggiacomo, Marcus Winn

THE SKINNY: Simpson, the Minister of Defence, returns after missing most of last year due to injury. Shabazz starts the year on the injured list, likely to be replaced by Lobendahn, and the brass still likes Charlton at the strong-side spot with the versatile Hefney backing him up.

SECONDARY

STILL HERE: Jovon Johnson*, Ian Logan*, Steven Holness

NEW FACES: James Johnson*, Lenny Walls*, Keyuo Craver*, Brandon Stewart, Brady Browne, Shawn Gallant

OUTTA HERE: Kelly Malveaux (Edm), Anthony Malbrough, Stanford Samuels (Mtl), Willie Amos (Edm), Robert Bean, Greg Bearman, Jason Nugent (Edm), Michael Roberts, Willie Byrd, Marc Beswick

THE SKINNY: This unit was decent last season, but nowhere near spectacular and got an overhaul as a result. Walls, with 64 NFL games under his belt, looks like a keeper, but this is another area that has a lot to prove.

SPECIAL TEAMS

STILL HERE: Alexis Serna, Chris Cvetkovic

NEW FACES: Mike Renaud

OUTTA HERE: Jason Armstead

THE SKINNY: Serna is much more relaxed after a forgettable rookie campaign, but he hasn't made any field goals yet. Renaud looks like the Canadian punter the Bombers have been looking for, but they don't have a bona fide kick returner.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca

Read Kirk Penton's Bomber Beat blog at winnipegsun.com


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