Bombers rookie camp no place for faint of heart

Chad Simpson is one player to keep a close eye on during Blue Bombers rookie camp this week. (CHRIS...

Chad Simpson is one player to keep a close eye on during Blue Bombers rookie camp this week. (CHRIS PROCAYLO/QMI AGENCY)

KIRK PENTON, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:13 PM ET

So you’re a Bomber rookie.

You’re in Canada, possibly for the first time in your life, and you’ve already noticed it’s a little cooler outside than you’re used to.

The field is enormous, there are 34 other rookie hopefuls trying to earn gainful employment in the world of professional football, and the number of roster spots up for grabs are few and far between.

The Canadian sitting beside you knows the three-down game already, he is used to the chilly conditions, and he has a leg up on you because of the league’s ratio requirements.

If you’re Canadian, you’ll notice that American linebacker sitting across from you is meaner looking than every defensive end who played on your CIS team last fall. And if he gets cut, there are only a few hundred more like him south of the border.

You have three days of rookie camp to get used to the field, the waggle, the weather and how strong and fast everyone is before 45 other players — veteran players — show up for main training camp and try to prevent you from stealing their jobs.

Overwhelming would be a good way to describe it.

If you want to know how to turn your three-week stay in Winnipeg into a three-year career or more, have a chat with receiver Clarence Denmark, defensive ends Kenny Mainor or Jason Vega, or receiver Kito Poblah. Those are some of the few who ended the season in Blue and Gold after taking part in last year’s rookie camp.

And if you get cut, don’t feel bad. Running back Chris Garrett got sent home after training camp, but he was invited back in the middle of the summer and is now the team’s starting tailback.

You might, however, want to skip this next part. When head coach Paul LaPolice was asked the other day if he were excited to see any of the players at rookie camp, the first word out of his mouth was, “No.”

He went on to say, however, that “there’s certainly some good young talent we think that we brought in. Joe Mack does a very thorough job on guys. We don’t just sign guys off of recommendations. He’s worked them all out, so there’s going to be good talent to compete.”

LATE HIT: The Bombers filled out their training camp roster on Tuesday when they signed import receivers Isaac Anderson and Victor James. Anderson, a 5-foot-10, 176-pound Minneapolis native, had 1,048 receiving yards on 80 catches at Wisconsin, while James, a 6-foot-1, 204-pound Aurora, Colo., product, had 398 receiving yards and three touchdowns in his senior season at New Mexico after spending his first three years there as a backup quarterback.

Five players to watch at rookie camp

1. Chad Simpson, #5, RB

The Miami native appeared in 28 games for the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins between 2008 and 2010. He is the latest in a long list of kickoff return hopefuls, but he has the best resume.

2. Tyson Pencer, OL

Winnipeg’s first pick in the CFL draft earlier this month still hadn’t signed a contract as of Tuesday night, but he is expected to be on the field Wednesday. It will be interesting to see how he fares against pro competition.

3. Doug Pierce, #83, WR

He was signed after the mini-camp, so he will be making his debut at Canad Inns Stadium. He stands a whopping 6-foot-5 but played at a small American college. Is he the next Greg Carr.

4. Johnny Aprile, #30, S

The Bombers drafted the Queen’s product 16th overall in this year’s draft. He was a receiver and kick returner in college, but Winnipeg will try him at safety because of his physicality. If nothing else, the Bombers hope he will become a special teams beast.

5. Andre Caroll, #99, DT

Oddly, the Delaware State product signed with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns after getting cut by the Bombers following last year’s training camp. The Bombers obviously like him, and his chances of sticking are better now that the team will be employing an all-import D-line.

ROOKIE CAMP ROSTER

Quarterbacks

4 Buck Pierce

7 Alex Brink

14 Joey Elliott

18 Justin Goltz

Running Backs

5 Chad Simpson

26 Bloi-Dei Dorzon

29 Anthony Woodson

Wide Receivers

12 Kurt Adams

13 Chris Matthews

70 Isaac Anderson

71 Victor James

80 Cassidy Doneff

83 Doug Pierce

84 Paul Hubbard

86 Jeremy Blount

87 Rory Kohlert

Offensive Linemen

53 Sam Nemis

61 Brendan Dunn

65 J-S Laberge

66 Jordan Taormina

TBD Tyson Pencer

Defensive Linemen

91 Brandon Collier

93 Rob Jubenville

95 Jake Thomas

96 Alex Hall

99 Andre Caroll

Linebackers

3 Dustin Doe

27 Terrell Parker

42 Rene Stephan

51 Javon McKinnon

Defensive Backs

15 David Pender Jr.

22 Darrell Pasco

30 Johnny Aprile

33 Dan West

37 Demond Washington

SCHEDULE

at Canad Inns Stadium

Wednesday

3:50 p.m. to 4:55 p.m.

Thursday

10:30 a.m. to 11:35 a.m.

Friday

10:30 a.m. to 11:35 a.m.

 


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