Blue Bombers adding bodies

Bombers director of player personnel Ken Moll will be busy in the coming days as new players are...

Bombers director of player personnel Ken Moll will be busy in the coming days as new players are expected to be coming to Winnipeg after CFL practice rosters are expanded by five players beginning Wednesday. (Andre Forget/QMI AGENCY)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:01 PM ET

The Bombers are in future mode for the rest of the season thanks to their 3-10 record, so the expansion of CFL practice rosters couldn’t be happening at a better time.

CFL teams will be allowed to add at least five new players to their practice roster starting on Wednesday. Some will be brought in to see if they’re good enough to get an invitation to next year’s training camp, while others could suit up before Winnipeg’s latest season to forget is complete.

The one player whose addition the Bombers have confirmed is big offensive lineman Lee Barbiasz, who attended Jacksonville Jaguars camp earlier this year. He is one player, according to Bombers director of player personnel Ken Moll, who could play before the year is out considering the team is thin when it comes to import tackle depth.

“Big old tall drink of water,” Moll said. “He’s a true 6-7, about 305. He can stand to gain a little strength, but that’s fine. He’s a young player and played at Northern Colorado. He’s got long arms, and we have a fair-sized offensive line as it is, so I think he’ll fit in. We’ll see.”

CFL practice rosters have a maximum of seven players for most of the season, but they are expanded to 12 at this time of year for some late-season evaluating.

It’s believed the Bombers will also be bringing in — among others — quarterback R.J. Archer and non-import defensive back/receiver Jawann Westerman, the older brother of B.C. Lions defensive lineman Jabar Westerman and whom the Bombers were targeting in May’s CFL draft.

Archer tried out unsuccessfully for the NFL’s Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings over the last two summers, respectively. He is 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, and he played his college ball at William & Mary. He has also spent time in the Arena Football League.

Moll wouldn’t confirm Archer is the quarterback on the way to Winnipeg, but he said it’s more of an evaluation situation than anything.

“This quarterback is likely not going to be in the game, but it gives us a chance to see him play, throw, and he gets to look at us,” Moll said before Buck Pierce suffered a head injury in Saturday’s 29-10 loss to the Toronto Argonauts. “It’s a two-way street, especially with five weeks left in the season.

“I said it would be a great opportunity to see what Winnipeg has to offer, how we do things here in the organization and see if you fit. And then we’ll have to see the same thing, if you’ve got enough that can upgrade our roster.”

Moll told CJOB on the weekend the Bombers would be adding a player who has spent time on the Miami Dolphins practice roster. One such player who is also on Winnipeg’s negotiation list is defensive back Vince Agnew, who played with Kito Poblah and Carl Volny at Central Michigan University.

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Ken Moll’s job as Bombers director of player personnel is to bring good football players to Winnipeg.

It could be argued that hasn’t happened this season considering the team is 3-10, but Moll believes he has built a solid base.

“It’s disappointing, this season, the way it’s unfolded,” Moll said. “And I have my own thoughts on why and all that. I’m sure everybody in the community has a reason.”

And what is Moll’s theory on the team’s struggles?

“I may not go there, but I know we have a lot of good young players,” he said. “I really feel that way. Of course you might say, ‘Well, that’s your job,’ but I really do.

“If you look at the players, and I take our offensive line, it’s really come along from the first week. When we took (offensive lineman) Jordan Taormina, he was going to be depth for us. He’d never played up in the CFL.”

Taormina was in tough to even make the team, but he started at left tackle in Week 1 since Glenn January and Andre Douglas were injured. He then took over for Douglas, who is out for the year.

“He was just thrown in the fire and ended up really developing a little bit for us,” Moll said. “We’ve got a good, young nucleus at almost every position, but we need to get better.”

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca

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