Notes and quotes from Day 6 of Blue Bombers training camp…
ARRIVALS/DEPARTURES: Blue Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros was not at practice on Friday, the club issuing a statement indicating he was ‘excused from practice for family reasons. Expected back in a couple days.’
“As many as he needs,” added head coach Mike O’Shea when asked how many days Collaros might be gone.
As a result, Dru Brown worked with the starters during practice, with the other two QBs in camp challenging for the third-string gig — Tyrrell Pigrome of Towson State and Josh Jones of UNC-Pembrookie — also getting more snaps.
Veteran defensive tackle Jake Thomas, meanwhile, was in gear and practised a bit as he eases back into action after missing the first few days following the birth of his new daughter.
“I don’t think there’s any other choice. We wouldn’t do it any other way,” said Mike O’Shea of the decision to give Thomas a few extra days before coming to camp. “That is such a big event compared to a couple practices. I would hope people would trust us enough to make that decision. If they do it the other way we usually give them a bit of crap… ‘Why didn’t you tell us? You should be doing this. You shouldn’t be here.'”
Thomas had been in constant contact with coaches and players during his absence.
“The interesting thing is he’s been texting with guys and watching film and asking questions and critiquing and doing stuff that ‘GM Jake’ does,” said O’Shea. “He should have been paying more attention at home than watching film, too.”
HIGH PRAISE: Linebacker Kyrie Wilson, who was placed on the six-game injured list on the weekend as he recovers from an Achilles injury suffered last year, continues to have a huge fan in O’Shea.
“The smart thing is to give him as much time as he needs,” O’Shea said. “I’m assuming he’ll be six weeks. We’ll see.”
Wilson was having a sensational start to 2022 when he suffered the injury, having registered 17 defensive tackles, one on special teams with one sack and one pass knockdown in four games. He also has a knack for stepping up his performance in big games — like the 2019 and 2021 Grey Cup wins.
“Over the last bunch of years, when he’s been out there you see a level of play that is very, very good and rising,” O’Shea said of Wilson.
“So, I don’t confuse the issue and talk about the last bunch of years and all the setbacks he might have had. I look at the positives and say when he’s out there he does things a lot of guys can’t do.
“Besides being an excellent teammate and a smart football player he’s very athletically gifted. You just want him out there for a longer period and I don’t think rushing anybody back from injury and then having him go back on IR (injured reserve) doesn’t make any sense. We’ll see how long it takes, but we’d rather have him out there when he feels really, really good.”
FYI: LB Barrington Wade continues to open eyes during camp, especially with his speed, his length and his quick study of the Canadian game.
“He’s very fast and he runs hard,” O’Shea said. “Sometimes — in rookie camp, especially — guys stop their feet because they start thinking about what just happened and they slow down. With Barrington, he ran to the ball hard every single play. You saw what he today he chased down Nik (Demski), went for the ball and had a lot success with it. That kind of stuff stands out. The idea of special teams… obviously he’s listening because you let them know how important it is. It’s nice to know he heard it.”
O’Shea said he has no timeframe on when LB Adam Bighill and RB Brady Oliveira might be on the field. “I don’t really put my expectations on it. They’re going to be ready when they’re ready. And even when they’re ready we’ll probably go for another day.”
Neither one, O’Shea said, is ‘long term.’.. With WR Drew Wolitarsky one of the players taking a breather today, draft pick Jeremy Murphy was working in his place with the 1s.
Good piece here from Don Landry of CFL.ca on Melissa Greico, who is with the Blue Bombers as a participant in the CFL’s Women In Football Program presented by KPMG.
DEEP CREW: There will be arguments from other teams across the league, but the Blue Bombers receiving corps is arguably the deepest and most talented in the land. Asked after practice Friday how the corps looks, O’Shea said: “Thin right now, just because of guys getting nicked up. We pushed them pretty hard these first bunch of days. It’s sort of par for the course. A couple guys need a bit more time to rest and they’ll be back.
“There’s a lot of playmakers out there. A lot of guys who can find the end zone — and they can do it different ways, too. We’ve got enough versatility across the board, guys that do different things. They’re complimentary. The group of them compliment each other very well in terms of what their skill sets are and what they bring. I would say they’re all high-football IQ, they all care deeply about making sure that the offence is running well and they’re doing their part for each other.”
THIS JUST IN: The CFL announced Friday its first-ever live streaming platforms: CFL Preseason Live and CFL+. The details are here:
Watch Free and Online: Welcome to CFL Preseason Live and CFL+