When Blue Bomber head coach Mike O’Shea met the media for the first time since the teams hard-fought 24-16 win over Montreal last week, he was bombarded with as many questions about NFL cuts as he was about the team’s 6-3 record midway through the CFL season.
Not that he would talk about the record anyway.
In O’Shea’s world, the record is never discussed. In his mind, the Bombers are riding a one-game win streak, and are looking to start another one-game win streak when they visit the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday.
They will assess their record and where it puts them when the 18-game CFL schedule is complete.
But O’Shea was quite expansive in discussing the issue of NFL cuts possibly returning to the CFL, specifically defensive end Alex Hall and slotback Weston Dressler, who were let go by Carolina and Kansas City respectively on Monday.
“Obviously Alex is a good player, but I don’t know how he would fit in. We’ve got a lot of good players on our roster who don’t get a chance to play right now. If you add another one to the mix, who do you bump?” said O’Shea.
You play that game and you say, oh this guy would be great or that guy would be great. But you have to always ask where they fit. And what it really comes down to is, who are you going to release to get that guy on the roster? The way I see it right now, our roster has got some depth in areas, and we have some starters that are waiting to play who do a great job when they get the chance,” he continued.
“When I look at Alex Hall, I see an edge pass-rusher, and I don’t see how that fits in with Gary Etcheverry’s defensive system where you don’t just stand a guy out on the edge and let him rush the passer all day while the other guys clean up the run plays. The way we are built we can’t have guys who don’t fit our system.”
Regarding Dressler, Oshea said “I think there will be some pretty lofty offers for him and it all depends on how a team is set with the salary cap. He’s gonna command top dollar. I also don’t know if either he or Hall will come back right away. A lot of these guys when they commit the time and energy to try the NFL they don’t want to jump right back in the CFL because so much can happen with injuries and they might get another shot in the NFL.”
“You also have to look after the room and make sure you don’t disrupt the chemistry. I like my team. At the same time, player have to realize the job of the General Manager and the scouting department is to try and improve the team any way they can.”
O’Shea has often said in recent weeks that he loves the makeup of his team. There is a camaraderie and a team spirit that is unique. The players themselves often comment on how many “good guys” there are in the room, how well they get along, how much they care about one another.
O’Shea said earlier this season that “winning is special, but winning with the right guys is really special.”
Quite sincerely, the Blue Bombers feel they have the “right guys.”
The Bombers have brought players in for evaluation all season long. They will continue to do that. GM Kyle Walters, the scouting staff and O’Shea all believe that competition makes everyone better and the pursuit of excellence at all positions should never end.
And if former Bomber stars Henoc Muamba and Chris Mathews fail to make the rosters of Indianapolis and Seattle respectively, the Bombers will likely make a pitch to get both those players back.
But if O’Shea has his way the Bombers will be very selective in adding players when the final NFL cuts come, so as to be very careful not to disrupt a mix that has so far managed to win six of the first nine games.