The Winnipeg Blue Bombers head into the 2013 Ottawa REDBLACKS Expansion Draft with only three quarterbacks under contract.
And like the Calgary Stampeders, they have a difficult decision to make regarding who they should protect, and who they deem to be expendable.
|Mock Protection List|
How does new coach Mike O'Shea see his roster shaping up? How much does that affect Winnipeg's list? Which quarterback does Winnipeg hang on to. Bob Irving weighs in with his take.
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This decision will ultimately be made by General Manager Kyle Walters, along with his staff comprised of Assistant GMs Danny McManus and Ted Goveia, as well as new head coach Mike O’Shea, who will be looking to begin steering the Bombers back in a winning direction.
That said, this decision is a pivotal one for the Blue Bombers.
Here’s a look at why the Bombers should and shouldn’t protect one of Max Hall, Justin Goltz and Jason Boltus.
Hall should be protected because his play improved steadily during the second half of the 2013 season. He was the starter for most of the second half and proved to be exceptionally tough while also cutting down on his interceptions total.
The Brigham Young product finished with a completion percentage of 57, 1,999 passing yards, nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
At 28 years old, he’s a good leader with a good amount of upside.
On the flip side, Hall should not be protected because his arm strength is marginal at best.
Goltz should be protected because his young age leaves room for him to improve with added experience. At 26, his physical skills, along with his six-foot-five, 205-pound frame and underrated athleticism make him a real person of interest.
However, Goltz should not be protected due to a visible lack of progress last season. After being handed the QB reins early in 2013, Goltz showed some improvement under centre, but appeared to plateau at some point.
He finished with a completion percentage of 55, and threw just two touchdown passes compared to seven interceptions. It’s also worth noting that he appeared to lose the confidence of the coaching staff in the process.
Jason Boltus: Lastly, Boltus should be protected because he has a big, strong throwing arm.
But, the 27-year should not be protected because, albeit in limited playing time, he showed little signs of being a player that is capable of leading an offence throughout an entire season. In brief appearances in 2013, Boltus completed just eight of his 25 passes for 91 yards and three interceptions.
WILDCARD: The Bombers also had a quarterback on their practice roster when the 2013 season ended. Levi Brown was a 7th round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills out of Troy University in 2010. He spent most of the 2012 season with Saskatchewan, and some of their coaches were very high on his potential. He may or may not be brought back in 2014.
Bob Irving has covered the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for CJOB Radio in Winnipeg since 1973. Bob is the Sports Director at CJOB and is in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, reporters division. Follow Bob on Twitter @BobIrvingCJOB