BRADENTON, Fla. — The second day of Bombers mini-camp is in the books, and some players are starting to stake their claim on training camp spots.
Many of the players the Bombers have already signed are looking good. Quarterback Robert Marve is getting the most attention due to his strong and accurate arm, but non-contact camps are conducive to quarterbacks and receivers looking good. In saying that, though, he has been more accurate than Drew Willy, Max Hall and Brian Brohm.
We won’t know how good Marve really is until main camp starts in June, but his performance at the mini-camp will make the QB battle a little more interesting.
Here’s are a few other thoughts from Day 2 in sunny Bradenton …
• Running back/returner C.J. Tarver, who isn’t under contract, has the Bomber brass talking. He’s quick, and he catches the ball every time it’s thrown his way. The Bombers are also high on Nic Grigsby, who has already been signed, and Paris Cotton has acquitted himself well. The problem with mini-camps is it’s tough to get a good feel of how tailbacks actually are at running the football. Looks like Tarver will get a chance to prove himself in Winnipeg, though.
• Slotback Nick Moore showed up today with his brother Lance, the former New Orleans Saints receiver who now plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They chatted with a few of the players and watched most of the afternoon session. Big things are expected of Nick Moore this season after he signed a contract worth more than $180,000 a season.
Lance (left) and Nick Moore take in the action on Monday at IMG Academy.
• I don’t know if it’s because this is his first big event as Winnipeg’s starting quarterback and he’s nervous, but Drew Willy hasn’t exactly exploded out of the gates as the Bombers No. 1 pivot. He’s been overthrowing receivers quite a bit on the deep balls and has been generally underwhelming from this point of view, whereas Robert Marve has been on point for much of the camp. The coaches will no doubt say Willy has been good, but we’ll find out for sure on Tuesday.
• Brian Brohm and Mario Urrutia made their first appearance at camp on Monday after attending Brohm’s wedding on Saturday. The former Louisville teammates hooked up on a beautiful deep ball, and Urrutia showed great determination while hauling in another pass while fighting off a defensive back and nearly getting flipped over his back in the process. Urrutia lost his helmet during the struggle, but he still ended up with the ball. He’ll be someone to watch at training camp, for sure.
• While the Bombers were working out on Monday, a handful of kids were on an adjacent field getting individual instruction from IMG Academy instructors. This place turns out a lot of professional athletes in many sports, so these kids could be someone some day. They probably hope that’s the case considering how much money they must be shelling out to attend.
This is why all quarterbacks come from the United States. There just isn’t this kind of training in Canada.
• The problem with mini-camps is there are no one-on-ones between the offensive and defensive linemen. It’s therefore difficult to determine who’s having a good week. Actually, they do some one-on-ones, but they can’t be considered official because they’re not wearing pads. They have spent most of their time doing drills. They must be bored by now.
• Two import kickers were supposed to be at mini-camp on Monday, but due to travel mixups they were unable to make it and instead will be out there on Tuesday. Don’t forget the Bombers have Western rookie Lirim Hajrullahu as their only placekicker right now, so they need to add at least one more leg.
• Stephon Morris, Maurice Leggett and Brandon Hogan were three defensive backs who caught my eye on Monday.
• Time flies when you’re in sunny Florida! The camp will end on Tuesday morning with one last two-hour session, and then most of the Bomber brass will head to the airport for the flight home to Winnipeg. I, on the other hand, will be heading over to Vero Beach to take in Montreal Alouettes mini-camp for the next few days. Chad Johnson is scheduled to be on the field Tuesday night at 5 o’clock.
A Bradenton resident goes for a stroll on Monday afternoon.