Bombers add QB No. 9
Will Santos be one to emerge as bona fide CFL pivot?
Last Updated: 22nd September 2009, 1:04am
The quarterback quandary continues in Bomberville.
In a desperate bid to uncover another signal caller for the future, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers sent non-import defensive end Riall Johnson and Canadian defensive end Shawn Mayne to the Montreal Alouettes for fourth-string quarterback Ricky Santos.
"Ricky had astronomical numbers coming out of the University of New Hampshire," Bomber head coach Mike Kelly said on his radio show last night. "And we feel he is a mature kid with some skill sets."
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Norwood, Mass., native once threw seven touchdown passes in a college game and won the Walter Payton Award for the NCAA Division 1AA's Most Outstanding Offensive Player in 2006. New Hampshire, where he set school passing records, also retired his No. 2 in 2007.
Santos, 25, signed as a free agent with the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs in 2008 but landed in Montreal later that same year. But he has yet to play a single regular-season game as he was playing behind Anthony Calvillo, Adrian McPherson and Chris Leak in Montreal.
"Every athlete's a confident guy, but you can't go wrong playing any of those other guys," Santos told the Montreal Gazette. "I was the odd man out, although they kept me around for a year and a half. But it was extremely frustrating not playing or dressing. I'm extremely happy to be getting this opportunity."
Santos is expected to be at today's practice. To make room for him, the Bombers released third-string quarterback Bryan Randall.
Johnson was acquired last winter in the deal that sent import linebacker Zeke Moreno to Toronto, but is playing out his option. Mayne is predominantly a backup who has been with the Bombers four seasons. He dressed in Sunday's 33-14 loss to the Alouttes and had three tackles.
"From our standpoint, we felt a need this was something we had to do," Alouettes assistant general manager Marcel Desjardins told the Montreal Gazette. "I can't speculate on the Bombers, except that they must need a quarterback. We've added two Canadians, which obviously was an area of concern. This gives us a lot more flexibility to do things ...
"We invested a lot of time and money developing a quarterback. We weren't looking to get rid of an asset."
Although B.C. brought quarterback Casey Printers back yesterday, Kelly has repeated several times that he had no interest in him.
Kelly has grown more concerned about his offence. For the second straight game, starter Michael Bishop completed less than 50% of his passes against Montreal on Sunday. He completed nine of 19 throws for 145 yards and one touchdown, with two interceptions (the CFL stats on the game were wrong). He was pulled in the first half but later re-inserted when rookie Casey Bramlet was ineffective. In Bishop's defence, several of his passes were dropped and the last interception bounced off a receiver's hands.
But Bishop will likely be the starter when Winnipeg plays host to his former team, the Toronto Argonauts, this Saturday.
"We have a veteran in here right now and we have to ride that horse right now," Kelly said. "Michael has been outstanding in his attitude and his approach and there's nobody who wants to see us all put this together more than Michael Bishop does.
"You love the one you're with and keep trying to find a way to improve and put him into situations where we can put the ball into our playmakers' hands and be smart about what we're doing."