Bombers make final cuts (and what they mean)

The Blue Bombers announced their final cuts Saturday afternoon, releasing the following nine players: running back Carlos Anderson; receivers Julian Talley, Justin Veltung, and Fred Williams; offensive linemen Jace Daniels and Zachary Intzandt; defensive lineman Emmanuel Dieke; and defensive backs Jonte Green and Matt Bucknor.

Bucknor and Daniels were the two surprises of the group. Bucknor started every game for the Bombers over the past two seasons at field cornerback, serving as one of their seven starting Canadians. At 30 and with just four season of professional football under his belt, don’t expect Bucknor to be out of work for long. Daniels, meanwhile, received the vast majority of the playing time at left guard this pre-season, a strong indication that he’d be the starter come the regular season.

The club also announced nine additions to their practice roster: running back Tim Flanders; fullback Tim Cronk; receivers Thomas Mayo and Gerrard Sheppard; offensive lineman Manase Foketi; defensive linemen Adrian Hubbard, Louie Richardson, and Padric Scott; and defensive back C.J. Roberts.

Richardson and Cronk, the two Canadians on the list, are both veterans who will rejoin the line-up in case of injury. The remaining players are all American veterans who, aside from Tim Flanders, are brand new to the CFL.

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Above is a rough breakdown of how the Blue Bomber’s 46-man roster will look for week one’s match-up versus Montreal. Four players will still need to be moved to the one or six-game injured list, as 53 players can still be found on the roster (receiver Addison Richards, centre Jeff Keeping, and linebacker Kyle Knox were added to the six-game injured reserve last week). Likely candidates to be added include quarterback Bryan Bennett, kicker Sergio Castillo, defensive end Darrell Johnson, and 2016 third round draft pick Shayne Gauthier, a linebacker who missed the entire pre-season due to injury. Look for the Bombers to scratch guard Travis Bond and a receiver — likely Kris Adams — week one versus Montreal.

As the roster appears above, the Bombers will have just one CFL rookie in the starting line-up in week one: Miami defensive end Shayon Green. The remaining seven new starters (Andrew Harris, BC; Weston Dressler, Saskatchewan; Ryan Smith, Saskatchewan; Quincy McDuffie, Hamilton; Jermarcus Hardrick, BC and Saskatchewan; Euclid Cummings, Toronto; Keith Shologan, Saskatchewan and Ottawa) all have CFL experience elsewhere. Jace Davis, a rookie receiver out of Northern Colorado, may join this group depending on how Y-receiver reps are shared between he and McDuffie as week one of Blue Bomber practice gets underway on Monday.

The Bombers’ cuts made clear the way they intend to navigate the ratio in 2016. Receiver (1), offensive line (3), defensive tackle (1), and defensive end (1) are all Canadian positions at which the club has adequate depth to continue starting a national player should an injury occur to the starter in question. The Bombers are unlikely to continue starting a Canadian at running back (1) should something happen to Andrew Harris, but between Sam Hurl at linebacker and a slew of talented Canadian safeties, the club will have the ability to modify the ratio if necessary.

The Bombers also reported a list of number changes: Khalil Bass from 47 to 2; Jesse Briggs from 40 to 34; Michael Couture from 65 to 59; Shayne Gauthier from 42 to 44; Thomas Mayo from 80 to 19; Derek Jones from 41 to 0; Sam Scott from 97 to 92; C.J. Roberts from 48 to 17; and Jermarcus Hardrick from 54 to 51.

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