O’Shea unfazed by lack of experience behind Zach Collaros, believes young QBs will ‘grow into the leaders they need to be’

Photo courtesy: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

For a team that wears blue, Winnipeg’s backup quarterbacks look awfully green.

The Blue Bombers are set to enter the 2021 CFL season with very little experience behind veteran quarterback Zach Collaros. This doesn’t bother head coach Mike O’Shea, who believes the guidance of his starting pivot and offensive coordinator Buck Pierce will help the young passers develop quickly.

“We’re excited — with Buck and Zach’s leadership, that room will grow. We believe they’re quite capable playing football and they’ll grow into the leaders they need to be and the CFL pros they need to be,” said O’Shea in a videoconference.

The backups currently on the roster behind Collaros are Sean McGuire, Dru Brown, and Dalton Sneed, the latter two of whom have yet to appear in a CFL game.

Winnipeg lost Chris Streveler to the NFL in February 2020 when he signed with the Arizona Cardinals. The dual-threat quarterback ended up making Arizona’s roster as the backup behind former No. 1 overall draft pick Kyler Murray and took reps in five games.

“We’re happy with the group of guys we’re bringing in,” said general manager Kyle Walters. “Sean [McGuire] made a really good impression on us last year and it’s tough on a lot of young quarterbacks until you get thrown into the fire to truly know.”

McGuire dressed for eighteen regular season games in 2019 as Winnipeg’s third-string quarterback, completing two passes for 17 yards and carrying the ball three times for nine yards. If the regular season were to start tomorrow, it’s likely that McGuire would be the primary backup quarterback behind Zach Collaros.

“We fully expect [McGuire] to come in and to grow in his second year,” said Walter. “We’ve got a good group there — we got a good room.”

Walters expressed regret that young quarterbacks around the league won’t get an opportunity to see game action before the start of the regular season due to the cancellation of the preseason.

There are a number of teams in the CFL with very little experience behind their starting quarterbacks, including Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Saskatchewan.

Dru Brown posted solid production at Hawaii (2016-17) and Oklahoma State (2019), throwing for 6,083 yards, 44 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. The five-foot-eleven, 200-pounder is relatively mobile but rarely takes off from the pocket, rushing for just 319 yards over 31 games.

Dalton Sneed played sparingly at UNLV before transferring to Fort Scott Community College in 2017. He finished his collegiate career at Montana and played well, passing for 6,159 yards, 47 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions. He rushed 131 times in 2018 for 675 yards and six touchdowns, showing his dual-threat capability.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are set to open training camp in the second week of July.