BOMBSHELLS: Rose's natural ability shining through as he takes league interception lead
To put some perspective on just how strong Winnipeg Blue Bombers cornerback Winston Rose has been this season, consider this: He tied for the CFL lead with five interceptions last season and this season, he has seven already.
Rose, a 25-year-old who is in his third CFL season and with his third team, got his seventh pick in last Sunday’s Labour Day Classic, going high to take a ball away from Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Naaman Roosevelt.
That gave him a one-interception edge over Calgary’s Tre Roberson for the league lead. Both players have 109 return yards and a touchdown.
So, is Rose keeping an eye on what Roberson is doing or have an interest in finishing ahead of him on the season?
“No I don’t,” Rose said Thursday as the Bombers prepared to host the Riders in a rematch Saturday at IG Field. “The only title I want to win is the Grey Cup. Anything that helps the team make it to the Grey Cup and win it, that’s all that matters to me.”
That kind of talk has to be music to head coach Mike O’Shea’s ears.
Rose has been a terrific addition at boundary corner for the Bombers and is making teams think twice about throwing his way.
“Ball skills, body awareness, athleticism, timing,” O’Shea said when asked to explain why Rose is so good at picking off passes. “He can catch the football, so it’s about understanding the flight of the ball and the timing of the jump, how to put a receiver on his back. Those are all excellent things. I guess he learned it somewhere, but he’s got a natural ability too. Some of that stuff is not really teachable.”
While Rose and the Bombers defence had a strong game overall on Sunday, they allowed the Riders to drive 87 yards for the winning field goal in the final three minutes and that is still not sitting well.
“It’s burning in my head,” Rose said. “I keep repeating plays in my head that I felt like I could have made. Just having that on my mind and just trying to fix those problems. I’m excited about the game coming up cause I know we’re gonna play them again and I can correct my mistakes.
“For them to start on the five-yard line and drive down to kick a winning field goal, I feel like it was a slap to all of our defensive players’ faces. We just felt like we gave it to them.
“We have some serious motivation to play the whole 60 minutes this week.”
ANOTHER ROSE BLOOMS
On the topic of players named Rose, the Bombers have a new running back in the fold and he’s a familiar face.
Larry Rose III, who was in training camp with the team but was released before the regular season, was called back after import John Santiago got injured and was later released from the practice roster.
Santiago was expected to be activated last week to serve as the backup to Johnny Augustine while starter Andrew Harris serves his suspension, but was unable to go.
The Bombers dressed only one running back, but there’s a good chance they’ll activate Rose this week and will have some insurance in the backfield.
“I bring a lot of speed to the table,” Rose said. “I feel like I have really good vision.
I can catch the ball pretty good, at least I think so myself. I’m looking forward to seeing if I can make that roster cause I would definitely like to bring my talent to the field.”
Rose is the fourth player the Bombers released in training camp that they have since brought back. Santiago, defensive end Alex McCalister and quarterback Kevin Anderson have also returned, though Santiago and McCalister have been released again.
The important thing to Rose is that the Bombers promised to give him a chance if something came up and came through on their word.
“Sometimes people say things that aren’t necessarily true but one thing about the Bombers is, from top to bottom, they’ve been honest with me and kept their word,” Rose said.
“These last couple of months since I left here, that’s all I’ve been doing — staying ready, waiting for the next opportunity. They always tell you, ‘It’s coming.’”
Rose has been living and working in Waco, Texas but is nowhere near ready to give up on his football dream.
“I had a job at UPS, three in the morning till nine in the morning, moving boxes on and off of trucks,” he said. “I would go work from 3-9, then go home, take a nap and then get up and get my workout in for the day and then do it all over again.”
Lucky Whitehead and Nic Demski were non-participants in practice again on Thursday so there’s a good chance the Bombers receiving corps could have a different look on Saturday. If Whitehead can’t go, his role could be taken by a combination of Rasheed Bailey, who is currently on the practice roster, and Janarion Grant, who is the team’s designated kick returner. If Demski can’t go, he’ll be replaced by fellow Canadian Daniel Petermann, who has performed well in limited opportunities … The Bombers will look to extend an eight-game home winning streak on Saturday, which dates back to last season. The Bombers are 5-0 at IG Field this season.
More on this: 1 stories