- Free Agency
WINNIPEG — The Bombers continued to practice today, in preparation for their Thursday night matchup against the visiting Toronto Argonauts.
Linebacker John Surla has been getting some special attention since joining the Bombers. Thanks to an injury to starting longsnapper Chris Cvetkovic, Surla travelled to Montreal and took some reps.
The second part of the John Surla documentary – Road to the Show – will continue on CFL.ca on June 27.
MISSISSAUGA, Ont — Coming off a 31-12 win over the Hamilton Tigers-Cats in their preseason opener on Saturday, the Argos returned to the field for Day 15 of Training Camp. The team was energized by a new addition to practice: #97 DT Claude Wroten, whose arrival was delayed by a passport issue. The former Louisiana State University (LSU) All-American arrived in good shape and was able to take part in the entire practice. And the coaching staff was eager to see what Wroten could bring to the table. He received the majority of the reps at defensive tackle during skelly and team sessions. Wroten showed great jump off the line and was aggressive in his pursuit of the quarterback.
Retired Argonauts DB Willie Middlebrooks showed up at practice and took part in the defensive backs “breakdown” at the end of the individual drill session. Middlebrooks retired prior to training camp due to health concerns discovered at the end of the 2010 CFL season. Middlebrooks’ presence seemed to spark the Argos’ defence which had a very productive day. #26 LB Jordan Younger was particularly active. He broke right through the line on a number of blitzes, knocked down several passes, and was noticeably vocal during the team session.
The star on the offensive side of the ball was #87 WR D.J. Boldin. He hauled in two touchdown passes during the team session, both delivered by the arm of #12 QB Dalton Bell. Boldin has shown good speed over the duration of camp, and he also seems to be a very strong route-runner. His rapport with Bell should only continue to grow as both players love to make plays down the field.
Bell continues to be locked in a battle with #1 QB Cleo Lemon for the Argos’ starting quarterback position. It has been the case for more than a week and both guys stepped up with solid practices today. Lemon’s favourite target seemed to be #32 RB/SB Andre Durie, with whom he connected on four occasions during the preseason game on Saturday.
The Argos will have one practice on Tuesday at 9:40 a.m. before running a walk-thru on Wednesday in preparation for their exhibition contest on Thursday at 8:00 p.m. ET in Winnipeg at Canad Inns Stadium. The Argos will host a Viewing Party at Jack Astor’s, 133 John St., in downtown Toronto on Friday, July 1. All fans are welcome to attend and cheer the Double Blue on to victory in the regular season opener against Calgary.
MONTREAL — The Montreal Alouettes’ 2011 training camp came to an end Monday morning under a brilliant Sherbrooke sun at Coulter Field on the campus of Bishop’s University. The Alouettes, who have been training hard since camp opened on June 5, are now in the final stretch before the debut of the 2011 season.
Marc Trestman’s men held practices during 14 of their 16 days in the Eastern Townships, and back-to-back practices within a single day were scheduled more often than not. The players appeared to welcome the closing of camp, applauding when the morning’s final workout came to an end.
“It was a good camp and we were able to accomplish a lot of different things. I told the players that the coaching staff was pleased with the way they carried themselves over these past two weeks,” said Trestman.
Nevertheless, the players recognize the fact that a lot of work remains to be done.
The Alouettes will play their final pre-season game of the off-season Wednesday, against the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton. The game is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. and will be broadcast live on RDS, TSN, CKAC, and CJAD. With a number of starting spots still up for grabs, the game could well determine the future of more than a handful of players currently on the Alouettes’ roster.
Following Wednesday’s encounter, the team will then return to Montreal to begin preparing for their regular season opener, scheduled to kick-off at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 30, when the BC Lions visit Percival Molson Stadium.
Arrival and departure
The Alouettes released defensive back Khalil Jones and added import receiver B.J. Frazier to their roster.
HAMILTON — Many more familiar faces will be in the lineup on Wednesday in the Ticats second and final tune-up before the regular season opens on Canada Day. Wednesday night’s game will be the first opportunity for fans to see the Black and Gold’s prized off-season acquisition, Avon Cobourne, in action with the Ticats.
“I need to be sharp, I need to be crisp, I need go out and make those plays that I was brought in here to make,” Cobourne said after the last training camp practice at McMaster University.
The West Virginia product will make his Ticats debut against Montreal, the team he won two Grey Cups with, after he left the Alouettes to sign with the Tiger-Cats during free agency in 2011. Cobourne does not have any negative feelings towards the organization where he began his CFL career than he would have against any other opponent in the league.
“It could be Calgary, I don’t like any team that I’m playing against,” he said. “Any team I’m playing against I’ll find a reason not to like.”
The diminutive back is having trouble putting the Ticats pre-season loss to the Argos out of his mind — you can tell Cobourne is used to winning — he wouldn’t even attend the Ticats annual training camp rookie show because he just cannot celebrate or feel good after a loss.
“I keep thinking about that game, I’m so upset that we didn’t win that game. I know it was a pre-season game, but I felt like we were supposed to win that game,” he said.