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May 16, 2019

Checking Down: Football is back as rookie camps kick off

Robert Greeley/Ottawa REDBLACKS

TORONTO — It’s spring and football is in full bloom as players practise with their teams for the first time in 2019.

There’s plenty to talk about with rookie camps under way, from quarterback competitions in Ottawa and Montreal to highly-touted draft picks making their debuts.

It’s been a long winter so let’s get to it with the latest from Checking Down:

Jump to team:

BC | Calgary | Edmonton | Saskatchewan | Winnipeg | Hamilton | Toronto | Ottawa | Montreal

BC LIONS

 

– Sometimes good things come to those who wait, which was certainly the case when the Lions added former draft pick  and highly-touted lineman Brett Boyko (CFL.ca).

– After an off-season transformation, the Lions’ off-season depth chart is barely recognizable. How do things look going into training camp? (CFL.ca).

– Though the Lions will have European and Mexican players joining them in camp this year, it’s not the first time they’ve had an international presence (Matt Baker, BCLions.com).

EDMONTON ESKIMOS

Jason Maas and the Esks made it a priority to lock in their coaching staff earlier this year (The Canadian Press)

– After losing Carson Walch to the NFL just before camp last year, Eskimos GM Brock Sunderland put an emphasis on locking in his staff early this off-season (Gerry Moddejonge, Edmonton Sun).

– Mathieu Betts remains NFL-bound, but the Eskimos were able to sign most of their 2019 draft picks before the start of camp, including offensive lineman Kyle Saxelid (CFL.ca).

– University of Calgary star Adam Sinagra, who will attend Eskimos camp this month, leads the list of 10 U SPORTS quarterbacks that will take part in this year’s QB internship program (CFL.ca).

– Despite some big-name additions this off-season, the Esks have plenty of competition at various positions going into camp. CFL.ca previews their depth chart (CFL.ca).

CALGARY STAMPEDERS

 

– With 11 of 24 starters from last year’s Grey Cup not on the roster, the Stampeders are in for a competitive training camp this month. What are some of the key position battles? (Danny Austin, Calgary Sun).

– It appears that the emergence of 2018 first round pick Ryan Sceviour played a pretty big role in the team’s decision to go Canadian in the middle of the Stamps’ O-line this season (Stampeders.com).

– Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson says Canadian Adam Berger was pegged for a starting role before announcing his retirement earlier this month (Danny Austin, Calgary Sun).

– The Stamps aren’t closing the door on free agent defensive back Ciante Evans, who has a broken wrist, but are prepared to move on without him (Danny Austin, Calgary Sun).

– Receiver Kamar Jorden remains without a timeline as he works his way back from a season-ending knee injury suffered last Labour Day (Danny Austin, Calgary Sun).

SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS

 

– Quarterback Isaac Harker and 2018 first round pick Dakoda Shepley are among players to watch as the Riders open up rookie camp on Thursday (Murray McCormick, Regina Leader-Post).

– For a seven-year-old growing up in Regina, Jon Ryan dreamed of playing for the Saskatchewan Roughriders like almost any other kid (Murray McCormick, Regina Leader-Post).

– The Riders will have all six of their draft picks in camp after signing new deals on Wednesday, including first-round pick and receiver Justin McInnis (CFL.ca).

– He may be a step slower, but recently-signed linebacker Solomon Elimimian will be a big help for the Riders in 2019, Davis Sanchez argues in the latest from The Waggle (CFL.ca).

– What might the Riders’ depth chart look like as the team approaches training camp? CFL.ca breaks it all down with an off-season overview (CFL.ca).

WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS

Many believe first round pick Drew Desjarlais could push for a starting job in camp (Peter Power/CFL.ca)

– With young, up-and-coming linemen pushing for starting jobs, the Bombers are well-equipped to deal with the losses of Matthias Goossen and Sukh Chungh over the off-season (Ed Tait, BlueBombers.com).

– For Davis Sanchez, the physical dominance of Chris Matthews can’t be compared. Sanchez talks up the Bombers’ new receiver in the latest from The Waggle (CFL.ca).

– With Matt Nichols and Chris Streveler not participating, former AAF quarterback Kevin Anderson looks to take advantage of extra reps in his bid for the third-string job (Ted Wyman, Winnipeg Sun).

– For Winnipeg native and second round draft pick Brady Oliveira, putting on the blue and gold at Bombers camp was a pretty special feeling on Wednesday (Ed Tait, BlueBombers.com).

HAMILTON TIGER-CATS

 

– Could June Jones’ departure have played a role in the Ticats’ surprise decision to part ways with receiver Jalen Saunders? (Drew Edwards, 3 Down Nation).

– In the latest from The Waggle, Davis Sanchez says the presence of Tommy Condell should soften the blow of Jones’ exit (CFL.ca).

– It was a short stay, but Ticats departed coach June Jones left quite the impact on both the team and the league (Marshall Ferguson, CFL.ca).

– According to Steve Milton, the Ticats have signed all seven of their 2019 CFL Draft picks, including second overall pick Jesse Gibbon (Steve Milton, The Hamilton Spectator).

TORONTO ARGONAUTS

 

– The Argos have released veteran linebacker Bear Woods just before camp, opening up competition at the middle linebacker position (CFL.ca).

– Retired quarterback Ricky Ray was surely one of a kind, but as Davis Sanchez argues in The Waggle, there’s nothing quite like his corner route (CFL.ca).

– After being traded to Toronto in 2012, Ricky Ray didn’t take long to make an impact in his new city. Chris O’Leary takes a deep dive into one of the CFL’s most memorable trades ever (Chris O’Leary, CFL.ca).

– How could the Argos’ depth chart pan out in 2019? CFL.ca takes an early look as training camp approaches (CFL.ca).

OTTAWA REDBLACKS

 

– Head Coach Rick Campbell says the three Mexican players in REDBLACKS camp will be given plenty of patience as they compete with the rest of the roster (Tim Baines, Ottawa Sun).

– While some view 2019 as a rebuilding year in the nation’s capital following an off-season of change, General Manager Marcel Desjardins isn’t buying it (Tim Baines, Ottawa Sun).

– The REDBLACKS announced six roster additions on Thursday, including Canadian linebacker Daniel Tshiamala (OttawaREDBLACKS.com).

MONTREAL ALOUETTES

Kavis Reed hopes his team can finally get over the hump and compete for a playoff spot in 2019 (Montreal Alouettes)

– With some added ratio flexibility this off-season, Joey Alfieri lists who he believes will be the Alouettes’ seven Canadian starters in Week 1 (Joey Alfieri, TSN 690).

– Alouettes general manager Kavis Reed was impressed with some of his young defensive backs and receivers on the first day of the team’s rookie camp at McGill (Pat Hickey, Montreal Gazette).

– The Als’ roster is the deepest it’s been under Kavis Reed, but will it be enough to make the post-season? CFL.ca reviews the pre-camp depth chart (CFL.ca).

– Despite having some NFL workouts, Alouettes fourth-round draft pick and receiver Chris Osei-Kusi has signed a contract and will be in camp (CFL.ca).