- FREE AGENCY
Hello, Don Unamba. It’s like the off-season just didn’t exist, amirite?
Intercepting the first pass thrown into your area, on the first play of the game for you and your new defence in Edmonton? Some people pick UP right where they left off. Some people pick OFF right where they left off.
Here are five takeaways from the first week of training camps.
I always enjoy writing a headline that has me thinking “I’ve never written those words together in my life.” That one, just above, is one for the books.
The new Head Coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders made the pronouncement over the weekend, asked what he wants out of his first camp as the man in charge.
“We wanna see guys tired,” Dickenson said. “We wanna see tongues out, takin’ knees, starting to see how fast the transition is from offence to kicking game to defence.
Dickenson ramped up the intensity on Sunday, signalling to his players that you-know-what’s about to get real. After a camp which had seen, in Dickenson’s words, “a lot of muscle pulls” early on, the time is now to rev the engines and push to the limits.
If his message wasn’t clear enough this past weekend, I’m sure it will be as Week 2 of camp dawns.
That’s because one Solomon Elimimian is about to join the green and white fray. He’s always been one to hit the intensity button and you just know the veteran linebacker is eager to get at it in the wake of his former GM Ed Hervey saying that the Lions let him go because “…we know when a player’s time is up.”
Say “ahhh.” Gonna be some tongues dragging on the carpet in Saskatoon this week.
Receiver DeVier Posey will be relied upon to provide the Montreal Alouettes with gamebreaking speed and backbreaking touchdown receptions in 2019. You’d think a guy like that would be all about the offensive possibilities when considering what team to sign with during free agency.
Posey, the 2017 Grey Cup Most Valuable Player while with Toronto, talked up the Montreal defence when asked why he chose the Als.
“It was more than financial,” said Posey during a training camp interview last week. “It was about what they had on defence. I like this defence,” Posey replied, before going on to name some names. Defensive back Tommie Campbell. Safety Taylor Loffler. Linebackers Henoc Muamba and Bo Lokombo. “And everyone knows what (defensive end) John Bowman is about,” he added.
Yes. Yes we do, indeedy, know what the ageless John Bowman is about. And now we now that some receivers are about. It’s defence. Because, after all, if you’ve got a good defence, your offence gets the ball a lot more. DeVier Posey has great wheels and great hands. And a brain to go along with them.
After the team experienced a disappointing season of turmoil and defeats in 2018, new Argos’ Head Coach Corey Chamblin is after calm seas from the get-go in 2019.
No doubt the nature of competition will naturally take over at a number of positions as camp progresses. However, Chamblin is not at all interested, it seems, in fielding a group of quarterbacks all with question marks on their jerseys where numbers would usually reside.
A battle for the number one pivot spot? No, sir.
“I don’t think it’s his to lose,” answered Chamblin when asked about quarterback James Franklin and his position in the pecking order. “It’s his job to grow.”
Maybe we’re playing at semantics here, and Chamblin – like most any head coach – will go with the guy who gives him the best chance to win from the outset.
Seems, though, that he has already decided that James Franklin will start and start and start to begin the regular season, with a long leash provided so that we can all see just what Toronto has in the heir apparent to the retired Ricky Ray.
The story of the Calgary Stampeders and running back Romar Morris is a case in point.
Some may have read the header that told them the Stamps had released the second-year tailback and thought “that’s a shame, guess he just can’t make it back from injury.”
Reading or hearing Head Coach Dave Dickinson’s comments on the matter would have told a different story from the beginning.
“It sucks but he wasn’t able to pass his medical,” said Dickinson. “We’ll rehab him. He can’t take part in practices and drills. When Romar gets healthy we’ll see how the team plays out but when he’s available we’ll see how he helps us down the road.”
Less than a week later, the Stamps announced that Morris was back with the team, proving once again that you need to read the whole article, not just the headline. But then again, that’s what you’d expect a writer to say, no?
We’ve seen players land pretty quickly in another city after being dismissed by their clubs, but the speed with which offensive lineman Chris Van Zeyl ended up with Hamilton after being cut by the Argos must’ve set some kind of land speed record. Or speed-dial record, anyway.
I mean, did his call-waiting go off while he was on the line to Argos’ Jim Popp, getting the news that his long career with Toronto was over?
“This is so disappointing,” Van Zeyl may have said to Popp. Then: “Hang on, Jim, I got another call… I’ll be right back to ya in a sec.”
Eight seconds later: “Hey, Jim… thanks, it’s all cool, just signed with Ticats. Bye-eee!”
Who says O-linemen can’t harness great velocity?
A sartorial takeaway from the first pre-season game of the year: Those new BC Lions uniforms get a big ol’ yuppity-yup from me. Suh-weet.