May 25, 2023

Landry’s five takeaways from training camp

The Canadian Press

Hello, Lucky Whitehead. So, what’s the deal? You gonna finally arrive for a game day this year riding a llama? Or do I have to keep asking? Because I will, Lucky. I will keep asking. Don’t care if it is a brand new season. There’s no statute of limitations on my demanding a llama entrance. Want me to stop? Ride up to BC Place on a llama then. Because this whole never ending llama saga ain’t on me, Lucky. It’s on you.

Here are the first week of training camp takeaways.


Those extra soft cushions being worn over some player’s helmets – guardian caps, they’re called – were all the talk as CFL camps opened, with linemen, running backs and linebackers in every city sliding them over their helmets in order to provide extra cushioning during contact drills.

They look odd, sure. Kind of reminiscent of the old-style helmets used prior to the advancement of plastics and hard shell composites. I’m thinking John Krasinski and George Clooney in “Leatherheads.”

» QB Tracker: Breaking down preseason playing time
» Sign up and watch preseason games on CFL Preseason Live
» Sign up and watch regular season games on CFL+ in the U.S. and internationally
» Play CFL Pick ‘Em presented by Old Dutch
» Subscribe to the CFL’s newsletter for exclusive offers and league updates

The takeaway here is an easy one; player safety advancements will be implemented with regularity as the game continues to evolve. Bravo for that.

My question is: If the guardian caps prove to be greatly advantageous when it comes to protecting a player’s noggin, will we ever start to see them used in games?

Bonus takeaway: Are these available to the general public? I’ve had a number of ‘friends’ and ‘loved ones’ suggest that I really ought to be utilizing one as I go about my daily business.


Edmonton Elks’ receiver Maurice Ffrench had a Ffantastic Ffirst game in the CFfL.

Ten catches, 119 yards and a touchdown in the Elks’ loss to Calgary on Monday. That sure is one way to capture the Ffancy of your coaches and your Ffootball brethren. In a receiving corps that is rich in talent and experience, a new guy could hardly do better in assuring he gets his name in the mix, complete with certain writers adding to his Ffame by having Ffun with the double Fs at the beginning of Ffrench’s Ffamily handle.

The good news? Well, it’s two-Ffold: Ffrench has staked an early claim to a roster spot. And I have most certainly tired myself out when it comes to my preoccupation with whole double F thing. Ffor now, at least. It’s not like I don’t get over things, isn’t that right, Lucky Whitehead?


Jake Maier, the projected starting quarterback this season, played in the first quarter of Monday’s preseason game (

Hey, it’s just the first pre-season game. No big whoop.

Don’t tell that to Calgary head coach Dave Dickenson, though. His team got the win, but without many of the first stringers getting style points from the boss. If you’re a veteran, Dickenson would like you to show it right away, if you please.

“I was disappointed with our starting group,” said Dickenson after a 29-24 win. “I don’t think they did anything special at all.”

Oh, hey, howya doin? Have a nice off-season? Great. Vacation’s over immediately if not sooner. The tone has been set by the coach. Get to galloping, you experienced horses.


It’s not that I ever thought Hamilton Ticats coach Orlondo Steinauer was sour or dour or anything like that. Far from it, really. I’ve always found him to be a friendly sort.

But as last season’s disappointments played out for the Ticats, I thought I noticed Steinauer seeming less and less thrilled with answering questions, with the necessity of having to comment on roster decisions and performance and the like. That’d be perfectly understandable; the ‘Cats were supposed to be East Division rulers in 2022 and instead had to hard scrabble their way into a playoff position at basically the last moment.

In catching a few of Steinauer’s media avails through training camp, I see lots of smiles and a coach who’s even having some fun with the questions that come his way. When asked by a reporter about how he’d be deploying his players in this weekend’s pre-season game against Toronto, Steinauer replied, with a teasing tone: “We’ll find out,” and then followed that with a big grin. Then, he went on to answer the question seriously. Earlier in camp Steinauer had some fun with a question about the guardian caps, musing that he was glad coaches didn’t have to wear the thing. (Sidenote: coaches should have to wear the thing. Merely for our entertainment)

If the grind of slogging through a tough season had worn Steinauer down at all in 2022, it seems the promise of 2023 has him feeling rather chipper. At any rate, it’s nice to see Coach O smiling again.


Shawn Lemon was released by the BC Lions earlier this week (

Elite SAM Patrick Levels was released by the Ottawa REDBLACKS during Week 1. Shawn Lemon, last season’s West nominee for Most Outstanding Defensive Player while a Calgary Stampeder, gets released by the team that went out and paid him in free agency, the BC Lions.

Both these moves came with an initial shock – at least they did for me – before I made a pivot to a shoulder shrug and a murmured “that’s pro football for ya.”

Don’t ever forget it. No matter how closely you follow the CFL, no matter how much you know or think you know, somewhere along the line you’re gonna get jolted. Say, that reminds me. Jumal Rolle has retired.

Questions pop up. They get answered. More questions pop up. Always.

AND FfINALLY… You didn’t think I could resist just one more of those, did you?

The comment system on this website is now powered by the Forums. We'd love for you to be part of the conversation; click the Start Discussion button below to register an account and join the community!