May 14, 2024

Ferguson: One training camp wish for every team

Each year as training camp rolls around the imagination wanders. Yes, there are the old sayings like hope springs eternal and everyone is 0-0, but really what camp comes down to is making you wonder what storylines – visible or yet to be discovered – could dominate the CFL landscape as we head through 2024.

For my money there is nothing more enjoyable than sitting back, sifting through rosters and wondering what twists and turns this great game will present us as time rolls on from spring to summer, fall and snow covered playoff fields.

For now, let’s lock in on the mystery that is training camp and brainstorm what could be with some wishful thinking and obscure requests.

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BC Lions – Fuel Economy is the key

We all know the BC Lions have all the skill, depth and potential you could ever want in a potential Grey Cup champion, but the CFL season is a steady build, not a 60-metre sprint.

My wish for the Lions is to embrace the challenge of becoming iconic at home this season with a Vancouver Grey Cup scheduled for late November, but know that the process of getting to BC Place for the big show is one that can’t be completed Week 1, or even training camp. Set your goals on the ultimate prize, but build slowly as the seasons change and I think good things will come for anyone in orange.

Edmonton Elks – Follow the main man

McLeod Bethel-Thompson was brought in for a reason.

To play quarterback, YES, thank you Marshall for all the wisdom.

I believe it’s about much more than that for MBT though. The veteran has seen it all, in just about every league and situation and should bring a calming voice to every breakdown and huddle he steps into. As a vocal leader Bethel-Thompson will give Edmonton teammates every reason to believe and follow his lead. My wish? Do it.

Calgary Stampeders – Believe in the past

The blueprint is there for anyone and everyone who wants to get back atop the West and CFL as a whole. In Calgary’s hallways are picture after picture of iconic Stampeders teams and players. My wish for the Red and White is to have players buy into their culture of success and play with the belief they belong back in elite status.

Saskatchewan Roughriders – Be about it

So much of Riders football culture is hype. Year over year the fan base and surroundings get everyone whipped into a passionate craze about their team. I think this is the team that could take that bottled up energy and really turn it into something special.

Make Mosaic a brutal place for road teams again, make the playoffs with equal threat run and pass, make National players the standouts by building out structures that allow the ratio to help fuel wins. All of it is possible, but ditch the hype and be about the work. With AJ Ouellette in house and Trevor Harris calling signals that is much easier to attain.

QB Trevor Harris enters his second season in Saskatchewan (Arthur Ward/

Winnipeg Blue Bombers – It’s okay to be villainous..

Everyone is gunning for you. You’ve taken the crown of best fan base in the CFL and it makes the other eight passionate season ticket bases want that crown back by taking down your team.

Embrace it, wear the black cape, be the ‘bad guy’ and go get what is yours.. A Grey Cup to answer for previous failings. Just like the 2018 Stampeders, I think two successive Grey Cup loses could fuel the future of Winnipeg and if accomplished it will feel sweeter than either 2019 or 2021 championship.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats – Find A Way

The training camp cuts and quotes have been a bit peculiar, I know what Scott Milanovich WANTS to do based of previous precedent, but now it’s time to see it through. Assuming Bo Levi Mitchell is fully healthy as he promises everything will be built around him with Taylor Powell ready in the wings.

How does Hamilton climb back atop the East? I’m not sure, but I believe the key to this camp and season is committing to find a way no matter the hurdles that are sure to appear in the near future.

Toronto Argonauts – Don’t Fear Evolution

The Argos roster is solid and primed for another competitive year, but you can’t hold onto last season.

Return All-Star Jevon Leake is gone to Edmonton with kicker Boris Bede. Your power back is gone to Saskatchewan. Ball hawk Jamal Peters is with the rival Tiger-Cats. SO WHAT. This is the 2024 Double Blue, not 2023. The sooner everyone in the building is at peace with that the better their season will go.

Ottawa REDBLACKS – Chop Wood.. Every.. Damn.. Day.

There is only one way to cut wood. With the blade consistently square, aimed, on balanced footing and ready to deliver the same blow time after time after time regardless of what challenges the wood possesses.

The REDBLACKS are in tough, but a steady, smart, squarely footed approach has the potential to cut enough wood to keep Ottawa fans warm deep into the playoffs.

Montreal Alouettes – Embrace Reality

You’re the champs. Let’s say that again, you are the GREY CUP CHAMPIONS.

It wasn’t a fluke, you earned it. Act like it and attack this season with a new found belief. It’s okay to beat your chest a bit and play with some swagger, heck it might just make you back to back champions.

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