Got a chance to see the morning and afternoon practices and apart from the weather being unbelievable, it was great seeing the boys out on the field. Today in the morning there was much more coaching of finer details with the emphasis on players on offence knowing their formations and assignments.
There is so much more of the above at this camp than in the past few camps, and I think it will pay off more in the short term, not to mention the conditioning aspect and how that is strengthened for months from now.
The individual battles continue between linebackers and running backs, receivers and defensive backs, and offensive and defensive linemen. The major thing I noticed is the way things have come around for some players with the added teaching, coaching and practicing. Players that didn’t look sharp on day one have taken major steps forward.
I never mentioned much about the kicking game, and as I see it, and probably to no one’s surprise, the Boreham-Fleming battle isnt really a battle but more so a friendly bonding where it clearly shows that Boreham has the leg for field goals and kickoffs, while Fleming is the one with the better distance and hang time on punts. Boreham sent some kickoffs over 70 yards deep. There is room for both to co-exist, and the team didn’t draft Fleming with their first pick in the dispersal draft to see him come and go.
The secondary continues to show well in their trials against the speedy receivers. Tay Cody continues to be the aggressive one in camp, much to the chagrine of Coach Marshall. Deep down coaches like to see a little extra aggression in training camp when challenging the opposing unit, but there is a fine line between aggression and going overboard. Cody has dished out a few major hits this camp when he could have held back, but Cody accepted the fact that he did a no no, and with great sportsmanship, apologized to Coach Marshall and the bewildered receiver(s) respectively. A class act, and simply a sign of the type of players this team has on its roster.
Moving on, it is great to see how good a camp some defensive backs are having, namely Justin, Goss, and Sandy Beveridge. The first two have done really well. The words ‘shut down’ come to mind. It is a great sign when you see backs always being around the ball, regardless if the receiver made the catch. If the close coverage continues, then at one point you will see some picks occurring and that is exactly what has been happening to date. Beveridge is making great strides to come back to playing like he was a few years back. Throw in Wayne Shaw and Scott Gordon and you have three guys that can play the safety position, not to mention what they offer on special teams.
The quarterbacks are looking good. They are checking off from the intended receiver to the next read, and so on. If they have to dump it off underneath they will and that is using the entire receiving core. This year you see more players hanging around after practice to improve their timing and going through many agility drills all in the hopes of being one of 46 players making the cut.
Our new lineman Damion Cook practiced in the afternoon but not in the morning. He looks the part, showing pretty good agility although he didn’t participate much in the team drills. This bodes well for an offensive line that is coming together day to day. Will be much better when Pascal Cheron returns.
A number of guest/part time coaches are making their presence felt, and without mentioning them all, you can see that they are right into the thick of things adding their expertise. It is great to see the crispness in this camp, especially when I personally have attended a number of CFL training camps in the past, namely Toronto and Montreal. The players will be more than ready come next Friday in Toronto, relatively speaking. After all, that game is still an extension of ‘training’ camp.
Tomorrow will be a conditioning test for the players with the first Power Practice (two practices in one). We should see even more fans in the stands with the great weather continuing.