Training camp resumed today with a few less players on the field. Whether that was from injury or due to being released, it was evident that Malcolm Woolridge, Dondre Gilliam, Alex Green, Corey Dodds and Steve Savoy were not on the field today. Later it was known that the above players were released and I guess that made the rest of the team relax a little bit, hence a polished practice ensued.
Woolridge was signed from the free agent camp here at Ivor Wynne Stadium and he didn’t look out of place at all but he was caught in the numbers game. Gilliam and Savoy were in tough with the amount of receivers and the talent that they all have. Green just never took the necessary steps forward to win a position and Dodds’ release was a bit of a shock since he has been impressive at camp but essentially he didn’t do enough to stick around further.
Today, the guys got in a good workout with their specific units, and there was also an emphasis on special teams with the punting unit being tested for their understanding of assignments. Now yesterday Fleming managed to get a round of applause for his first punt in the scrimmage but then later he shanked one that wasn’t so good. Yet today was different. He was booming them with authority. I think the coaching staff will eventually have Fleming punting and Boreham handling the field goal duties. Boreham cemented his position on the team with a very impressive day yesterday.
On the receiving end of those punts was Holmes and the diminutive Davon Fowlkes who continues to impress. Watching him on Friday in Toronto will be a priority. We have been looking for punt and kick returners for such a long time on this team, and now we probably might have two potential all-stars.
Having said that, with the improved punting of Fleming, the addition of Holmes and possibly Fowlkes if all pans out for him, and then you add Mariuz into the mix to go along with Augie, Beveridge and others, we should be one of the most improved special team units in the league. No longer should we be conceding big yardage to our foes with such talent, and no longer should we be stuck in bad field position because of a lack of return personnel. Coach Erdman’s job should be much easier this year with the talent pool, but then again, the expectations are much higher too.
Also today, the defensive line just continues to look really well in the one on one drills. All across the board they seem to have so much confidence and I personally hope they gel to become a pressuring line. They don’t seem to be taking a back seat when competing against our offensive linemen as they are consistent in their performance every day at practice. It is just amazing to watch.
On the other side of the ball, today I saw Julian Radlein back in action after taking some much needed time off. He never lost his all out effort since coming back from his knee injury. He was battling oncoming defenders and running the ball with authority. This is a great sign, and coupled with the super camp that Kojo Aidoo is having, this bodes well for the fullback position.
Overall, another good and efficient practice.