Well I have nothing but good things to say about Marcus Parker, both as a man and as a player. He has great hips (a funny comment to make about another guy) and hands, as well as a good aggressive getoff. He also looks identical to D-Maxie in pads hahah.
Big Eddie has the size to be a cornerstone in a 4-3 defense for sure so long as he adjusts well to the speed of the Canadian game, which I believe he has the ability to do (he played very well in the game he appeared in). Didn't get to see a whole lot of Eddie, but he is very impressive physically and he really worked hard to pick up on the playbook very late in the season. The payoff was an immediate impact.
Both these players will be great CFL players so long as they adjust to the yard-off-the-ball rule, which can seriously throw off some American Dlineman who are used to lining up right on top of the Oline (this especially affects DTackles). The extra space often serves to negate their speed and many players end up throwing moves way too early until they get used to it. Look for both these guys to make an impact... especially in a 4-3
Keep an eye out for Terrence Patrick. This guy is an amazing player who did A LOT for the team last year. He played just about every position on the defensive line (injuries forced us to juggle people) thanks to his previous experience and filled in very well everywhere. He was really a stabilizing force as the American veteran of the group and helped me throughout the season to improve my skills. Once he is finally allowed to settle in to playing at just one position he will really shine... and I'm not saying he played poorly last year at all! He had to play out of position a lot and that really brought his numbers down.
Keron Williams is very small for a defensive tackle, but believe me when I say he is never at a disadvantage in a shoving match. He plays with the best pad leverage on the team and makes great use of his speed and the extra yard to neutralize the size difference between him and the OGuard. His spin move can only be described as dirty. He is also a very young guy (only 22 when he started the season) and has so much potential as a player. He has a good career ahead of him.
Pat MacDonald is an interesting guy. He only has 2 years of football experience, yet is playing professionally. It is unfair to look at him in the same light as guys who have been playing since they were 6 years old. He has great physical tools, tons of unrealized potential and an aggressive play style that is fun to watch. It might take a little while for him to catch up with players who have 10 more years of experience than he does, but his work ethic will shorten the learning curve. All that, coupled with the fact that he is Canadian, will make him an impact player in years to come.
Tearrius George is a stud. I don't really have to explain much about T... he is a good player and definitely going to make a successful NFL run. The Stamps will be lucky to have him back if things don't work out down south.
Miguel Robede is just waiting for his chance. He will fit much better into a 4-3. I really like Miguel and am anxious to see him in a defensive system that works for him. He just needs to get a few in-game snaps under his belt to settle in and then Calgary will have a very powerful and relentless weapon on their hands.
Justin Phillips is another very very young player. He had to switch to defensive end from linebacker his senior year at Laurier due to injury and is still making some adjustments. He has great speed, but flip-flopping back and forth from LB to DE last season was a bit detrimental to his growth, although entirely necessary due to injuries. He graded out well when he did appear in games and is yet another young player that will improve with a little experience.
Mike Labinjo. Another guy who flip-flopped back and forth from LB to DE until his season was ended with a rather unpleasant injury. I am not sure where he (or Phillips) will play next season (at DE or LB), but Mike has the ability to play either thanks to his speed in space and sturdy build. He has an excellent ability to lock out and control offensive linemen. It's really a shame his season ended when it did or we would've heard his name far more often.
I will miss Randy Chevrier immensely. He was the true veteran of our young group and really helped me out during camp to secure a roster spot. He got me on track when I was a little lost in camp and I really credit him for whatever success I saw during the season. If he hadn't been around I doubt I would ever have made the team! He was the guy we went to when we had any kind of question or worry. Good luck to Randy... what a stand-up guy.
Well I certainly won't analyze myself... I would like to say that I don't consider myself injury prone, merely unlucky this past season. I've never had injuries in the past. I AM trying to put on some weight and play around 260. I am weighing in now at 259 and believe that my return to heavy lifting with my legs will put a few more pounds on. There is not one play last year when I was knocked off the ball (I made note haha), but I am aware that many coaches would like to see their DEs a little bigger than the 250 or so I played at. I will never sacrifice speed for size, however.
I know the Dline was a unit people liked to knock last year, but we graded out very well in all but one game and were VERY young. Our group has a ton of potential and I believe wholeheartedly in the ability of our men. Yes I stayed positive in my breakdowns above and yes I have a biased opinion with regards to my friends and teammates, but honestly it wasn't hard to do. There's a reason all these guys made the roster. They are good football players! I would say our biggest area that we need to improve in is having more success when we are not blitzing or twisting. So take from all that what you will and with a grain of salt.
4-3? It certainly should help run defense. Will all our players fit perfectly into that system? Probably not. There will certainly be a shakeup in camp. I can't really say what is going to happen. I do have faith that our new coaching staff will do whatever they have to do to put us in the best position to win and that's all we can really ask. Change is always good for the whole of a football team, although not always so good for individual players.
Well that post turned into a freakin novel, but I guess what else is there to do on a rainy Saturday in New Jersey? Hope you guys at least enjoyed reading it.