Thought I would give my take on a few things going into camp.
There are some concerns on OL after the departures of Neufeld, Picard and Heenan over the past year. Sure, the club will be watching NFL cuts for guys like Heenan and Jones, but I tend to think at least one of them will land. Eight now it is looking like there will primarily be 2 International starters at OT. But wait, there are only 2 international OL on the roster. Sure, there is time to sign a guy still, but typically your OL is learning schemes on their own by now. So does the club have a trick up their sleeve? Maybe. CC clearly is biased towards D, and while logic says that the club SHOULD be starting 2 Nationals on D this year, I could see a surprise in the lineup. Could Best move to RT, Watman/Clark to C, Picard stay where he is and Gord Hinse to RG? This could realistically happen. Hadn’t thought of it until recently, but there could actually be 3 Nationals on the OL still. This would put 1 National to rotate for on the OL and 1 International as a designated import, who could push Best over if need be. I think Nehring will earn a chance to stick around on the PR.
I must admit I was disappointed to see Swain and Depalma. Depalma had a second crack at the NFL, good on him. Swain, IMO, had a superior blocking ability and ability to find the gap. He reminded me a lot of Geroy in that sense…no I am not saying he was as good.
Getz is the only natural SB right now, and I believe they will develop Anthony as his backup.
I believe that Taj will truly be competing for a spot with the club. Granted all of the guys struggled with yards last year, but with some of the unfortunate baggage, the club may view this as an easy out. Richardson is a vet presence there to make Taj earn his spot. Richardson might, apparently, not even be ready for camp, so they need another guy in mind.
The club has done a good job of bringing in some great speed guys, but I anticipate a couple more signings pre-camp.
Another spot I am waiting for an announcement. There were a couple backs that looked great in mini camp. Jerodis Williams is one that stood out in my mind. The fact they have not inked anyone, I believe, is that they are still in discussion more than that they are not looking to add.
The club needs to add 1 more National at FB to compete, and IMO 1-2 more RB. they really only have Allen as an every down RB right now, and I would at least hope he has competition. Messam is not an every down back. He is a ratio buster that they can rotate in. Miller looks great, but is undersized for an every down back. Great changeup guy though and looks like he can be a return threat. Hoping he gets some good looks in pre-season. Whether one likes Allen or not, he needs some competition.
The obvious question is does Tino stay or go.
mini camp has put minds at relative ease with DD.
in the secondary there is a ridiculous amount of competition. With rule changes some of the contact heavy backs are going to need to prove quickly they can get the job done without the contact. This is where guys like LeGree and Green might outshine guys like Harris or Jackson. With that many bodies there are going to be some changes, even if one or 2 are slated for more of a LB role.
The other big thing…will the club put a Canadian back to S and move Brack to LB? They need to find a ratio spot somewhere.
It will be interesting to see who gets displaced, and who will land Emry’s backup role at LB.
There is so much action there with some promising looking LBs and DBs that it is hard to even speculate until we see a week of camp.
Hall, I think, is an upgrade at DE, but the Riders lose an Import and a guy who loved his spot with the club and loved the team. He was a leader…that is touch to replace. The big problem with the line, and the D as a whole really, is that the club had built up a couple guys who could solidly backup Foley, and now one is left wondering…do they even have a home any more? Is a designated import spot going to backup Emry, and then have these guys rotate onto the line and swap out a starter if Emry needs to come out? It means there is not going to be regular reps for them, which is unfortunate because it likely means not retaining them long-term. Further, does that mean that Wellman/Gesse never get action other than on ST? The Foley move marked a change in defensive philosophy, especially ratio wise. That could take more than 1 season to iron out, as they had just used recent drafts to build the other philosophy. We could see one of the recent drafts moved to Hamilton.
I tend to think they will be working on a trade of some sorts pre-draft, likely packaging their 1st round pick off. Hamilton makes a lot of sense for this as they are pretty stocked with young Nationals and have what, 8 picks. But what do the Riders actually have that they would want? clearly the Riders have some players in the secondary available, but I tend to think the Cats are basically sitting back laughing as they will just pick up a cut post camp.
Kicking duties…Milo has the goods, but if he comes to camp out of shape again they are not going to keep his salary, plain and simple.