Training Camp Discussion

Thanks for your observations GBonds88 will look forward to seeing your future accounts. :thup:

Got out to the second practice today at McMaster and saw a few things I think are worth reporting:

  • Carlos Thomas worked with the linebackers today.
  • Sam Giguère is even better than advertised. I was very impressed with what I saw out of him. Nice hands, blazing speed and very precise route running. Looks like his time in the NFL was not a waste at all.
  • the Cats are going to have some very tough decisions to make at receiver. They are absolutely loaded. No less than nine guys -- Giguère, Stala, Fantuz, Jeffers-Harris, Kelly, Grant, Williams and newcomers Onrea Jones and Chris Duvalt -- look good enough to start. I don't know how or if they will be able to keep them all, but this is as loaded a group of receivers as I have ever seen.
  • Saw some good stuff out of Tate Forcier. He was far from perfect, but he showed some impressive arm strength on more than a few throws.
  • Hage was in pads today, but sat out once the hogs starteed pounding each other. Looked like Tim O'Neill took all the reps at centre with Hage out.
  • Casey Creehan is loud. I hope there weren't too many children at practice because he sure did let the expletives fly.
  • The new running back, James Berezik, had some nice moves and speed to him. Reminded me a lot of Chad Kackert.

Anyway, that's what I saw this afternoon. I spent most of my time watching the QBs and the receivers, so hopefully someone else went and saw what the RBs and the defense were up to.

I don't think they can keep all these guys. You mentioned that Giguere looks impressive but what is your analysis of the other receivers.

How is TJ Harris doing? What about last years rookie trio of Kelly, Grant and Williams? Do they look even better than last year or will they suffer a sophomore jinx? What about Stala? Is he keeping up with the younger speedsters?

Should be fascinating to see who gets all the starting jobs.

Another receiver who I thought looked impressive was Michael Galatas.

TJ Harris didn't really stand out at all to me.

As of right now, i'm not sure Aaron Kelly makes the team.

Bakari Grant looked very good.

Williams got behind the defense (what else is new) but didn't make a whole lot of catches, seemed like the quarterbacks kept under throwing him.

When we had Darcy Brown on the field, the four receivers were Grant, Williams, Giguere and Fantuz. So Stala's role might be a little diminished this year, but I fully expect him to get lots of playing time on second down to put his hands to use.

To be honest, I spent most of my time focused on Giguère since he was the talk of the morning, so my takes on some of the other guys is not fully formed.

I saw some drops from Harris and Williams, but I also saw some catches from both and some very physical play from Harris. He flattened a DB in one drill. The DB was playing press coverage and Harris just knocked him to the ground. I heard an "oooh" from players on the field.

Stala seemed the same as always. Caught almost everything I saw thrown his way during the day.

I didn't spend enough time watching Grant or Kelly to make an informed opinion. I did see Grant used a lot on reverses, though.

My real excitement came from Chris Duvalt and Onrea Jones. They both looked amazing. They ran good routes, caught pretty much every pass I saw thrown to them and made a few really pretty catches as well. Aside from Giguère, those two were the stars of the day from what I saw.

And you're right, it is going to be fascinating to see who gets the starting spots. I didn't think Giguère would get one right away, but I think it is going to be tough to keep him off the field if he keeps going the way he's going.

And another thing, non-WR related, anyone worried about Burris' arm strength (and I don't hesitate to admit that I was worried about it) shouldn't be. His gun is still very much loaded.

I noticed both those things as well. A lot of the underthrows looked to come from the kid going to Western (Finch?). With him being 17 or 18, I don't think it should come as a surprise that he can't throw it on a rope 40 yards downfield.

Another thing I noticed about the offense that I forgot to mention earlier was that every snap was taken from under centre. I didn't see one shotgun snap. Seeing as how recently 99% of offensive snaps in CFL have been from the shotgun, I thought this was interesting. Perhaps they just decided to work from under centre today and they'll do shotgun later on, it is probably something worth watching.

I was at the afternnon practice on Sunday and here are my comments :

  1. Our new defensive co-ordinator is an incredible motivator yelling behind guys saying you have no idea how good you can be etc..i am very excited about his impact on these guys.

  2. i was watching reciever coach hanging with the receivers and getting along great with them and he is perfect to help them as he had a great career in the cfl and just retired last year from the argos and he has played under cortez / burris offence.

  3. The new ounter from australia Josh Bartel has incredible hang time and can punt far as well ..he played austrailin rules football so he is like have an extra tackler on specialty teams as most kickers barely get in the players way

4 wow i have never seen more talent in our receiving corps:

we will be forced to let good playersgo

giguerre looks like a fast strong hard working player..we know what fantuz and stalla can do
the two incumbant imports would be b.grant and chris willliams the rest will fight for few jobs and they look very good
jeffers harris is tough and gast and runs good routes ..he was the best player on the field today in my eyes...
they will need to find a spot for duwalt and onrea jones and that could be bad news for aron kelly ...
jones must be the fastest man on the team

on the dline
peach looked like a good pass rusher and so did rose and so did mcleween
eddie steele seems pumped and more aggressive

the db's looked good...

thomas, bo smith , dee weeb turrene all looked good

the backup rb devon walker looks food

and it was good to see terry grant hanging around not limping

burris looked incredible..strong accurate arm soft touch always accurate

Creehan yells and screams a lot but he's coaching guys up on every single rep. :thup:

Well you guys have covered all of my reports for day one.. lol

I will add that Andy Fantuz is showing zero effects from that injured ankle he was suffering from last season. Also he is an absolute force in the slot! I can't remember a receiver that has been that dominant with motion and catching the football over the middle. I know everyone that attended witnessed this on that 8-10 yard crossing route he caught and took to the house in the full team scrimmage..

It feels really good to finally have a outstanding group of receivers and hands down the best Canadian receiving corps in the CFL. We are going to be extremely difficult to handle this season.

Stala is still Stala catching anything he wants :lol:

Also I'm really glad some of you made it out to watch day 1, because I can now collaborate with you guys on trying to explain how great Sam Giguere looks out there lol. He is honestly one of those athletes that only come around once in a very long while. Sam has it all folks great hands, super strength, speed to burn, and spot on route running. Sam was also taking the most reps in the one on one drills and was taking most of his reps with Williams, Grant, and Fantuz which is a good sign for him, as the coaches are definitely testing him on becoming a starter. And Giguere has been answering any and every challenge thrown his way so far..

I have never been more excited for a season to start with the receivers we have and once Burris starts to form some chemistry with them look out CFL because if you double just one guy we have 4 others that will gladly make you pay. And if for some god forsaken reason(maybe BC's outrageous secondary) our receivers stumble a bit, we have a fast, and very powerful running back in Martell Mallott to make them pay on the ground.

With the recent signing of Jermaine McElveen, alongside Greg Peach, we now have two solid veteran defensive ends. Which makes me a little less worried about our D-line knowing that both guys (when healthy) can rush the passer with the best of them.

Now my only question is our secondary, don't get me wrong we have a couple great ones back there in corner back Ryan Hinds and safety Milt Collins(hopefully healthy all season). But the rest of our spots are up for grabs in my opinion.

Well I should REALLY get to bed its gonna be a rough day tomorrow if I wan't to make both sessions lol

Have a good one everyone!

Very interesting. Last time we saw it was in Winnipeg with Mike Kelly, and that didn't go too well, but Cortez is a gifted offensive mind who's been an OC in the CFL before, so he's got more credibility doing things outside the box.

here's hoping Terry Grant will be segue back to form and into the lineup at some point later this season, when the 9 game IR tenure expires.

Aparently, the injury was much more severe than I had first surmised.

according to Drew:
"The Hamilton Tiger-Cats running back broke three bones in his leg and foot and suffered a dislocated ankle when he landed awkwardly after an otherwise routine running play in a game against the Montreal Alouettes last October. Replays showed Grant’s twisted foot pointing in the wrong direction, his teammates gesturing frantically for the medical staff."

ouch, ouch and ouch.

There's going to be a log jam at running back if/when Grant comes back. Chevon Walker and Martel Mallett have been impressive so far.

very true jordan.
The luxury of depth is most assuring though... :thup:

Thanks to all for sharing their views with us who can't make the T camp. :thup: :smiley:

I'll start by saying I spent most of my time watching the defense, but I was less impressed with S.G than other posters. I saw him drop as many as he caught at the start of the 2nd session. Jeffers-Harris looked a little shaky out there. Burris looked good. Bakari Grant really makes it look easy. I was impressed with some of the rookies, but I still see Aaron Kelly making the team. Of the receivers, I have to say I was very impressed by McKay. My boyfriend and I couldn't believe some of the catches he was making.

Now on to what I saw from the defense/blocking battles.

As mentioned earlier, Carlos Thomas was working out with the LBs and Markeith was working out with the DBs. I am going to assume that doesn't mean anything important or I will just get mad lol. I have to say I was THRILLED to see Ike Brown back out there. He looked like a beast. His mobility was good and he hits like a tank. Yannick Carter was struggling with some of the drills and it was really great to see JJ take him aside and help him out. Jean-Mary was a pleasant surprise in the one-on-one blocking drill. Rey Williams has seriously trimmed down this off-season. I didn't get much of a look at the DBs, but I do have to say I was impressed with most of what I saw from the D-linemen. I must save I LOVE Creehan's style. His passion shows through and, as jordan said, he coaches on EVERY play. I like to see those little corrections made right at the point of the error. I was most concerned about the D-line, but it really does look like we have some good guys competing out there. (Of course it's only the first day of camp lol)

One thing I have to mention is that the guy who probably impressed me the most was Chevon Walker. That guy is a tenacious litlle bugger. He's smallish at 5'10, but he was taking on Richardson (6'4) in the blocking drills and he was holding his own. He doesn't quit on the play and he's willing to smash someone a lot bigger than him. I like that. Plus he is very fast.

:rockin: :thup: :D :lol: :cowboy: 8)

Prodigious! (extraordinary in size, amount, extent, degree, force, etc.: a prodigious research grant or punt) haha I like the sounds of this guy, even if we only have him for one year! (I'm not sure of the extent of his contract with us)

Thanks for the special teams update there eh! (I'm personally not too interested in the rest of the team :stuck_out_tongue:)

Bartel did look good. He does have a strong leg. Only problem is that he is a little slow getting the punts off.

Hopefully with some athletic ability from his days playing horstralian rules he will resolve this issue!

Thank you to all those who attend practice and then give the rest of us an update.

The Quebecois contingent is quite strong this year and even some of the Imports have French names: Forcier, LeFevour, Boudreaux.

Half the roster and most of the coaching staff from the EDF last year are gone so it may take a few games for this team to fire on all cylinders. Let's remember the Grey Cup Champions got off to a slow start.

How the OLine comes together will of course be the key. If it's strong then everything else should fall into place.

Yesterday I thought Congi had the best punts of the three kickers. Drew Edwards reports that today he had the best average and most hangtime of the three.

If Congi can do all three kicking jobs, that would turn out to be a great signing.