After enduring 184 football-less days, a guilty plea in a sexual harassment case, the loss of 2 all-star defensive ends and our MLB to the NFL, an influx of ex-Bombers, the loss of over half our coaching staff, 2 retirements (one significant one not so much) and endless stadium debate… training camp officially kicks off tomorrow when rookies report.
It will be great to finally see some of the green and white out of the Taylor Field turf… even if the majority of that group is unlikely to ever see any meaningful playing time in green and white. There always seems to be those one or 2 players that you can tell right from rookie camp have the skills to make an impact on this team. In 2008, it was Dressler and Bowman. Last year, it was Chris McKenzie and Joe Sykes. Who it will be this year remains to be seen.
Rookies are in tougher than in past years because we already have a fairly established roster. With a few exceptions, the rookies will have to compete for back-up spots at best (which is a good situation to be in as a team). The exceptions are of course defensive end where it’s a wide open competition and halfback where McKenzie would seem to have inside track but is hardly a lock at this point.
There are a few players that I will be watching closely over the next few days. Defensively its Brian Hawkins, Shomari Williams and the Rider Prophet endorsed Ike Squared. Offensively its QB prospect Todd Reesing, speedy receiver Aaron Waldie and cheap American Fantuz knockoff Aaron Fairooz.
The Riders have to trim their roster to 68 plus exemptions (Canadian rookies/junior players) so the window of opportunity is only slightly bigger than Milt Stegal’s collection of Grey Cup rings.
CFL Ins and Outs
In: LB Byron Bullock, DL Steven Riddick, LB Christian Houle (free agent signing)
In: RB Andrew Hamilton, DB Jonathan Hood, OL Cody Husband (free agent signing)
In: DB Mike Mickens, DB Ronnie Amadi, LB Eryk Anders, RB Matt Henry, OL Oamo Culbreath (free agent signing)
Out: WR Brett Ralph (retired)
In: LB Giancarlo Rapanaro, WR Yembeh Moiba (free agent signing)
In: DB Kurt Thompson, LB Matt Di Paola, DE Patrick Ross, WR Yunell Clayton (free agent signing)