This week marked the first time I have ever been jealous of Bomber fans... I mean not their lack of hygiene, family trees that branch and successful sports team (they can keep those). What I was jealous of was that they had rookie camp and we did not. I'm very football deprived at this point and the thought that other teams have opened camp and we have not is killing me.
Fortunately the wait will be over on Sunday. Sure it will be in Saskatoon but that is better than nothing at this point. I would settle for camp in Uzbekistan with training camp reports being delivered only via Etch-a-Sketch. Be honest, you would too.
Aside from the looming John Chick issue (which I expect will sort itself out by SUnday), the Riders finalized their training camp roster by signing all 7 draft picks, QB Tino Sunseri, DB Johnny Tawalid, OL Kyle Hill and the 2013 Official Rider Prophet endorsement OL Jose Valdez. I realize that traditionally it is a DL prospect whose hopes I ruin with this endorsement but none of the DL recruits spoke to me this year. Valdez did, mainly because he reminds me of the coffee guy and his donkey... that and I'm still not sold on Pat Neufeld so I guess I better cheer for someone.
While I will of course be glued to every shred of info coming out of Saskatoon there will be a few things a will be watching closely:
Healthy Legs - Rob Bagg and Jock Sanders will both be back on the field hoping to mount a comeback from injuries. Having just one of those 2 back would be huge for our offense. If by some miracle they can both stay healthy all year it would be massive.
D-line - Shologan is back, George is liekly back. Beyond that it will be a new group rounding out the 6 man rotation. Foley will be one of them. Many still doubt he's the playmaker he showed in 2009 but I think he will make some believers out of them. Guys like McElveen and possibly Chick are also in the mix for the other spots but don't forget about guys like Mick Williams, David Veikune, Kenny Rowe or even newcomer Will Davis. The position has the biggest unknowns heading into camp.
Back-Ups - In a lot of respect most of our starting spots are locked up so the battler will be for the depth positions. Does Levi Brown wrestle the #2 sport away or does Willy prove to be too much to handle? Who ends up backing-up at offensive tackle? Who back-ups Butler at safety (Newman, McCall, someone else)? We have a ton of Cdn LBs and no longer start one so who out of Tristan Black, Sam Hurl, McCullough, Crawford etc.. survive?
These are just a few worth mention. Bring on some football