But since we are all desperate to talk football I'll do my best to give you some analysis based on what we know so far.
- Chris Jones has assembled an army of football players down there. Hundreds were invited to an open tryout on Saturday for players of the most recent failed football league. From that 14 or so were invited to the main camp that runs Sunday through Tuesday and features another huge group of players. Of that only a select group will actually make it to main camp. For anyone who has seen the Princess Bride (quality movie), Chris Jones reminds me a lot of a Dread Pirate Roberts quote "Good work. Sleep well. I'll most likely kill you in the morning"... just replace "kill" with "cut"
- Darian Durant is down there and setting the world right again by taking his place under centre for the green and white. So far so good in terms of health and looking ready to go for the season, though the real test will come when the bullets are flying for real.
- There are a ton of other QBs down there (upwards of ten). This might seem like a lot but if you think about it, even though Durant is the unquestioned starter, based on the last 2 season, you would be crazy to go into the season without some reliable depth. Also, though we may love him, Brett Smith is nowhere near the unquestioned #2. Also, he has a lot of growing to do before I'd be willing to consider him the heir apparent. Simply put we need a solid QB competition in camp (not just the Tino Sunseri by default and Seth Doege because he made one decent run in preseason-type competition of days gone by)
- A few CFL vets have surfaced at mini-camp. Most notably QB Dan LeFevour, RB Paris Cotton and RB Chevon Walker. Regular readers will know that I consider Walker insanely overrated so I won't rehash my reservations about him. I do like giving Cotton a shot. He's not far removed from a pretty impressive season and we do need an RB. As for LeFevour, I don't have any specific problems with him. Wish him well given how crappy his last season went but I just don't see him being a big part of our future.
- Local product Aaron Picton got some rave reviews on day 1. Now take that with a grain of salt because lots of people have looked good against the future unemployed and then wilted when faced with actual competition. But it is nice to hear that he is showing some skills. We are desperately thin at Cdn OL but if Picton can step up along with the addition of a first overall pick (who will be an OL) then suddenly things look a lot better. Picton was acquired in a very unheralded trade by Jeremy O'Day then sent Randy "The Decapitator" Richards to Calgary for Picton's rights. On principle alone a non-starting american OL for a Canadian OL is a win. The hope now is that Picton can develop into a rosterable player and turn that win into a steal.
- In stark contrast to our "you must be over 6 feet to play in this offense policy" there is a player at camp who is 5'05... Bill Nyantakyi. He may have only been allowed to attend because he fit in one of the taller receiver's carry on bag.
-I'm a fan of the fact that we had some kickers at mini-camp. I have all the faith in the world in Crapigna (a fact that should probably concern him given my track record) but you may have heard me say once or twice I'm not a Bartel fan. Hoping someone can come in and at least challenge him for the punting duties.
- I'll say this to end: when you look at the huge number of free agent camps we have run and the crazy number of people at our mini-camp you have to appreciate Chris Jones' dedication to literally leaving no stone unturned in his effort to build us a winning team.
CFL Ins and Outs
In: DL Bryant Turner (free agent signing)
Out: WR Austin Collie (retired)
In: LB Manny Rodriguez (free agent signing)