We are one week in to training camp and I think one thing both the players and fans can agree on is that we just want it to be game time. Don't even care if its preseason ball.
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Now that this brief commercial message is over, we return to your regularly scheduled loosely coherent rambling.
While there still is much to be settled in the weeks leading up to the regular season, I will do my best to bring you up to speed on what we know so far. What do we know? That the teams' performance in the Green and White game this weekend made Coach Jones want to throw up. Kinda curious what his comments would have been on our regular performance last season would have been at that rate. Saturday's preseason game will certainly go a long way to separating the top players from those who will join the exceedingly long list of Chris Jones cuts. For today I figured I would highlight one player per position that has been getting a lot of positive attention so far. They are names you might want to start getting familiar with.
Quarterback - BJ Coleman
Not sure if he will be able to unseat Brett Smith for the back-up spot but he will be making this team. He's a good pocket passer with a strong arm and good accuracy. That said I hope the preseason game is the last time I see him throw.
Wide Receiver - Ryan Lankford
Tons (and I mean tons) of love for Roosevelt but we all knew he was good. I wanted to instead focus on a new name. Lankford is not a newcomer per say as he was with us for for of last season (dressing in 1 game). He has been getting a lot of practice reps with the starting unit and has been making enough plays that you can tell he's not relinquishing the spot without a fight.
Running Back - Johnta Hebert
I had a hard time coming up with a name here as I'm convinced Steele (with a smattering of Walter) is going to be our RB. Unlikely Hebert makes the team unless its on the PR but he is an extremely fast player who has broken some big runs in camp. The caution here is that most RBs look good in camp when people can't hit them for real. Preseason is when you really find out about how good the RBs are.
O-Line - Josiah St... Just kidding :). Alex McKay
Our starters will be the same as last year with the exception of Thaddeus Coleman taking over right tackle. So while McKay is fighting for a back-up spot, I highlight him because I hear his name come up a lot. He may be a developmental project but unlike some unnamed other OL draft picks from this season, he is actually in camp and getting some positive attention.
D-Line - Kalonji Kashama
From the famed Kashama family (which has produced many football players) this former RedBlacks draft pick has had an impressive camp so far. We are a team that can use all the Canadian help we can get so Kashama is potentially a very important player in our D-line rotation.
Linebacker - Dillon Grondin
I have repeatedly said that our depth at Canadian LB scares me more than be forced to listen to Rod Black for 24 hours straight. So I am tremendously excited when I hear that some obscure LB from the Windsor Junior program is having a solid camp. He has been mentioned by coaches and media throughout the past week. It would be a huge boost to our Canadian content if he can fill a much needed depth/special team spot.
Linebacker (bonus name) - Marte Sears
He got a lot of hype coming our of mini-camp (but I don't put a ton of faith in that) but he has carried it through to training camp. He's versatile guy (LB, pass rusher, can cover) and he's tall. He's the type of multi-use defender that Chris Jones loves.
Defensive Back - Justin Cox
I swear this is not just because of his name (but seriously can you imagine how much fun I could have with a name like that?). There is an open battle in our secondary (mainly for the last CB spot) and Cox's name has come up on a number of occasions as playing well.
Special Teams - QuDarius Ford
Kendial Lawrence will be our returning so he's in tough but QuDarius Ford has caught a few eyes with his speed and elusiveness. Watch him in preseason because its easy for a returner to look good against his own teammates who aren't hitting for real. Should mention that I assume his older brothers are O'Darius and P'Darius and his younger brother R'Darius.
Can't wait for Saturday to see these guys (and everyone else) in action.