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« on: July 10, 2021, 11:12:52 PM »

"It's a good day for the CFL" | TC Day 1 Recap - Ed Tait

Zach Collaros referred to it as an 'energy' - although it wasn't easy for him to explain or quantify it. And Brandon Alexander used the same description, too. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were finally back on the field on Saturday for the first day of 2021 training camp. And, for many, it marked the first time they've been in pads since that fateful day in late November of 2019 when this franchise captured its 11th Grey Cup title.

So, hell yeah, it's hard to put all that pent-up excitement, all that giddiness, that emotion and longing into words.

"That's a good question. That's kind of a deeper question... I think I need Woli (Drew Wolitarsky) sitting next to me to really go into depth about that," began Collaros with a grin after Day 1 of Blue Bombers camp on Saturday.

"It's just kind of a feeling you get when you see Stan and Paddy and Mike walking toward you (Bryant, Neufeld and Couture) and they've kind of got that grin on their faces. Willie (Jefferson) and Biggie (Adam Bighill) are coming out and they're yelling, hollering and bringing that energy. Andrew (Harris) has got that cool, calm and collected look and you look over at him and he's laughing about something.

"It's just a calm energy, but when things get going there are certain guys that are louder," he added. "I don't know, it's hard to put into words. But it's kinda like, 'Finally, we're here.' We've been waiting a long time for this. Some of us have been in places where you haven't even really been allowed to be around other human beings. So, it's nice to just be around other people besides my family."

As camp progresses over the next few days/weeks the Bombers will get more into the grind of training camp. There's plenty of continuity to the 2019 Grey Cup champs, sure, but there are jobs to be won both as starters and for roster spots. Day 1, however, was mostly about conditioning and fitness testing. And the whole morning session certainly had a first-day-of-school-feel to it.

At least, that's the analogy Alexander, the Blue Bombers safety, used to describe the vibe.

"It could equivalent to being excited to going to your first year of college," he said. "You haven't seen a friend or maybe a girlfriend or whoever in years... this is a family. You could feel it from the first day.

"We didn't even get on the field and we were looking at each other?s eyes and it was like, 'Wow, we?re really back here looking at each other.? That?s all that mattered. We didn?t even care about the field at that time; the fact that I could see my brother right next to me and be like, 'Wow, we're here. We're here now!' That was most important. That's how exciting it is. We've got big smiles on our faces. I'm ready to go. I'm just happy to be around the guys again. This is like real family to me. I missed these guys."

Even before the pandemic, long gone were the days of full-padded two-a-day practices where players knocked the snot out of each other. And now with no preseason games, with the health and safety protocols in place and players being away from the game for so long - plus with what happened in Saskatchewan earlier this week when four Roughriders were lost with Achilles injuries - the Bombers will slowly ease into training camp.

"It was different, definitely different," said Collaros. "I can't tell you how many conversations I've had this week, whether it was our first in-person meeting or the first meeting on the field today and we're just doing the conditioning stuff where you kind of look around and it's like 'This is a little different. This feels weird.' But once we started warming up it's kind of like a game - once that first snap hits and you're calling the play, the formation, the snap count, the tempo it is and all that you just get back into that mode with the things you've been doing your entire life and it's like you're picking up where you left off.

"It was really exciting today. I know we're excited to get out there and do a full-speed practice."

All of this doesn't mean players aren't being evaluated at all times, of course, but the whole process will have some defined differences. Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea said the change will allow players to learn their assignments before the pace cranks up into next week and then again as the August 5th opener against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats approaches.

Again, though, Day 1 wasn't solely about evaluation. It was a reunion and a rekindling of a love affair this bunch has with the game and their teammates all wrapped up into one big welcome-back moment. And if that sounds hokey, well, so be it.

"It was excellent. It is hard to describe," said O'Shea. "It's an emotionally filled day, that has finally arrived and they're out there working. And as I always say, they're out there working hard. It's a good day. It's a good day for the CFL."

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/10/good-day-cfl-tc-day-1-recap/
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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2021, 12:47:37 AM »

Darrin Bauming's Day 1 Training Camp report...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxYzk2BNJrY
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« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2021, 03:45:51 AM »

ZC8 looks like he put on some muscle. Very hot day for the first day of TC.
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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2021, 04:34:03 AM »

Quick Hits - Training Camp July 10, 2021
Ed Tait
@EdTaitWFC


5 Quick Hits on the Bombers? first day of training camp:

1. SETTING THE SCENE: The Bombers were on the field and in gear together for the first time this season Saturday morning and, for many of them, the first time since stepping off the field at McMahon Stadium following the win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the 107th Grey Cup waaaaay back on November 24, 2019.

Health protocols meant Day 1 of camp looked infinitely different than in previous years - all the coaches and staff are wearing masks - and the club concentrated early in the session on gauging the fitness levels with conditioning drills. There were some offensive and defensive drills, but no O vs. D.
With no preseason games and padded practises limited to just once per week - even before the pandemic introduced us to 'social distancing' - this will be a fascinating study as the team readies for the regular-season opener on August 5th against the Ticats at IG Field.

2. CAMP NUMBERS: There are 100 players in camp, including some members of the draft classes from the 2020 and 2021 CFL Draft in DB Noah Hallett, WR Brendan O'Leary-Orange, K Marc Liegghio and linebacker Tanner Cadwallader from 2020 and DB Redha Kramdi, LB Robbie Lowes, RB Kyle Borsa  from this year?s class. Three players from this year's Global Draft in linebacker Les Maruo and offensive lineman Tomoya Machino, both from Japan and linebacker Ayo Oyeola of the United Kingdom.

The numbers, by position:
QB: 4
RB: 4
FB: 1
Rec: 21
OL: 14
DL: 15
LB: 12
DB: 27
K: 1
LS: 1

3. STANDING OUT: It?s impossible to draw any conclusions on opening day, but WR Carlton Agudosi jumps out as a big target at 6-6. He was also one of the players we pointed out earlier this week in our 10 Newcomers to watch piece: https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/08/10-newcomers-watch/... Jhavonte Dean took some turns at cornerback in what will be a revamped secondary along with Josh Johnson at halfback. The Bombers do have one side of their secondary to replace with Winston Rose in Cincinnati and Marcus Sayles in B.C... One word to describe WR Cam Meredith after watching the former NFLer - 'smooth.'

4. Just as a clarification, the Bombers moved nine players to the suspended list on Friday - essentially they chose not to come to camp for a variety of reasons. That group includes: DL Connor Griffiths, DB Dexter McDougle, LB Mason Moe, WR MeKale McKay, RB James Williams, RB Josh Caldwell, DE Vontarrius Dora, DB Marwin Evans, WR Malcolm Lewis.

5. FYI: Due to health and safety protocols training camp is unfortunately closed to the public.
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« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2021, 07:49:22 PM »

Unfortunate to see DL, Nat., Connor Griffiths on the suspended list  ...... believe fans were interested in seeing him compete for a backup role
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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2021, 08:29:35 PM »

Unfortunate to see DL, Nat., Connor Griffiths on the suspended list  ...... believe fans were interested in seeing him compete for a backup role

Bombers media has said he intends to move on from football.
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« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2021, 08:34:27 PM »

really  appreciate the TC updates, esp. since we cannot be there in person to check it out.
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« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2021, 10:38:05 PM »

The veteran presence, outstanding coaching staff, continuity from top to bottom in the organization puts us in a sweet spot.  I expect big things.  This team looks awesome on paper.  That all said we could tank and In wouldn't care.  Cfl is so great win, loss or draw.
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« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2021, 10:45:27 PM »

Day 2

"I know I've got some pretty big shoes to fill" Liegghio ready to fill in for Medlock


There are potentially worse nicknames, we suppose, for a kicker. 'Shanks' comes to mind. Or 'Whiff', 'Wide Right/Left' or the football/soccer combo 'Lionel Missy.'

So 'Legs' - the nickname new Winnipeg Blue Bombers kicker Marc Liegghio has owned for years - absolutely fits for all the right reasons. There's the obvious play on and abbreviation on his last name and, most importantly, for the powerful whomp the Woodbridge, Ont. product packs in his right leg.

"My friend's buddy, when he first met me to come play football, he right away called me 'Legs'," Liegghio explained in a media Zoom call following Day 2 of Blue Bombers training camp. "So, that?s been my nickname for most of the time until now. I've been going with 'Legs' and I say, 'My first name's Marc, last name is Liegghio. But, hey, you can just call me 'Legs.'"

Liegghio is one of the biggest storylines as the Bombers opened training camp this weekend because he is replacing one of the Canadian Football League?s all-time greats in Justin Medlock. As stated previously, the initial plan for the Bombers after they selected Liegghio out of Western University last year - interestingly, with one of the components of the Zach Collaros trade with the Toronto Argonauts - was to have him working alongside Justin Medlock in 2020, with the veteran serving as a kicking sensei of sorts.

"I wish I would have got the chance to work with him because I've watched him play many years and I know he's going to be one of the all-time greats; definitely going to be a hall of famer," Liegghio said. "I'm just going to come in and provide what I can for the team. I know I've got some pretty big shoes to fill - that's basically been the word on me coming here. I'm going to do my best to do what Medlock did for the team and, hopefully, even better."

But with the plug pulled on 2020 and with it the idea of working with Medlock, Liegghio instead spent his time working on his craft with other CFL kickers in southern Ontario and kicking on his own. He also had countless sessions working with his personal trainer and a job at GoodLife Fitness before the gyms shut down. All of which explains the bare-arms/gun show thing happening when Liegghio took off his gear and sat down for his media availability on Sunday.

"I try and make it look like I can match the team," said Liegghio, cracking a smile. "I know kickers have the (reputation) of not being very big guys. I know when I walked in here no one could really tell what position I was playing at first. I take that as a compliment.

"You put the hard work in on the field and the hard work in at the gym just to make you look like a full-on football player. You are a kicker and a punter, but in the end you are a football player and let's say it comes down to making that tackle - I want to be sure I can fit in with those guys and be able to do that for them."

The Bombers drafted Liegghio last year after he led U Sports punters with a 47.5-yard average - setting a new OUA record. He also finished his days with the Mustangs with a 92 percent field goal percentage. They also backed up their faith in him after the Medlock retirement by opting NOT to bring in another challenger to camp. Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea reinforced that late last month when he said the club wasn't asking him to be Justin Medlock, but just be himself.

"I love that he said that, because going into a pro environment, if you can come in and try and match what Medlock did it's not really possible," said Liegghio. "You've got to build up to that. I just think with my confidence I can reach that goal."

There's a quiet confidence and straight-forwardness to Liegghio that, frankly, sounds a bit like his predecessor. Now the key is to look like his predecessor on game day.

"I always want to be better than who I?m playing or who I know I'm up against," said Liegghio. "That's how I?ve always been. I know my last year in university I was second team and first team (all-star) and won some awards... Obviously, the awards are great but I wanted to make sure I was on top of every stat line and make sure I was the guy that everyone wanted to see play. I think I'm going to bring that same mentality to the pro environment.

?I know there?' a lot more pressure out there like full stadiums and that kind of stuff, but that's just noise at that point and then when the ball is snapped I'm just there to do my job and get the three points or punt the ball where I need to."

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/11/know-ive-got-pretty-big-shoes-fill-liegghio-ready-fill-medlock/
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« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2021, 01:52:01 AM »

Day 2

Quick Hits - Training Camo July 11, 2021


5 Quick Hits on Day 2 of Blue Bombers training camp:

1. WANTED: A FEW GOOD MEN: The main positional battle/storyline through training camp will be the fight for the two vacant starting jobs in the secondary after CFL All-Star Winston Rose took his act to the Cincinnati Bengals and Marcus Sayles to the B.C. Lions.

The Bombers have brought in veteran Josh Johnson, who has 64 games of CFL experience over five seasons with B.C., Ottawa, Hamilton and Edmonton and - as much as it's dangerous to read too much into this at the start of camp - he has been getting work at halfback with the returning starters. With Mike Jones and Nick Taylor on one side of the secondary, Brandon Alexander at the other and Mercy Maston as the dime back, the Bombers do have returnees in the secondary - although that crew really didn't start working together until the 2019 regular-season finale.

Getting looks at the other cornerback spot on the weekend were Jhavonte Dean, who did spend time on the Saskatchewan Roughriders practice roster at the end of 2019 and was then drafted by the Seattle Dragons of the XFL. He was originally signed by the Cleveland Browns after his college days at Miami, and also had a look from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Don't expect the starting lineup to be set in cement as soon as camp closes - remember in 2019 Taylor and Maston were added mid-season, Alexander wasn't moved to safety until the fall and Jones wasn't a starter. So, change is inevitable.

"I do believe there will be two new guys, guys that weren't Bombers last year, playing in those spots," said head coach Mike O'Shea after practice on Day 1. "Where they play, we're not sure. We're hoping we find four or five or whatever it is that can step in there and play those spots. Even though it is a shortened season it is a long go in terms of professional football.

"We know what we need to find and we want as much competition for those spots as possible."

2. CAMP NUMBERS: There are now 99 players in camp, after Sunday?s release of DL Anree Saint-Amour.

The numbers, by position:
QB: 4
RB: 4
FB: 1
Rec: 21
OL: 14
DL: 14
LB: 12
DB: 27
K: 1
LS: 1

3. STANDING OUT: A good chunk of the first part of Sunday morning's session was spent on special teams, especially on kick cover. Popping off the page were Bombers draft picks DL Nick Dheilly, LB Robbie Lowes, DB Noah Hallett along with RBs Kyle Borsa and Brady Oliveira... Catching eyes among new receivers were WRs Blake Jackson and Carlton Agudosi... Noticeable with interceptions on D were Willie Jefferson, Adam Bighill, Josh Johnson and Prince Robinson.

4. FAMILIARITY BREEDS... CONTENTMENT: The Bomber QBs - starter Zach Collaros, No. 2 man Sean McGuire and newcomers Dalton Sneed of the University of Montana and Dru Brown of Oklahoma State - were out running and warming up a good half hour before the start of Sunday's session.

Collaros spoke after practice on Saturday about the benefits of having a full training camp for him this season.

"It's going to be huge for me," he said. "When I got here a year and a half ago really, I just had to memorize a game plan. It wasn't Day 1, why do we run this play, why do we run this formation or this motion... it was just, 'Hey this is what we're doing, this is what Calgary, this is what Saskatchewan does and this is why we're doing it.' Now this, in my opinion, is a lot easier in starting from Day 1. I'm treating it like I'm a rookie or completely new to the team.

"There's been a couple 'light-bulb' moments throughout the offseason and into these first 14 meetings that we've had here and even today on the field where it's a light-bulb moment and it?s 'Oh, OK... that makes sense now why we call it that.' So, for me it's starting from scratch."

5. FYI: Due to health and safety protocols training camp is unfortunately closed to the public.
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« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2021, 02:08:29 AM »

Darrin Bauming's Day 2 Camp Report...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bL89lyaZnRk
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« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2021, 01:45:24 PM »

This year's TC reminds me of the old days before the internet. No fans to give their impressions online. You have to wait until the end of the day to get the media's view of what's going on. The big difference is that I don't have to wait for the evening paper. Welcome to the past younguns.  Grin
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« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2021, 03:31:44 PM »

Day 3

Ed Tait
@EdTaitWFC
12m
Andrew Harris left @Wpg_BlueBombers practice earlier today and has not returned. Both Brady Oliveira and Kyle Borsa getting a lot of work, especially with Johnny Augustine also nursing something.


@DarrinBauming
Warmup, then run, then stretch.
Rinse.
Repeat.
Day 3 of #Bombers training camp is more fitness and conditioning with heightened concern of player health/fitness. Mike O'Shea says this will continue through Tuesday, and then we can expect practices to return to more normalcy.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2021, 03:35:06 PM by ModAdmin » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2021, 04:01:23 PM »

Day 3

Ed Tait
@EdTaitWFC
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Andrew Harris left @Wpg_BlueBombers practice earlier today and has not returned. Both Brady Oliveira and Kyle Borsa getting a lot of work, especially with Johnny Augustine also nursing something.


@DarrinBauming
Warmup, then run, then stretch.
Rinse.
Repeat.
Day 3 of #Bombers training camp is more fitness and conditioning with heightened concern of player health/fitness. Mike O'Shea says this will continue through Tuesday, and then we can expect practices to return to more normalcy.

Yikes...hope Andrew not returning is precautionary.
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« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2021, 04:17:16 PM »

Day 3

Quick Hits | TC July 12, 2021
- Ed Tait

5 Quick Hits on Day 3 of Blue Bombers training camp:

1. OUCH UPDATE: Bombers all-star RB Andrew Harris left practice early in the session and did not return. No word yet on his status. But with Johnny Augustine also on the mend with an undisclosed injury - he is at practice, just not participating - both Brady Oliveira and Kyle Borsa got a ton of reps with the offence on Monday.

We will update with more info as it is available.

2. CAMP NUMBERS:
There are 99 players in camp.

The numbers, by position:
QB: 4
RB: 4
FB: 1
Rec: 21
OL: 14
DL: 14
LB: 12
DB: 27
K: 1
LS: 1

3. FURTHER TO THE ABOVE: The Bombers expect to have around 70 players remain after the team is selected, that includes the 10-man practice squad and the new five-man taxi squad teams can carry because of the impact of the pandemic.

4.  MR. McGUIRE: Bombers second-year QB Sean McGuire spent time during the last year helping coach at his alma mater, Western Illinois. That approach has continued into his second camp with the Bombers, and speaks of his overall comfort level.

"Being in my second year it's fun to be able to coach up a receiver on something that's new for them and help out and get us to where we are and help us win football games," he said. "It feels a lot different than 2019... like, not even knowing where the dorms were in 2019 and getting lost walking back compared to now. It's just nice to have a basis of knowledge and, again, just teaching others and teaching new guys helps me learn as well and I've really enjoyed getting to know these guys and help them come along. We have a smart group and they take to it quick."

5. FYI: Due to health and safety protocols training camp is unfortunately closed to the public? Practice was considerably cooler on Monday with a heavy downpour arriving near the end of the session... Global LB Ayo Oyelola has made a favourable first impression with his speed and overall athleticism.
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« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2021, 05:31:56 PM »

Update:

Ed Tait
@EdTaitWFC
1h
Mike O'Shea, @Wpg_BlueBombers head coach, said this of Andrew Harris leaving practice early today and not returning:
"He had an appointment he had to get to." No other update
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« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2021, 11:10:41 PM »

Day 3

"There's so much love in the atmosphere" | Jefferson feeling the love - Ed Tait

Willie Jefferson snatched a pair of sunglasses from a nearby desk and settled them onto his face before plopping down in a chair for his Winnipeg Blue Bombers Zoom call. Within seconds, that trademark size-large smile of his was dominating his face.

"It's too bright out here in Winnipeg," began the Bombers defensive end Monday afternoon. "There's so much love in the atmosphere, man. So much love."

Those on the Zoom call all laughed, giggled or grinned in response - or a combination of all three - but Jefferson's playfulness represents part of what has made the first three days of Bombers training camp such an intriguing study.

There's been a comfort in the return to routine for the Bombers and it's obvious just how much the veterans are helping set the overall tone with this club. That's not new or unexpected, but with the Canadian Football League having shut down for a year and returning for an unprecedented training camp featuring unprecedented health and safety protocols, having vets guide the ship through it all with a smile and 'let's just get through this' approach can be massive in setting a collective mood.

That's where guys like Jefferson, with his radiating personality, play such a vital role. Or Adam Bighill with his work ethic, Andrew Harris with his perseverance, Brandon Alexander with his communication skills, and the men on the offensive line with their camaraderie.

Again, that won?t be unique to the Bombers across the CFL, but there's also an underlying confidence/bravado with this team that has only grown since that memorable run in November of 2019. And it's palpable already in training camp.

"It's very special being back with the guys after pretty much a year and a half with no football, getting back to running organizational ball and not doing drills or weightlifting," said Jefferson. "Just to get back to meetings, football, field work, drill work and just seeing the offence on the other side of the field running plays with the DBs and the linebackers and stuff... it's starting to get real again."

Part of this, of course, comes from a storyline that will carry right into the start of the season on August 5th? continuity is always important in sports, but having this much on a championship squad even after a lost season due the pandemic has this bunch becoming more and more excited with every day of camp.

"There's a lot of chemistry. It's good, man," said Jefferson. "It's a good feeling to know we don't have to figure out as much about a player that you're playing with because you have him back and you have that chemistry, the communication that we have, the lingo not changing it's going to make the defence, the offence and the special teams move a lot faster."

It's what Harris referred to after Day 1 when he spoke about how in-sync the offence was with the installation of plays, calling it 'the best I've ever seen in my long career.' And it's veterans like Stanley Bryant and Kenny Lawler speaking Monday about how much they want to help out the new faces.

"Man, I look at some of these young guys and I see me in them," said Lawler. "I see people not knowing how to hit the 'Waggle', I see people messing up the plays, messing up with just little things.

"I was the guy asking questions and trying to learn and I see that within them. So, now that I know a lot of the offence - I'm not going to say I know it all, there's some things I do mess up on - but I know the majority of the offence and it's just my turn to help lead. It's my turn to help bring these guys along because I'd hate it if bad vets didn't help me. I want to be that veteran guy that's helping the younger guys."

Again, that kind of selflessness isn't necessarily unique, but it can be contagious - just as Jefferson's effervescence can be, as well. Asked what has stood out through the first three days of camp, Jefferson offered up an answer that was comprehensive and chuckle-worthy. It also offered a very bright forecast worthy of shades, given all the love in the atmosphere.

"We've brought in a lot of good athletes offence and defensive-wise," he said. "Got some nice able-bodies on the defensive line, linebacker corps. There's some nice speed guys in back end, in the DB room. Some big bodies on offence receiver-wise. Some nice speedy guys at running back. Brady (Oliveira) coming back and seeing him... he's got a lot beefier and looks like he's moving a lot better coming off the injury.

"Andrew's looking a lot smoother just running-wise. Zach (Collaros) is looking a lot cleaner than he did from (2019) season... body-wise he's toned up, hair long, he's got the summer curls out. Everybody's looking good. From the defensive line, linebackers, DBs, offensive linemen, running backs, quarterbacks, wide receivers everybody's looking top shape. Everybody's looking good, feeling good, running good.

"I'm happy, especially coming back with everybody from (2019). Everybody's happy, nobody's complaining, everybody's running around, everybody's early to the field wanting to get out there and get some drills and stuff in before we get to moving around as a team.

"All in all I'm very happy. Very excited for the season."

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/12/theres-much-love-atmosphere-jefferson-feeling-love/
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« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2021, 11:26:13 PM »

Darrin Bauming's Day 3 Camp Report...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjRXQjtXfuc
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« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2021, 12:23:51 AM »

I luv you guys!
I luv the people who respond on this forum.
I luv the moderators.
I luv the next guy who is going to complain about this post.

Reading these reports on how much the. Fellas love each other is so luving. Do they have ...I can't say that.

Oh, and by the way...
Can anyone direct me to the Blue Bomber football team forum?

*** is this continual talk of luving everyone. Is this the late. 60's in San Francisco?  Where is Mama Cass? How about Donovan? Are they giving out flowers?

Enough of this love talk. Quit the B.S.  This is football? it ain't speed dating.

I want to hear about someone competing.  Guys are playing for their jobs? And a pay Check?

Who is the best back- up QB after three days?
Are any of the American Linemen standing out?
Which two DBS. Look like the replacements?
Can the new kicker bang them through?

Is there any receiver that can catch the ball with their hands.
Name the two best newbie DBS.

When are they going. To practice in the stadium?
When Can I bring my all,vaccinated card and come in and watch?

Can someone talk about some competition out there? Not the Ultimate frisbee team?
Come on !

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« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2021, 12:54:29 AM »

They are easing into things for the first few days of camps. Mostly jogging, stretching and walking through drills. Weds will be the first real day of drills.

The Soccer League is currently using the stadium until at least July 24th.
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« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2021, 03:25:52 AM »

Players have not been together in a year and a half.  They are back playing a game they love. The first few days are focusing on exercises and conditioning.  This is a group that went to battle the last time they played and won the Grey Cup.  Most of that same team is back together again.

It shouldn't be rocket science to understand they became a close knit group and are now looking forward to repeating the '19 performance.

It's not a love-fest.  It's appreciation for the game, their team mates and a chance to play again when - six months ago - no one knew if the CFL would play again.

Let them enjoy the reunion for a few days.  We don't need a repeat of the 2021 Roughrider fiasco.  Serious practice is coming and the season is just about 3 weeks away.

We love you to DM83!
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« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2021, 10:52:36 AM »

The first few days are focusing on exercises and conditioning. 

Absolutely. This is a veteran team just needing to get to opening day healthy.

The first couple games is where we need to fine tune, adjust a few players only if necessary. Short season means winning 7 is likely a playoff spot.  I believe we were 7 - 2 through 9 games in 2019. That was with Nichols at QB.
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« Reply #22 on: July 13, 2021, 11:07:46 AM »

Oh, OK!
And I love you too!

Anyone else? Lol!

Isn this great?  Jim Spavital!..
Remember his one acronym?  I am sure. He didn't originate it......but it left an impression on this pre-teen.  Not so much the team, as they lost a lot. Lol!

How would the loving Jefferson and Jeffcoat( thank you Mr. McManus that they play for us..... anymore Jeffs on the team.?)  Would they get along with ole Jimmy?what was that acronym, old timers?

You say today is the first competitive day?  Excellentl
Does that mean the All-star Eddy and the young guy will do some analytical reporting?

Who are the first two new DBS starting today?That usually means they have the inside Track?

Hey Mods, are u going to present a weekly or daily shedule.?  Us retired guys need somewhere to go, besides. Mall walking! Lol!

Got to see if these new QBs are contenders or pretenders.  Who will we bring in to be The next starter?
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« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2021, 01:14:18 PM »


Hey Mods, are u going to present a weekly or daily shedule.?  Us retired guys need somewhere to go, besides. Mall walking! Lol!

Got to see if these new QBs are contenders or pretenders.  Who will we bring in to be The next starter?

As has been said previously, all practices are closed to the general public until further notice.
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« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2021, 04:48:57 PM »

Bob Irving @BobIrvingCJOB - Andrew Harris a spectator at camp Tuesday.

And the Bombers sign a RB today...hmmmmm

Devonte Williams signed today
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« Reply #25 on: July 13, 2021, 04:51:13 PM »

MOS says  Andrew Harris likely won't do much for a couple of weeks, coach Mike O'Shea just said. Being careful
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« Reply #26 on: July 13, 2021, 04:52:52 PM »

And the Bombers sign a RB today...hmmmmm

Devonte Williams signed today

Just need another RB for reps. He's an import so he's closer to TCF than making the AR. Harris doesn't need a lot of reps. He can condition slowly and let the other Canadians get more experience.

Curious that O'Shea suggested he'd be keeping about 70 players.

AR is 44
Expanded PR is 15

That's only 59 in total. I wouldn't expect 11 players on the 1 or 6 game IR to start the season.  maybe 3 or 4?

How did he envision 70?
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« Reply #27 on: July 13, 2021, 04:56:25 PM »

Day 4

Quick Hits | TC July 13, 2021 - Ed Tait



5 Quick Hits on Day 4 of Blue Bombers training camp:

1. NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS?: Bombers all-star RB Andrew Harris was back at practice today, but did not participate in any drills. Harris left practice early on Monday and did not return and afterward Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea said only: "He had an appointment he had to get to." We'll update this if there is any new information after the coach's media session later today.

With Johnny Augustine also nursing an injury, that meant both Brady Oliveira and Kyle Borsa continued to get a ton of reps at running back with the offence. Also not practising on Tuesday was C Michael Couture and LB Jesse Briggs. With Couture taking a day, Tui Eli was taking most of the snaps with the starting OL.

2. SPECIAL ATTENTION: A good portion of the early part of practice was again focussed on special teams. Even before the session the specialists were out on the field working on their craft.

Of note: Mike Benson is locked in as the long-snapper, but veteran linebacker Shayne Gauthier was also working on that skill. QB Sean McGuire was the holder for the latter part of 2019, but also taking reps as holders were WR/KR Charles Nelson and  QB Dalton Sneed.

Also, prior to practice a number of players were catching punts launched by the Jugs machine, led by incumbent returner Janarion Grant and also including Blake Jackson, Kelvin McKnight, Montay Crockett, Davon Grayson and Quadree Henderson - all receivers - RB Kyle Borsa and DBs Clifton Duck, Christian Angulo and Demerio Houston.

3. FURTHER TO THE ABOVE:
Lots of fans have been asking about how kicker Marc Liegghio looks. 'Legs' met with the media on Sunday - that story is here - and continues to crank up his work rate this week. He worked extensively on punting, particularly positional punting, on Monday and, while working with the long-snappers and holders early on Tuesday, was consistently and easily hitting 40-yard field goals with plenty of room to spare.

4. WELCOME ABOARD: The Bombers have one guest coach in training camp - Andy Williams from the St. Paul's Crusaders.

5. FYI: The Bombers have working on slowly building the pace of camp through the first four days to help avoid injuries and allow the newcomers to get up to speed with no rookie camp this year. That should change on Wednesday when more one-on-one sessions are planned... Fans continue to ask so we'll continue remind everyone that due to health and safety protocols, training camp sessions are closed to the public.
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« Reply #28 on: July 13, 2021, 05:16:13 PM »

And the Bombers sign a RB today...hmmmmm

Devonte Williams signed today

They needed to as the 2 American RBs they had previously signed didn't make it to camp.
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« Reply #29 on: July 13, 2021, 06:15:38 PM »

Just need another RB for reps. He's an import so he's closer to TCF than making the AR. Harris doesn't need a lot of reps. He can condition slowly and let the other Canadians get more experience.

Curious that O'Shea suggested he'd be keeping about 70 players.

AR is 44
Expanded PR is 15

That's only 59 in total. I wouldn't expect 11 players on the 1 or 6 game IR to start the season.  maybe 3 or 4?

How did he envision 70?

Is the new 5 man taxi squad just adding 5 more to the PR, or will they be activated if needed at short notice?
More importantly, are these 5 protected from being poached by another team? 
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« Reply #30 on: July 13, 2021, 06:22:19 PM »

Is the new 5 man taxi squad just adding 5 more to the PR, or will they be activated if needed at short notice?
More importantly, are these 5 protected from being poached by another team? 

Not really sure about that. I think the extra 5 are possible if border restrictions stay in place. If those go away by the end of the month then those extra 5 may not be added?

In any case there is a marginal protection for PR players. They can leave anytime they want in theory but teams have an option to activate them against poachers.

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« Reply #31 on: July 15, 2021, 12:08:41 AM »

Darrin Bauming's Day 5 Training Camp Report...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChwuXJ10hIQ
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« Reply #32 on: July 15, 2021, 03:59:09 AM »

"I'm itching to get back on the field" | Oliveira preparing for year 2

A snapshot from Day 5 of Winnipeg Blue Bombers camp...

The Bombers are practising their 'inside-run' period and running back Brady Oliveira - capitalizing on the extra workload with Andrew Harris in the role of spectator for the next few weeks - crashes into a wall of humanity. Keeping his feet churning and the ball covered up, the Winnipeg product bursts through into open daylight.

Harris, watching from a few feet away, immediately bellows out 'Atta boy, Brady! Keep grinding!'

Opportunity can present itself at different times for players in sports. It can swing open a door permanently for a long career or it can be slammed shut after a moment. And for Oliveira - also an Oak Park High School product like Harris who then later starred at the University of North Dakota - the door is now open to make an impression and prove some things both to himself and to the franchise that selected him in the second round, 14th overall, of the 2019 CFL Draft.

It's not just that Harris is taking the next chunk of training camp off, it?s that Oliveira missed a great deal of 2019 after fracturing his ankle in the home opener that year before returning to the practice field in the fall. We told the story in June of how he used 2020 to find a peace with himself, and what is unfolding now in training camp with the extra work provides him the chance to work on the physical part of his game.

"I need it. It's good," he said. "I'm still a new guy here, a young guy, and practice is what makes you great. By getting all these practice reps, seeing all these different looks, being able to run with the ones (starting offence) and talk to the O-linemen and then taking me under their wing and explaining the full concept... for me, this is perfect. This is exactly what I need right now to get me prepared for whenever my name is called during the season so I can go in there and give it my all."

Oliveira and Harris have a long-standing friendship that dates back to the days when they would find themselves working out at the same gym. Oliveira - 10 years younger than the future hall of famer - recalls Harris, then with B.C., telling him that one day he would come along and fill his shoes.

"So, for me being young in my career there's no better place for me than me being in Winnipeg and having such a great running back to learn from," Oliveira said. "When I came here after being drafted by the club it was awesome already knowing familiar faces. But Andrew... people always make jokes in the locker room that we're cousins, or 'Little Drew' they call me.

"It's great to have him. I know Coach Pete (Costanza) has been an amazing running back coach, but also having Andrew and having such a talented running back... one thing I'll say about Andrew is I've never come across a guy that is so knowledgeable IQ-wise in football. It is crazy and just being able to pick his brain and ask him 'Why are we doing this?', he just has been such a great help to me. That's truly going to elevate my football game and my football IQ.?

The Bombers have three running backs getting regular work in camp with Harris and his 2019 understudy, Johnny Augustine, both on the mend. In addition to Oliveira there is 2021 draft pick Kyle Borsa and new import Devonte Williams. Head coach Mike O'Shea said the extra work will benefit Oliveira, but they are also studying how he handles the aspects of the position other than lugging the ball, like pass protection.

"I'm sure he expects to play and start in the CFL," O?Shea said. "He expects himself to be a pro football player. He's in his second year... I know he didn't see a lot of action in 2019 due to injury, but he's still involved and he understands the playbook. So, his second year with the playbook and the time to digest it in his second camp, things probably go a lot more smoothly for him. I know he's feeling very, very well physically. It should be fun to watch.

"We liked him. We drafted him. We expect him to be able to play."

And slotback Nic Demski - another Winnipegger and another Oak Park product - trained with Oliveira in the offseason and said his hunger is 'through the roof.'

"I'm itching, man," Oliveira said when told of Demski's comments. "I'm itching to get back on the field. I want to just go out there and I want to run through someone. I want to do my job and execute and make big plays and celebrate with my teammates."

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/14/im-itching-get-back-field-oliveira-preparing-year-2/
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« Reply #33 on: July 15, 2021, 05:37:57 PM »

Anybody hearing any reports about new DB's and which are at the top of the hypothetical current depth chart.

Josh Johnson was getting some good PR from teammates. He should be expected to have a big edge on making the game day roster. Less clear is whether he starts at CB or inside DB.

If rookies beat him out of a roster spot that would be impressive.

Heard some positive stuff about Dean and Nichols but not much about any of the other rookies.

17 or 18 rookies looking for roles.
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« Reply #34 on: July 15, 2021, 05:58:31 PM »

Hmmmm. One last point about the 1 division idea. Playoff games generate revenue to the hosting teams. In a single division that could take that away from the top 2 eastern teams. IIRC in 2017 that would have been the case.

Many teams are struggling to turn a profit but that's true in both the east and west.

Players in the division finals earn more playoff money. In theory an eastern team with a 1st place division ( currently ) would get that money. In a single division they might not reach the final.

I'm not sure that is good or fair but I can see an argument made for each opinion.

Does it impact free agency choices as players look for their better chance of reaching a play off and division final money. Does that create an unfair advantage for west teams?

OTOH it might force eastern teams to figure out how to become more competitive even though they have the same SMS? That's the real question.

Lots to think about.



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« Reply #35 on: July 15, 2021, 07:42:56 PM »

Injury discussions have been moved to the following thread...

http://forums.bluebombers.com/index.php?topic=53259.0

Let's try to keep this thread focused on training camp reports that are produced daily.  Thanks.
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« Reply #36 on: July 15, 2021, 08:02:53 PM »

Day 6

Quick Hits | TC July 15, 2021 -Ed Tait



5 Quick Hits on Day 6 of Blue Bombers training camp:

1. QB WATCH: It?s hardly a newsflash that Zach Collaros and Sean McGuire are 1-2 on the Blue Bombers QB depth chart. That means that a lot of eyes have been on the two new pivots in camp in Dru Brown and Dalton Sneed, both of whom spoke to the media after practice on Thursday.

Both players spoke touched on the speed of the game and adapting to the 'Waggle' - the ability for receivers to be in motion before the snap - while soaking up as much info as possible from Collaros, McGuire and offensive coordinator Buck Pierce.

They also spoke of the culture with the Bombers.

"It's amazing. Everyone is so welcoming," said Sneed, who spent his last two years at the University of Montana. "The biggest thing is the vets... they're extending hands out to everybody - to rookies, to guys on their second year still trying to learn. Zach, I'm closest to him as a quarterback, and he's always trying to help Dru and I and Sean. If we ever have a question we go to him and he's the first one to explain and break it down for us."That goes for every veteran. I mean, I see if everywhere I look. Guys, if I pass them and we haven't met, we meet each other. That's the environment we have. Everyone wants to have a personal relationship and really build the team. The camaraderie is unbelievable here in Winnipeg... you wonder why Winnipeg has had so much success, it's because they're a team. They?re truly a team on and off the field."

Brown, who transferred from Hawaii to Oklahoma State, also raved about what he has seen here with the Bombers.

"I can't speak enough about how helpful Sean and Zach have been with helping me and Dalton grasp everything as a whole and always being open with us asking questions," he said. "I mean, I ask Zach a ton of questions all the time. First, the fact that they don't get annoyed with me is beyond me. But I'm really appreciative of them, for sure."

2. GLOBAL REPORT
: DE Thiadric Hansen's improvement from his first training camp in 2019 until now has been, frankly, phenomenal. He does everything at full speed and had a monster day on Thursday, especially on the inside-run period.

Here's O'Shea on the five global players in camp:

Hansen (Germany): "He was on the field and had a very large impact throughout the (2019) season and especially  in the playoffs - not just the big hit in the Grey Cup. He had a couple outstanding plays against Saskatchewan, too."

DB Sergio Schiaffino-Perez (Mexico): "He?s got a high-level football IQ and if he got his chance we would love to get him on the field and get him on special teams. He's fearless."

LB Les Maruo (Japan): "He's played top-notch football down in the states, so he's quite accustomed to his game and there's not a lot of flaws in that. This is his first pro camp and he's running around, so there's a bit of growth in terms of that... he's excited, he caused a fumble yesterday. He flies around, he's certainly very likeable."

OL Tomoya Machino (Japan): "His feet are unbelievable. As an athlete he?s extremely quick. Yesterday I saw him get edged out on a one-on-one and he recovered so quickly, it was fantastic to see. It's just going to take him a little bit of time to get adjusted to the speed and strength. But as far as what Marty (Costello, offensive line coach) has to work with, he's an exceptional athlete."

LB Ayo Oyelola (UK): "A terrific athlete, he's younger in the game than a guy like Les. He's got to develop his instincts a little bit and that just comes with a little bit more experience."

3. FYI/RANDOM OBSERVATIONS: Not practising Thursday were: RBs Andrew Harris and Johnny Augustine, OL Michael Couture, DE Jackson Jeffcoat, WR Cam Meredith and LB Robbie Lowes. O'Shea said Jeffcoat will get a rest 'every so often.'... Among the many stand-out TD catches on Thursday were ArDarius Stewart and Alonzo Russel, Sr. from Brown, Rasheed Bailey, Nick Demski and Kenny Lawler from Collaros. Also standing out were WR Blake Jackson, DB Mercy Maston, DE Willie Jefferson and LB Adam Bighill with an interception... O'Shea was asked again about no preseason games and how that impacts, in particular, the QBs. "This is the time we're in and they have to own that like we do, too. I don't know that you put much more thought into it besides that. You can't dwell on what we did two years ago because it doesn't matter this year. Every rep is important in training camp and you'd like to say that every single year. A lot of players come in and if they're professional they treat it as such. This year it's probably even more so; the concept that every rep is important in practice."

4. A GOOD CHEMISTRY BREWING: One of the most-obvious developments of the first couple of days of full practices at Blue Bombers training camp has been how much Collaros and his receiving corps have benefitted from working from the starting line together.

"You look at that veteran receiving corps and the guys being not so much involved in the learning process but being able to go out there and play fast," said Buck Pierce. "As a quarterback you pick up on those things. You pick up on keys. You pick up on how certain guys do certain things out there.

"Zach, when he came to us in 2019, had to learn on the fly which was very impressive. Now, being able to be in camp together, spending a lot of time to get to know each other and work on that chemistry which has been so important. It's them also teaching Zach, which is very interesting. It's been really good to have that two-way communication."

5. THE LAST WORD: Huge news on Wednesday for the CFL, for the Blue Bombers, for Canada with the announcement that the club will be able to have full capacity at IG FIeld for the league opener on August 5th. The details of that story are here.

O'Shea also weighed in on that with a big-picture take.

"That's one of the things that was going to be important to our franchise and the entire CFL. It's a great indicator of where we're coming as a nation in terms of us as a group of people, as a country, defeating COVID and getting vaccinated and returning to some sense of normalcy. Obviously when August 5th rolls around that will be a massive event that people will want to attend. It will be exciting and besides the football game, I think people will just be excited to be sitting shoulder to shoulder with people cheering and being outside and doing something other than what we've been doing for the last year and a half."

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/15/quick-hits-tc-july-15-2021/
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« Reply #37 on: July 15, 2021, 09:18:00 PM »

We've got some very talented young players looking to make the roster. The sad part is we can't keep them all.

In particular I feel badly for the Global players. Hansen is a lock for the only official global spot. It's possible another global player could take a DI spot in front of an import. Odds seem against that with so many in the competition at those positions.

At this point it's too bad the league decided to pause adding the 2nd global player. I understand why they did that but our draft choices all sound intriguing.
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« Reply #38 on: July 15, 2021, 10:17:42 PM »

They were able to keep Sanchez-Perez around for the whole year last season, and still have him even though Hansen was the guy they rostered.

Who knows, often the Imports won't stick around on a PR, so maybe a couple Globals go there?  I know I was pining for another NI OLineman, but maybe that Machino guy sticks around as that depth?

Also, I know you & I are both waiting to see who's getting cut....any word so far??
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« Reply #39 on: July 15, 2021, 11:45:58 PM »

They were able to keep Sanchez-Perez around for the whole year last season, and still have him even though Hansen was the guy they rostered.

Who knows, often the Imports won't stick around on a PR, so maybe a couple Globals go there?  I know I was pining for another NI OLineman, but maybe that Machino guy sticks around as that depth?

Also, I know you & I are both waiting to see who's getting cut....any word so far??

I realize that but PR players don't usually stick around for a 2nd year on the PR. He also believed that in 2021 he had a chance to make the AR with the 2nd global being added.

It's true imports may also decline PR spots especially those that have some NFL experience. We have close to 50 import rookies and 5 global rookies. So it's a probable odds thing.

IIRC teams may be allowed to keep up to 3 globals on the PR. OTOH we have 5 from this year's draft and Sanchez-Perez.

Another issue is that a global DB won't win a roster spot this year just as an ST player. He's going to have to be better than the imports. Possible but I'd find it hard to believe all 18 import rookies are not as good.

No word on cuts but my position is that we'll drop some DB's just because of pure numbers. At some point the front runners need more reps. 18 rookies can be dropped by 3 - 6 easily IMO.

I think it's possible that Mauro can beat out a small field of rookie Americans at LB and take a DI spot.  The Bombers can use Antiqua, Briggs, Gauthier as additional LB depth so I think it increases his chances. He seems to be having success on ST's and impressing O'Shea etc.
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« Reply #40 on: July 16, 2021, 05:38:20 PM »

"I'm in Winnipeg to learn" | Agudosi ready for his opportunity

The same scenario unfolded almost everywhere Carlton Agudosi would hang his hat during his football odyssey: the obstacles - the many, many things he couldn?t control - kept piling up in front of him.

An example: before arriving in the camp of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers this month he had worked with 12 offensive coordinators and 10 different position coaches in the last 10 years, dating back from his days at Rutgers University, on to the Arizona Cardinals, the Philadelphia Eagles and, most recently, with the St. Louis Battlehawks of the XFL.

And so every time he began to feel comfortable or had built a relationship with a staff, he soon found himself starting over all over again. Over those many trials, Agudosi found one solution worked best for him - he?d simply put his head down, do the work and keep grinding. And that?s a word - grind - that comes up often in conversation with the 27-year-old pride of Somerset, N.J.

"I'm a grinder,? began Agudosi in a chat with bluebombers.com. "I get that from my family, my mom (Linda), my dad (Ike), my sister (Adrienne) and brother (Jonathan). All four of them are mentally tough and every one of them is a tough son of a gun."

There's nothing about Agudosi's receiving numbers at Rutgers that pop off the page. In fact, describing them as even modest would be a stretch, as he managed just 35 receptions for 513 yards and two touchdowns over 45 games. He was part of a recruiting class at Rutgers that ultimately featured the two most-prolific receivers in school history in terms of touchdowns - Leonte Caroo and Brandon Coleman - but despite his size at 6-6, 220, he was rarely on the field.

"I would be going crazy in spring ball. Doing everything," Agudosi said. "And then the season would come and it's... nothing. There would be games where my family would come watch, I wouldn't play and I didn't even want to come home after. I would have to go somewhere else and wait two-three hours before I'd see them because it was just too much. My family would say, 'We love you no matter what you do.' But when they sacrifice you want to show them that I'm working out here. It's humbling."

Still, those years were not without their benefits. They hardened him, matured him and prepared him for what was to come both at the college and professional levels.

"I'll say this: that time at Rutgers turned me into a different person," he said. "Coming out of high school I thought I was Randy Moss. I'm 6-6... I thought I would just show up and ball out. Over my time there, I didn't go on one single spring break trip when I was at school. And so the frustration came from putting in so much work but when the season came I didn't get the benefits of it. It was like I was starting over all the time. And by my fifth year, they decided they wanted to play the young guy and invest in him.

"I heard so many people talk about hard work paying off, but I was saying, 'OK then, where?s my prize?' I was so young I didn't realize at the time the prize was to keep going and grind those things. The benefit of working hard is learning to overcome anything that happens to you. That experience taught me how to grind, how to stay prepared and take advantage of opportunities when they come."

That next opportunity is right here and right now with the Bombers. Agudosi earned his NFL looks by being a spectacular tester at Rutgers pro day back in 2017, setting records with a 40.5 vertical jump and posting superb times in the three-cone drill. That combination of athleticism and size got him his NFL looks with then-Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians talking in camp about 'unlocking the mystery' of Agudosi.

The Bombers will be the next team to ty and unlock that mystery and tap into his immense potential. And Agudosi has even more incentive to keep grinding, as he and his wife Asisa are expecting their first child, a daughter, in October.

"The Bombers, they've been reaching out to me for the last few years, every time I was let go," he said. "This is the perfect time. I'm so happy they kept in touch with me because now that I'm here, this is a great team. The guys on the team embraced me, I like the coaches because they respect guys who finish and go hard. They respect grinders, tough son of a guns, and people who work. I respect that. They've shown faith in me.

"I'm a big proponent in working through adversity. I don't have any expectations... it used to be, 'I'm going to work hard and then I'm going to do this.? Now it's, 'I'm going to work hard and see what happens.' I'm in Winnipeg to learn something. Whether I perform, whether I get let go, I'm here to take whatever I can and learn from it."

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/15/im-winnipeg-learn-agudosi-ready-opportunity/
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« Reply #41 on: July 17, 2021, 12:25:26 AM »

Players feeling fortunate with the start of a new season

A moment from Day 7 of Winnipeg Blue Bombers training camp stood out in an instant Friday morning and then morphed into something bigger by the afternoon. The players were pulling off their helmets to do some in-session stretching on a scorching hot morning when yours truly noticed one receiver had a white headband with the word 'Blessed' emblazoned across the front in black letters. And that simple message does truly resonate for everyone at Blue Bombers camp, whether they are spiritual or not. Yes, without getting too maudlin here, let's just say there is a lot of joy in Bomberland right now.

Perhaps that shouldn't be all that surprising, given a year without football tends to change a man's perspective. But it's like many have fallen in love with their sport all over again, all the while  gaining a greater appreciation of the importance of things outside the game like the people around you. Interestingly, that message was only further reinforced later after practice as the daily routine of having three or four players visit with the media via Zoom unfolded.

First, there was wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky who, among his many other talents, surely leads the Canadian Football League in deep thoughts. In his media visit, Wolitarsky touched on his music and on how the pandemic and different life events have changed his perspective. Oh, and he also spoke about staying in Winnipeg over the winter.

Asked to go through what that experience was like, he cracked "Month by month? January... torture. February... worse. No, it was good, man."

He also spoke of a topic he's explored before on this site, namely how his approach this year will be about not fixating on personal statistics, but in being an even better teammate. And when he was asked where this perspective comes from - he calls himself an 'old soul' - Wolitarsky revisited a story he wrote about last year on bluebombers.com and the impact of seeing his brother Nathan almost die in a car accident has had on him.

'I would just say I?ve seen some things in life, I've experienced some things in life that gave me a very deep perspective on what is important," he said. "Those were painful events, but I think those are necessary to wake you up and I've been woken up several times in my life.

"As painful as those things were, I think it's made me realize what is real and what is not real. That is a very clear distinction now for me. This year is a lot clearer for me mentally just being out there on the field and not over thinking, not worrying about things that really did bug me before. I don't even think twice about them anymore, which is mind blowing and it feels great.

"Love is the way for me, man," he added later. "Connection is the way and that's why I love this community, that's why I play music, that's why I'm a teacher and a leader here. That's how I want to live."

OK, we know what some of you might be thinking here... 'What is this story, some sort of Sunday sermon?' Or 'this piece is so syrupy it should come with a handi-wipe and a roll of paper towels.'

But these emotional responses from players - and others like them over the last week or so - are all very real and raw, just as they are for many of us as we battle through the pandemic and attempt to get parts of our lives back. And many of those players seem to be very open about expressing that gratitude. Take, as an example, defensive end Jonathan Kongbo, who is returning to the Bombers after signing with the San Francisco 49ers last year and spending some time in The Spring League before re-signing with the Blue Bombers in June.

Said Kongbo:

"Just with the trials and tribulations I had this last year and a half it made me appreciate coming back to this building a lot more, coming back and seeing friendly faces and just having those interactions. It made me a lot more grateful."

Kongbo spoke of how he became closer to his father over the last couple of years. And he told a story of his recent flight to Winnipeg from Vancouver and how a Bombers fan who recognized him started up a conversation that grew to involve a handful of people.

"Just to see the excitement on their faces that the players were coming back... stuff like that makes it bigger than you," he said. "You know that you have an effect that can reach this whole community and this whole province."

Finally, Kongbo then punctuated the overall camp mood, that 'Blessed' message and the situation we?re all in right now with this thought:

"You know what's crazy about this last year and a half, is I think for a lot of us we go about our life trying to plan head - planning next year, planning next month," he said. "But, really nothing goes as planned. So for right now I know we've got practice tomorrow, so I'm just going to handle tomorrow and when the first game comes handle that and just go from there."
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« Reply #42 on: July 17, 2021, 05:10:17 AM »

Darrin Bauming's Day 7 Training Camp Report...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1mo-W4OmHc
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« Reply #43 on: July 17, 2021, 03:48:39 PM »

Darrin Bauming's Day 7 Training Camp Report...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1mo-W4OmHc

They aren't really speaking about the daily activity. Where is the info on competition at receiver, DB, LB and positions for DI's.

They only mentioned Borsa and Liegghio as two Canadian rookies in camp.

Overall not much value in the report.
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« Reply #44 on: July 17, 2021, 04:04:38 PM »

Still don't understand why there is NO WEBCAM up to allow fans to watch these early portions of camp?! Should be league wide during this time of COVID. Someone sleeping at the switch.
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« Reply #45 on: July 17, 2021, 04:52:13 PM »

Suggestions have been forwarded to the Bombers.
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« Reply #46 on: July 17, 2021, 04:52:48 PM »


@DarrinBauming
29m
Charles Nelson, who won the #Bombers kick return job to begin the 2019 season, suffered a season-ending injury and didn?t play.
Nelson is already opening eyes here in 2021 and is pushing Winnipeg?s top receivers for a starting spot on offence. His is a name to keep in mind.
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« Reply #47 on: July 17, 2021, 05:24:20 PM »

@DarrinBauming
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Charles Nelson, who won the #Bombers kick return job to begin the 2019 season, suffered a season-ending injury and didn?t play.
Nelson is already opening eyes here in 2021 and is pushing Winnipeg?s top receivers for a starting spot on offence. His is a name to keep in mind.

That's interesting. I was wondering where or how he might fit in. I thought his best shot would be as a DI as a returner and receiver back up. However he'd have to be near as good as Grant for return duties and a better receiver of the two.

Now if he's competing for a starting receiver role that's another opportunity. He has the advantage of knowing the offense and teammates.  Lots of receivers looking for 1 possible receiver spot on the AR. Bailey is  good receiver and I wouldn't like to see him not make the team, but, but, but?

I could envision 1 of Nelson or Grant going onto 1 game IR. Both are good players with slightly different skill sets. Don' think either would be willing to take a PR spot.

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« Reply #48 on: July 17, 2021, 05:29:16 PM »

Interview with Dalton Sneed....

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/15/dalton-sneed-july-15-2021/

Interview with Dru Brown....

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/15/dru-brown-july-15-2021/
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« Reply #49 on: July 17, 2021, 05:45:42 PM »

Still don't understand why there is NO WEBCAM up to allow fans to watch these early portions of camp?! Should be league wide during this time of COVID. Someone sleeping at the switch.

I don't think the team is interested in having the whole world have access to what they do in practice.
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« Reply #50 on: July 17, 2021, 06:37:42 PM »

I don't think the team is interested in having the whole world have access to what they do in practice.

Cameras are only allowed for a very limited time during each practice.  There are about 100 players in camp and as the roster is pared down, there will be more reports on competition at each position.
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« Reply #51 on: July 17, 2021, 07:01:29 PM »

That's interesting. I was wondering where or how he might fit in. I thought his best shot would be as a DI as a returner and receiver back up. However he'd have to be near as good as Grant for return duties and a better receiver of the two.

Now if he's competing for a starting receiver role that's another opportunity. He has the advantage of knowing the offense and teammates.  Lots of receivers looking for 1 possible receiver spot on the AR. Bailey is  good receiver and I wouldn't like to see him not make the team, but, but, but?

I could envision 1 of Nelson or Grant going onto 1 game IR. Both are good players with slightly different skill sets. Don' think either would be willing to take a PR spot.

I think Nelson will be competing with Grant strictly for the return job, with all the size they brought to camp I can't see them going small at receiver....exception Demski and he's considerably bigger than Nelson at 5'8 174 lb.
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« Reply #52 on: July 17, 2021, 07:45:35 PM »

I think Nelson will be competing with Grant strictly for the return job, with all the size they brought to camp I can't see them going small at receiver....exception Demski and he's considerably bigger than Nelson at 5'8 174 lb.

I don't disagree and that was my initial expectation. However if they are considered close to equal as returners then the one that is a better receiver becomes the DI.

I'm also not suggesting Nelson IS the better returner but versatility could still win out.

I've previously said both could make the roster in some way including 1 game IR. Nothing is written in stone for either IMO. Maybe we found the next Henry Williams. Maybe we didn't.

Both are good players but who knows what we find in TC or how the decisions go about DI's.

Both are getting looks at receiver in TC. Both have scored TD's IIRC. Where they stack up against the others we aren't hearing.

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« Reply #53 on: July 17, 2021, 08:19:25 PM »

I don't disagree and that was my initial expectation. However if they are considered close to equal as returners then the one that is a better receiver becomes the DI.

I'm also not suggesting Nelson IS the better returner but versatility could still win out.

I've previously said both could make the roster in some way including 1 game IR. Nothing is written in stone for either IMO. Maybe we found the next Henry Williams. Maybe we didn't.

Both are good players but who knows what we find in TC or how the decisions go about DI's.

Frankly I couldn't understand why they hung onto 3 speedy small guys in 2020, Nelson, Grant and Lucky, pick the best, get rid of the rest.  Cast off returners with CFL experience are always floating around looking for work, so they're not exactly hard to find if a quick replacement is needed.  That being said, finding one that can run great routes and has good hands is a challenge.

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« Reply #54 on: July 17, 2021, 10:50:01 PM »

Frankly I couldn't understand why they hung onto 3 speedy small guys in 2020, Nelson, Grant and Lucky, pick the best, get rid of the rest.  Cast off returners with CFL experience are always floating around looking for work, so they're not exactly hard to find if a quick replacement is needed.  That being said, finding one that can run great routes and has good hands is a challenge.



Whitehead started the season as a # 2 or # 3 receiver. Nelson was injured early after( 4 games only and IIRC that was when Grant was added.

I don't recall the exact timing but Bailey took over at receiver and played 11 games.

2019 was a long time ago and I can't remember if anybody was on the PR earlier or who might have been nicked.

Like most rosters they are transitional. Partially due to injuries, new needs and new players found.

As much as I like Grant that's the point I've been making about a returner that is a good rotational receiver or DB

CFL has had many in that category
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« Reply #55 on: July 17, 2021, 11:47:41 PM »


Both really good interviews by both young men, however, putting the actual football skills aside and looking solely at their interviews as a application for a job. I was highly impressed with Dalton Sneed's answers, he was very well spoken, had clear quick informed intelligent answers to the questions and exuded confidence in spades.
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« Reply #56 on: July 18, 2021, 01:11:15 AM »

Day 8

Quick Hits | TC July 17, 2021

Ed Tait

5 Quick Hits on Day 8 of Blue Bombers training camp:

1. OPENING REMARKS:
Just over a week into Blue Bombers training camp and here's your 'hot take' for the day - based on what we've seen so far the squad that takes the field for the August 5th opener will look very familiar to fans.

Yeah, we know what some of you might be thinking... 'Gee, thanks a ton for that, Captain Obvious.'

Look, it's not at all surprising that it's the veterans who have really popped off the page over the opening few days, especially with no rookie camp that would have allowed the fresh faces get a sense for the three-down game and/or life at the pro level. That doesn't figure to change, either, with veterans only expected to get more reps going forward due to the absence of preseason games.

So, for those fans asking about the positional camp battles... well, there really aren't many. As for those vacancies in the secondary after the departures of Winston Rose and Marcus Sayles, as we've noted previously, Jhavonte Dean opened camp working in the No. 1 secondary and with Mike Jones nicked up over the last couple of days, both Christian Angulo and DeAundre Alford are also getting long looks.

After that, the players you would expect to stand out because of their experience are doing just that - in the receiving corps, Kenny Lawler and Nic Demski have been sensational; Darvin Adams, Drew Wolitarsky and Rasheed Bailey have been excellent. The defensive front is dominated by the same names, and the O-line is doing it's thing with Tui Eli getting a lot of work at centre along with Michael Couture.
The Bombers coaching/management side, I'm told, is concentrating more on culling the herd so to speak, than getting down to the nitty-gritty of deciding who makes the team or who goes where in the starting lineup. That's simply the byproduct of having so many bodies in camp. Those battles will heat up in the coming days. Stay tuned.

2. DOG DAYS: The heat and the return to the grind took its toll on Saturday, with a bit of a dip in the energy level. Asked about that after practice, Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea said:
"We've only had the pads on for a portion of (camp), but I think there was a little sag today. But we started with a longer walk-through and then put the pads on and lightened things up and sometimes you lose a little focus when you do that. They've been reminded of the focus they need to have a successful practice."

Later he was asked about how he might make them aware of the lull during practice.
"You make them aware that maybe what they just did wasn't good enough and try and give them something to think about that might make it different the next time," O'Shea said "But I don't know that I've got all the answers for that kind of stuff. You just make them aware of the fact that practice has dragged a little bit at times. They all know. They all feel it."

3. FYI/RANDOM OBSERVATIONS:
Not participating on Saturday were RBs Andrew Harris and Johnny Augustine, LB Robbie Lowes, CB Mike Jones, OL Pat Neufeld, FB Mike Miller, LB Jesse Briggs and WR Cam Meredith. A number of players worked in the early portion of the session, but were not practising in the second part. Again, all part of keeping players healthy after the long layoff... WR/KR Charles Nelson met with the media after practice and said during the lost season he lived in Florida for awhile before returning to Oregon, where he went back to his old university to train while also working for Coca-Cola at a warehouse. Nelson injured his knee in the fourth game of 2019 and was lost for the season, but the club has hopes he could find his way into Buck Pierce's offence as a multi-dimensional threat. "I'm a team player and whatever it is that the team needs done I want to get out and show them that I don't just run routes," he said. "I can play in the backfield, I can catch punts, I can cover, I can tackle. Whatever it is I just want to be out there to help the team so we can go and win another Grey Cup."...

This from veteran DT Jake Thomas on getting back into the groove and routine of football through camp: "I wouldn't say conditioning was poor but, speaking for myself, football technique was very rusty. First couple of days things that I used to be able to do fluidly took a few reps to get back to normal. As camp goes on I find I'm becoming more and more like the player I used to be and feeling a lot more comfortable playing football. Obviously everyone is sore, but I think guys are enjoying that they're starting to feel normal. You can run, you can work out but there's no better way to get into football shape than playing football. I can't go find two 300-pound men and ask them to run into me for an hour once a week."... LB Shayne Gauthier on how many often he hears people reference his touchdown-saving special-teams tackle in the West Final: "A zillion times. It's a great play I did, but it's in the past now. I'll always remember it as one of the best plays of my career, but we've got to move forward from that and get to 2021 now."...

Big-play offensive moments from Saturday: RB Devonte Williams made a spectacular, twisting turning TD catch on a throw from Dru Brown; Kelvin McKinlay on a TD grab from Sean McGuire; Janarion Grant from Dalton Sneed and McGuire to Carlton Agodusi for a long diving TD reception... And on defence credit CB Christian Angulo with an interception, Willie Jefferson, Hakeem Bailey and Jontrell Rocquemore with noticeable pass break-ups.

4. QB 1 STEPPTING UP: One of the best players over the last couple of days has been QB Zach Collaros. He makes quick decisions and puts the ball where he needs to and every once in awhile flashes the ad-lib brilliance that has been such a big part of his day.

"He's good," said O'Shea. "It's a reminder to the receiving group of how they have to stay alive during scramble drill. Some pictures have come to mind of him in his first year in the CFL and his getting a chance... he's being swarmed and grabbed at and somehow squirting out and making plays downfield. That hasn't changed, right? He has great poise in the pocket, great feel for when guys are around him and a good understanding of when to escape and extend a play. That's something that, right off the bat, adds to the workload of the offence - understanding scramble drills and always making sure you're still alive."

5. EYES ON...: New Bombers kicker Marc Liegghio had an inconsistent day in the field-goal department. Here's O'Shea on Liegghio through a week of camp:

"He's out there working like every kicker does. When the wind picks up he's out there trying his kicks and still pushing the ball back and not satisfied with kicking from short distances. He understands if he strokes the ball he knows what it looks like and, just like Meddy (Justin Medlock) and all the good kickers, if you made good contact and the operation was good and it happens to go wide left or right you're sticking to the process. That's what he's doing. He's working through his process, making sure he gets all his kicks in and evaluating it from there. It is just that, it's a process everybody goes through."

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/17/quick-hits-tc-july-17-2021/
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« Reply #57 on: July 18, 2021, 06:53:34 AM »

I have serious trepidation about the Bombers moving on to a Buck Pierce led offence in the same timeframe that Medlock chose to retire.  He was the team's security blanket in many ways, without his foot to back them up and bail them out, they could be in for a rough ride as Buck works through the kinks implementing his newish offence.  Expanding LaPo's passing game vertically may seem fine in theory, but it will likely cause more 2nd and long situations and relying on a rookie FG kicker to put up points consistently when they stumble and fall short, as Medlock often did, is asking a bit much.

It can't be overlooked how exceptionally reliable and consistent Medlock was, no matter the cost, he was well worth it. In close games against legitimately tough opponents, it often comes down to the kickers trading FG's blow for blow throughout the 2nd half that determines the victor.  A scenario that creates a comparable level of pressure and focused attention that only experienced starting QB's and lonely FG kickers are expected to deal with.  The boo-birds at IGF surely cracked Lirim's nut.

Despite the glowing reviews and O'Shea's hearty stamp of approval I find it hard to believe Liegghio has been handed Medlock's well-worn jock strap, uncontested upon arrival, at his very first pro camp.
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« Reply #58 on: July 18, 2021, 03:32:49 PM »

Still don't understand why there is NO WEBCAM up to allow fans to watch these early portions of camp?! Should be league wide during this time of COVID. Someone sleeping at the switch.

The better question is why a few hundred people who would be socially distanced and outside thus posing absolutely zero risk of COVID transmission are not allowed to attend. I guess you'd have to ask Dr. Roussin that question.
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« Reply #59 on: July 18, 2021, 04:08:22 PM »

The better question is why a few hundred people who would be socially distanced and outside thus posing absolutely zero risk of COVID transmission are not allowed to attend. I guess you'd have to ask Dr. Roussin that question.

A few hundred versus 30K. It's a matter of overall statistical probabilities
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« Reply #60 on: July 18, 2021, 11:56:23 PM »

I have serious trepidation about the Bombers moving on to a Buck Pierce led offence in the same timeframe that Medlock chose to retire.  He was the team's security blanket in many ways, without his foot to back them up and bail them out, they could be in for a rough ride as Buck works through the kinks implementing his newish offence.  Expanding LaPo's passing game vertically may seem fine in theory, but it will likely cause more 2nd and long situations and relying on a rookie FG kicker to put up points consistently when they stumble and fall short, as Medlock often did, is asking a bit much.

It can't be overlooked how exceptionally reliable and consistent Medlock was, no matter the cost, he was well worth it. In close games against legitimately tough opponents, it often comes down to the kickers trading FG's blow for blow throughout the 2nd half that determines the victor.  A scenario that creates a comparable level of pressure and focused attention that only experienced starting QB's and lonely FG kickers are expected to deal with.  The boo-birds at IGF surely cracked Lirim's nut.

Despite the glowing reviews and O'Shea's hearty stamp of approval I find it hard to believe Liegghio has been handed Medlock's well-worn jock strap, uncontested upon arrival, at his very first pro camp.

As long as we stay healthy those issues will be a torn in our side but something we can deal with
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« Reply #61 on: July 19, 2021, 01:36:30 AM »

Day 9

Quick Hits | TC July 18, 2021 - Ed Tait


5 Quick Hits on Day 9 of Blue Bombers training camp:

1. CAMP BATTLEGROUND: We've reached that portion of training camp where players can start separating themselves from the competition simply by staying on the field and getting work. Reps matter. And so, too, does performance.

"It's pretty factual, if you're out there taking more reps and getting more opportunities to make plays - and if you're making more plays - then obviously is going to stand up and take notice of that," said Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea after Sunday?s practice. "Yes, availability and durability are very important abilities."

All of this rings especially true in the secondary where there are two starting vacancies and 27 defensive backs in camp. That's a ton of bodies to evaluate and it's not going to happen over the course of just a few days.

"We definitely need time," O'Shea said of the decisions to be made in the secondary. "I don't know if it's 'easier' to make decisions, but what I do like and what was expected was from the first day they were on the field with pads there's going to be growth and it's going to look better every single day. It has. The defensive back spot, especially the inside positions when you're facing the 'Waggle' is the toughest transition for any American to make; to come up and see all that motion and understand the width of the field, the depth of the routes and the route combinations and the nuances of the CFL passing game. More and more DBs are making contested plays on footballs and it's looking better and better.

"What may not have looked pleasing the first day or so was certainly something that we expected and we expected them to get better and we expect them to compete. We've got a lot of time left to make the decisions we need to make so we're going to keep letting them compete and see where that goes in terms of the roster and who's good enough to play and help us win games."

2. EYES ON 'LEGS': Cool scene early in the practice session as Marc Liegghio lined up for a series of field-goal attempts. The Bombers draft pick had a solid day in that department and as the attempts kept getting longer, he came up just a bit short on a 57-yard attempt. After asking for another, you could hear his teammates yelling, 'C'mon, Legs' before he crushed his second try and was swarmed by teammates before being hoisted up by Jermarcus Hardrick.

"He's getting used to a new snapper, new holders - not just one - he's working through the wind at this practice field we're at. And he did have a better day today. It's all part of the process of being a kicker where you just have to keep yourself focussed on swinging well and making good contact and then understanding what went wrong and what went right, then duplicating it or changing it depending on which side of the kick you were on.

"It was pleasing for him. It was pleasing for his teammates. They recognize that it is a long process for a younger guy, too. I was pretty happy for him. We'll go back out there tomorrow and repeat the process."

3. FYI/RANDOM OBSERVATIONS: All four quarterbacks in camp - Zach Collaros, Sean McGuire, Dalton Sneed and Dru Brown - continue to have their good moments. What stands out with Collaros is how comfortable he is moving around the pocket to keep plays alive - all skills that are critical in the CFL. Asked if he could put into words how comfortable it is to have a QB like Collaros at the controls, O'Shea said: "Can I put it into words? No, I don?t know if I can. It?s very comforting. Obviously, I think he?s a great fit for us. His competitiveness, his professionalism, his character, the type of guy he is... he's a good fit. He's a winner."... DB Mercy Maston pulled up with an injury later in the morning and did not return to practice. O'Shea did not have an update on him immediately after. Not practising on Sunday were RBs Andrew Harris and Johnny Augustine, WRs Cam Meredith and Ardarius Stewart, LB Robbie Lowes, FB Mike Miller, WR Charles Nelson, CB Mike Jones, LB Jesse Briggs, OL Pat Neufeld, DBs Sam Williams and Raekwon Williams... Moments that popped out: Dru Brown hitting Montay Crockett for a TD, with Crockett later hooking up with Dalton Sneed for a long gain, LB Jontrell Rocquemore with an interception of Collaros and McGuire connecting with Blake Jackson for a TD... Many of the same receiver names keep jumping out, too, like Nic Demski, Drew Wolitarsky, Rasheed Bailey and Kenny Lawler. Lawler, in fact, has been incredible through camp. "He's got unbelievable hands," said O'Shea of Lawler. "When he first showed up here that was the thing that showed up the most - how good his hands were. Now he's coupled that with great comfort in terms of the playbook and route-running and his craftiness on how to get open. He?s certainly got all that now for sure. He did manage to find the end zone quite a few times today."

4. PERSPECTIVE MATTERS:
Defensive back Deatrick Nichols was leading the XFL in interceptions in 2020 when the pandemic hit and the league closed up shop. But rather than wallow in misery, he's soaking up this chance with the Bombers.

"I won't say it was devastating," said Nichols Sunday of the XFL going under. You've just got to keep pushing. Things happen. It's all about how you answer your calls and be thankful for what you have. We still beat the odds. There's many people at home that want to be here. I'm here and make the team or not I've had the opportunity to play football again and do what I love. I really can't see anything wrong with where I?m at right now."

5. ODDS: Presented without comment... the latest Grey Cup odds are out and the Bombers are listed as the third-best bet with 9-to-2 odds, along Calgary, behind Hamilton at 11-to-4 and Saskatchewan at 4-to-1 and ahead of Montreal at 5-to-1, Toronto at 15-to-2, B.C. at 8-to-1 and Edmonton and Ottawa at 10-to-1.
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« Reply #62 on: July 19, 2021, 12:47:12 PM »

The better question is why a few hundred people who would be socially distanced and outside thus posing absolutely zero risk of COVID transmission are not allowed to attend. I guess you'd have to ask Dr. Roussin that question.

That is a legit question, however, you will find that political statements are not particularly well received on a football forum. We get it, you are not in favor of vaccine passports and that is your choice. Can we leave it at that?
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« Reply #63 on: July 19, 2021, 03:33:37 PM »

As long as we stay healthy those issues will be a torn in our side but something we can deal with

It wouldn't hurt to bring in Medlock for a couple of days of coaching during TC.
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« Reply #64 on: July 19, 2021, 03:53:21 PM »

I was thinking this as well, I wonder if they could arrange somekind of "guest coach" clinic thing, or if that would be part of the cap?
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« Reply #65 on: July 19, 2021, 04:09:13 PM »

I was thinking this as well, I wonder if they could arrange somekind of "guest coach" clinic thing, or if that would be part of the cap?

Other teams have guest coaches. Guest coaches may or may not be paid. However even with some cash involved I was thinking 2 or 3 days. It wouldn't break the bank.
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« Reply #66 on: July 19, 2021, 07:00:08 PM »

It wouldn't hurt to bring in Medlock for a couple of days of coaching during TC.

Would it? Is Medlock a good coach, or just a great kicker?  A coach doesn't need to be able to play to coach... but just because a player can play doesn't mean he can coach...

Love Medlock, and if OShea thought getting him here would help Legs, I'd bet Kyle would make it happen... but don't we have a couple legendary kickers here in town already?
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« Reply #67 on: July 19, 2021, 08:08:51 PM »

Would it? Is Medlock a good coach, or just a great kicker?  A coach doesn't need to be able to play to coach... but just because a player can play doesn't mean he can coach...

Love Medlock, and if OShea thought getting him here would help Legs, I'd bet Kyle would make it happen... but don't we have a couple legendary kickers here in town already?


That could be true but just watching Medlock work his technique without him saying anything would still be useful.

Like I said it wouldn't hurt ( at worst ). At best it's useful.
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« Reply #68 on: July 19, 2021, 08:23:06 PM »

I think Medlock has always given support to the young kickers, unlike Westwood who would completely ignore them.

He might not be a great coach, but who knows the stadium better, and he knows a ton about the mechanics.

Speaking of which, I wonder how that'll affect Leggs, not actually kicking in the stadium yet?  Soccer will still run it for awhile yet.
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« Reply #69 on: July 19, 2021, 08:49:54 PM »

Day 10

Quick Hits | July 19, 2021 - Ed Tait


5 Quick Hits on Day 10 of Blue Bombers training camp:

1. HOT - SCORCHING HOT - TICKET: Single-game tickets for the Canadian Football League season opener at IG Field on August 5th went on sale to the general public Monday morning and the response was, well, more than a little enthusiastic.

Single-game tickets were first made available to season-ticket holders last Friday and Bombers President and CEO Wade Miller said the club sold 1,000 tickets in the first 10 minutes for the 2019 Grey Cup rematch against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
For more info, click here.

2. DEEP CUTS THE KNIFE: The Bombers made their first significant chunk of cuts on Monday with the release of 10 players, all imports. That group includes:

-QB Dalton Sneed
-DBs Clifton Duck and Raekwon Williams
-WRs Alonzo Russell, Sr. and C.J. Worton
-DL Justin Alexandre and David Kenney
-LBs Khaylan Kearse-Thomas and Otha Peters
-OL Kevin Lawrence

3. HEADS UP: Blue Bombers receiver Rasheed Bailey is a walking, talking, hype machine. He doesn't just spit out everyday cliches, he speaks with the passion and fervour of a minister delivering a Sunday sermon.

And when Bailey was asked about the Bombers offence - specifically what it will look like this year under new offensive coordinator Buck Pierce - he made some big promises.

"You guys are going to see what we're going to be doing this year and it's going to be special," said Bailey. "We're going to do some things that are different, we're going to keep some things the same. But, overall, we're going to push the ball down the field and we're going to have some fun."

Asked later about QB Zach Collaros, Bailey kept right on hyping.
"The way it's looking right now... I'm just going to tell everybody this right now... they better watch out for what we're about to do this year," he said. "That's just me speaking from a confidence standpoint and from everyday that we've been here we're building something special. Just building from the Grey Cup and the connection we all have right now and are gathering right now as we speak... it's going to be a special year this year.
"If we all stay healthy and do what we're supposed to do and take care of our bodies, there's a lot of talent on this offence and a lot of players that can make some plays, including myself."

4. TOUGH NEWS/SOLDIER ON: News broke Monday morning about the loss of DB Mercy Maston for the season with an Achilles injury.

Veteran DB and former Edmonton teammate Josh Johnson wore Maston's jersey #7 during practice Monday and it was Bailey who Maston was covering on the play in which he suffered the injury on Sunday. A day later Bailey offered this:

"It almost breaks my heart because I know how much work we put into this game. I know how much work we put in, I know how much work I put in and how devastated I would be. My heart goes out to him. He was guarding me on that play. It's a hard pill to swallow because I know how much work he's put in. This season will be dedicated to my boy. There's nothing I wouldn't do to try and make him feel better in this situation, but this is football and things like this happen. But I promised that boy this season is going to be definitely dedicated to that guy. The work that I'm going to put in and the work that we've all been putting in, it's going to show up and it?s going to mean something.
"This season is definitely for my dawg."

5. FYI/RANDOM OBSERVATIONS: Monday's practice session was shortened and much of the time was spent on special teams... No sense yet of who might replace Maston in the secondary, but expect the parts to be moved around a lot...

Here's a couple of clips from QB Zach Collaros. First, his thoughts on the offence. "I don?t know if things will be that different. I tell the guys to be ready on every play because every offence, especially ours, has something built in where you can strike the defence downfield. It's my job as well as the coaching staff's job to get us all prepared to know the certain looks we can expose a defence with and really strike them. We've got some looks in camp where we've been able to strike the football downfield, but we're not going to be reliant on just throwing the ball up."... And, second, more praise for receiver Kenny Lawler, who has been one of the standouts in camp. "I told him last year when I met him I had to Google him because I knew the name, it was a familiar name that I knew from college football. I watched a five or six-minute highlight tape (from his days at Cal) of Jared Goff just throwing him back-shoulder fades and him catching if over and over again. I told him last year, 'Hey, if you get a one-on-one I'm coming to you' and he's just shown that plus more in this camp. Obviously he's got athletic ability, his range as a receiver, his hands are fantastic. Buck's doing a great job of moving these guys around to different positions so we don't become just one-dimensional and he's done a great job of learning where he's supposed to be and getting to the right depth and all those things that make a good receiver great."
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« Reply #70 on: July 20, 2021, 03:28:56 PM »

No practice today (July 20) due to air quality (smoke) issues.
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« Reply #71 on: July 20, 2021, 03:38:09 PM »

Willie Jefferson says he has no issues with smoke at all.
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« Reply #72 on: July 20, 2021, 04:29:04 PM »

No practice today (July 20) due to air quality (smoke) issues.

They will have to get used to practicing and playing in the smoke as it looks like it's not going away anytime soon and the CFL really can't afford to postpone or cancel any games this season. BC is choking on smoke, wildfires are running rampant across the West and NW Ont. and I can't see any chance of it dissipating until mid-late fall, a cool wet summer is not in the forecast.  This is it, it's been coming for a few years now, better keep your supply of COVID masks handy.
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« Reply #73 on: July 20, 2021, 04:46:48 PM »

Willie Jefferson says he has no issues with smoke at all.
haha.
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« Reply #74 on: July 20, 2021, 05:53:34 PM »

Willie Jefferson says he has no issues with smoke at all.

i heart this.
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« Reply #75 on: July 21, 2021, 01:37:28 AM »

Day 11

Quick Hits | TC July 20, 2021

5 Quick Hits on Day 11 of Blue Bombers training camp:

1. VETERAN LEG TO CHALLENGE 'LEGS': The Blue Bombers added an experienced kicker on Tuesday, signing Tyler Crapigna. His arrival means the club now has two kickers in camp, including 2020 draft pick Marc 'Legs' Liegghio.

Crapigna has a CFL career field-goal percentage of 85.2, having connected on 98 of 115 tries in games covering a span from 2015-19.
He was recently released by the Montreal Alouettes, who had acquired him in a February 2020 trade with Toronto for Boris Bede.

2. HOW 'BOUT THAT SMOKE?: The Bombers practice scheduled for Tuesday morning was cancelled due to the poor air quality caused by smoke. But the club opted to take the field for a late-afternoon session that was to run until 6:30 p.m. There was also no media availability today with players.

We do have a feature on Global linebacker Les Maruo from an earlier interview, and that story is here:

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/20/maruo-soaking-every-bit-advice-vets/

3. GET 'EM WHILE THEY?RE HOT:
The Bombers sold 1,000 tickets to the August 5th opener in the first 10 minutes single-game tickets were made available to the general public Monday morning. Bombers President and CEO Wade Miller guested on CJOB's Breakfast with the Bombers Tuesday morning and indicated 'there?s seats left, but they?re going quick.'

"Tickets are going really well so far, there's a buzz, for sure," said Miller. "Our fan-service team has been waiting for this for 15 months, so all their hard work is now paying off. August 5th is going to be special in this province."

The club is also getting a number of calls for fans still interested in buying season tickets and flex-packs, so some seats will be held back to accommodate that demand. It was also announced on Monday that fully-vaccinated out-of-province fans will also be able to attend games providing they have their provincial immunization records that show indicate a two-week clearance from their second dose.
Miller reminded fans to come early to the August 5th opener so that those immunization codes and IDs can be checked and that will mean extra time is needed before entry to IG Field.

4. HEAD COUNT: ICYMI, the Bombers were busy on Monday, trading for veteran DB Alden Darby from the Toronto Argonauts after the news that Mercy Maston would be lost for the season with an Achilles injury and also releasing 10 players.

That leaves 92 players in camp, including Darby, Maston and now Crapigna
By position:
QB: 3
RB/FB: 6
Receivers: 19
Offensive line: 13
Defensive line: 11
Linebackers: 10
Defensive backs: 27
Kickers/specialists: 3

5. FOND FAREWELL/WELCOME ABOARD: Darby, the veteran DB acquired Monday, was a fan favourite in Toronto. He tweeted out a farewell to Argos fans Tuesday while indicating his excitement about joining the Bombers.

HUGE THANK YOU to all the ARGO fans that are more like family to me. I must say the love and support the last 24 hours has been amazing. I love you guys. And huge thank you to the entire ARGO staff. You guys are family to me as well and will always have a special place in my

Alden Darby

But my best ball is still to come. And I?m so thankful for the opportunity to join the defending grey cup champs @Wpg_BlueBombers ready to get to work on the field and most importantly in the community! Let's get it ! #ForTheW
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« Reply #76 on: July 21, 2021, 12:41:07 PM »

I thought we had 98 players left but this report says only 92. Counting the roster I only count 90 with Poole still on the roster and we traded him. That would be 89? Even the unofficial report shows 89??

I'm not sure who is still on the roster that doesn't show or how we ended up at 92.

Oh well at least we're chipping away at the non counters. I thought we had 13 but there must be a few more that I missed.

Once again the daily TC reports aren't telling us anything about anything regarding competitions. It didn't even mention Adams injury concern. That came up in the Injury Report string
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« Reply #77 on: July 21, 2021, 12:53:36 PM »

I also find it disappointsing that the training camp,reports are rather generic.  Isn't anyone assigned to report or comment on what's going on?

Sure the reports are generically produced and copied here.

What's this with Leggio? The Leg?  How come no reports on the guy?
Bring back Medlock

If we are over the cap,so what? feign ignorance.  Call us the Tampa Bay Bombers!
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« Reply #78 on: July 21, 2021, 04:36:15 PM »

Blue Bombers Transactions - July 21, 2021

WINNIPEG, MB., July 21, 2021 - The Winnipeg Blue Bombers today announce the following roster transactions:


Released from roster:


American receiver Quadree Henderson

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« Reply #79 on: July 21, 2021, 05:05:27 PM »

I also find it disappointsing that the training camp,reports are rather generic.  Isn't anyone assigned to report or comment on what's going on?

Sure the reports are generically produced and copied here.

What's this with Leggio? The Leg?  How come no reports on the guy?
Bring back Medlock

If we are over the cap,so what? feign ignorance.  Call us the Tampa Bay Bombers!
I agree the  reports are vague.
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« Reply #80 on: July 21, 2021, 06:10:23 PM »

I agree the  reports are vague.

Yeah the fan ones were so great.  At least we got something.  Perhaps they should select ten super fans from the forum and allow them in to report back to the group! Smiley  I can supply the chips and dip for the group to sneak in LOL.
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« Reply #81 on: July 22, 2021, 04:23:53 AM »

Quick Hits | TC July 21, 2021 - Ed Tait

1. THE NEWS ON DARVIN: The Blue Bombers got a scare during Tuesday's late-afternoon practice when veteran receiver Darvin Adams went down after a reception with an apparent arm/shoulder injury and did not finish practice. Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea provided an update on Adams prior to Wednesday's practice session.

"I expect he'll miss a fairly short period of time and be back," said O'Shea. "I don't expect this to be a long-term thing. He'll be fine, I'm sure he'll be fine."

The Bombers return all of their starting receivers from the 2019 Grey Cup in Adams, Nic Demski, Kenny Lawler, Rasheed Bailey and Drew Wolitarsky. O'Shea was asked about the collection of newcomers in camp, now totalling 11 with the release Wednesday of Quadree Henderson.\
"I do think we've got a real talented group of receivers out there practising" he said. "All the guys returning that we have a lot of information on (after signing them in 2020) are really good and they've gotten better. They understand the playbook for another year and a bunch of Zoom meetings and, for the most part, they're in pretty good shape. It's exciting and I know Buck (Pierce, Offensive Coordinator) is excited with the group we have and then some of the new guys we brought in are certainly showing off their various talents."

The coach also provided a progress report on RB Andrew Harris, who hasn't been practising since early in camp.
"He's certainly is progressing," said O?Shea. "He spends a lot of time with Al (Couture, Head Athletic Therapist) and they are joined at the hip for the mornings as he gets ready. I still think another week (off) is probably good. Andrew really doesn't need any reps. What happens with guys that are so competitive is they forget how much experience they have, which is probably a good thing, and they want all the reps. Then it's our job to manage that, scale it back.
"Part of the deal is we need to take a look at the other guys, too. There's some benefit all round, although I'm sure Andrew doesn't see it like that. He wants to be out there on the field and we?re holding him back."

2. THE COMPETITION IS AFOOT: New K Tyler Crapigna practised with "he Bombers on Thursday after being signed following his release by the Montreal Alouettes earlier this week. His arrival means 2020 draft pick Marc Liegghio now has some competition in camp.
"The decision all along was that (Justin) Medlock was going to be here," said O'Shea on the move to bring in Crapigna, a CFL vet with experience in both Saskatchewan and Toronto. "When we drafted Marc the expectation was Meddy was going to be here and Marc was going to have a great tutor and Meddy was going to play probably as long as he wanted to play. That didn't happen. Then as plans change and we go about our business we look around the league and see what teams are doing with their situations.
"We drafted Marc and think very highly of him, but I wouldn't say it was always our plan to always have one, it was just make sure we had the right fit if we were going to bring another one in.
"My expectation for both Marc and Tyler is that they kick well and they compete and we make a decision from there. Marc kicked very well the last couple of days and he punted exceptionally well yesterday. He's certainly rounding into the form that made us think very highly of him coming out of Western." Liegghio had one iffy day in the field-goal department in camp, but has shown signs of progression. He's also showcased a live leg in terms of punting, which Crapigna doesn't handle.
"I didn't think I was going to be the only guy here for the majority of (camp)," said Liegghio. "It's a good test for me. It's always good to have competition in camp and I look forward to battling it out.
"I know I had a little bit of an iffy day the one day, but from that day I've built up. I have some pretty good days ahead of me and I'm just going to keep building and doing better every day because I know what I'm capable of and that one day wasn't a good day for me and I know that and it's not acceptable from me."
Liegghio said he was made aware the club was bringing in Crapigna the day before it was announced and that the coaches told him "just keep doing you. You've been having great days. Just go out there and keep having those amazing days and that's what I'm planning on doing. I haven't really got a chance to meet (Crapigna) yet, but I'm pretty familiar with him. I know he's a veteran and it's going to be nice to learn some of the things he's done in the CFL and some of the techniques he goes through."

3. SMOKE ALARM: The Bombers moved Wednesday's practice time from morning to the afternoon for the second day in a row because of the poor air quality.

"Part of the process is keeping players healthy and monitoring the situation," said O'Shea. "There's people in the organization that are always checking that and one of the benefits of having the CPL bubble here is through FIFA rules is they're always monitoring air quality, so we have access to that information. The air wasn't good enough in the morning when we tested it, it cleared at a certain point. I put our players through a bit of a wringer because I had them in and we changed the daily plan, there was a bit of waiting around that certainly wasn't ideal and then when I said 'Let's go' they were ready to go and we went out there and had a good practice."

4. OF FLOWERS AND GOOGLE MAPS...:
Bomber players had been doing any number of different things over the course of the pandemic and the loss of the 2020 Canadian Football League season to make ends meet. Case in point, Bombers guard Paddy Neufeld served as a delivery man for Callia Flowers and also drove a Google Maps car around Saskatchewan for the last four months.

"The flower-delivery was just driving around dropping things off... nothing crazy," said Neufeld when asked to share his experiences. "The Google Maps was cool being able to drive around to places in the province I've never been to, getting to drive pretty far up north in the province and getting into the Canadian Shield was pretty cool. Seeing bears running off the side of the road and visiting some smaller communities I've never seen before was pretty neat. There's a lot of beauty in this country and it was cool to check it out."
Neufeld said he had a car delivered to him from California when the big decals on the side and the camera mounted on top of the vehicle.
"You would definitely get some unique reactions," he said. "You would either get the thumbs up and the waving or you?d get the middle finger."

5. FYI:
A number of fans are asking about getting access to watch Bombers training-camp practices, as has been the case with other teams opening up for their faithful over the last few days. The Bombers aren't practising at IG Field, but at the field adjacent to the Subway Soccer Complex. Teams in other markets are able to welcome fans to areas of their home stadiums and ensure they are far enough from the players, but that isn't currently possible here and won't be so until the Canadian Premier League's Kickoff event currently underway at IG Field is completed.
That event, FYI, runs through to this Saturday. After that, the football lines would need to be painted on IG Field before the Bombers could begin practising there.
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« Reply #82 on: July 22, 2021, 04:55:27 PM »

Thanks for the report.
Do more about the off season jobs.
Get the IGF stadium open
I want to go see the practices and report on WHA I see.
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« Reply #83 on: July 23, 2021, 02:41:10 AM »

Thanks for the report.
Do more about the off season jobs.
Get the IGF stadium open
I want to go see the practices and report on WHA I see.
Nice
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« Reply #84 on: July 23, 2021, 03:35:13 AM »

Day 13

Darrin Bauming's Training Camp Report


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwDdFiQK8U0

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« Reply #85 on: July 24, 2021, 01:47:24 AM »

Day 14

Training Camp so far - Ed Tait

There's a certain Groundhog Day feel to every Canadian Football League training camp, where one session blurs into the next and those trying to both thrive and survive the ordeal have the same scenarios seemingly play out over and over and over again. That's a feeling even more pronounced in 2021 without preseason games to break up the monotony. And so for many grinding through the time between the opening of training camp on July 10th and the regular season opener on August 5th it can become akin to a crossing Xs through the completed days on a calendar.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, like their CFL brethren, completed their 14th day of practice on Friday. And with another week to go before teams have to make their final roster cuts - the deadline is 9:00 p.m. on July 30th - there's still some heavy lifting to do before we get a sense of what the Bombers roster will look like before they meet the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

With that in mind, here's a look at some of what happened over the last two weeks and what's ahead for the 2019 Grey Cup champs...

STILL TO BE DETERMINED...

The Bombers entered training camp with two holes in the secondary after the departures of Winston Rose and Marcus Sayles. That was only further compounded by the season-ending Achilles injury suffered by Mercy Maston last Sunday. The club did add a veteran starter in Alden Darby, acquired in a trade with the Toronto Argonauts, but this is still very much a work in progress.

Brandon Alexander will start at safety and returnees Nick Taylor and Mike Jones will secure spots. CFL vet Josh Johnson and Darby figure to be in the mix, but there are still a number of other new faces who are improving with each practice session.

Here's Alexander when asked about the collection of talent in house:

"Every year you have guys coming in and competing so (the decisions) are going to be difficult, especially after you have the first cuts and you have to make another one and it's getting tighter and tighter," he said.

"You have a lot of good guys on this team... I really see each and every one of them being on our team, but we know in reality that doesn't happen. So, I'm glad I'm not in that chair and making those decisions, but I love all these guys and all these guys have different attributes that can really help us on this team."

The other huge question mark as camp opened was whether rookie Marc Liegghio - a 2020 draft pick - could replace Justin Medlock to handle all the kicking chores. Liegghio has flashed his big leg, but a so-so day early in camp also led to the club adding veteran Tyler Crapigna after he was released by the Montreal Alouettes.

A couple of potential scenarios remain in play here: Liegghio holds off Crapigna?s challenge and opens the season handling both the placekicking and punting, or the two share the duties with Lieggio punting and Crapigna, who hasn't punted since college, handling the placekicking.

QB WATCH

The Bombers are down to three quarterbacks after releasing rookie Dalton Sneed earlier in the week. A quick take on each...

Zach Collaros is really benefitting from a full training camp after being parachuted in at the trade deadline in October of 2019. He's comfortable, confident and is regularly delivering strikes in each practice. The veteran pivot also has that ad-lib creativity that makes him dangerous when a play breaks down.

Sean McGuire may have thrown only a few passes in 2019 when he served as the third-string pivot, but his command of the huddle and leadership in this camp has been noticeable.

Dru Brown, the former Oklahoma State/Hawaii product, had a big arm and isn't afraid to take shots downfield. He's also showcased his running ability on occasion and has the speed of a wideout in the open field.

STAND OUTS

With such a large number of veterans returning and no rookie camp to preceed the main training camp, it's no surprise that the experienced players take turns standing out almost daily.

So, the fact that Willie Jefferson, Jackson Jeffcoat or Adam Bighill pop off the page won't surprise anyone. On offence, the best player through two weeks of camp has been receiver Kenny Lawler, with Collaros and Nic Demski right behind him.

NEWCOMERS OPENING EYES AND DROPPING JAWS

We've spoken repeatedly in our daily Quick Hits about how Brady Oliveira has benefitted from Andrew Harris being rested to open camp. Oliveira doesn't technically qualify as a 'newcomer', but he did only play about five quarters in his rookie season before breaking an ankle.

Here are a handful of newcomers who are making their cases through two weeks of camp:

WR Carlton Agudosi: Hard to miss the big target as he stands 6-6, but with Darvin Adams out over the last few days he's moved into his spot with the starting receivers and is making plays. His story is here.

WR Blake Jackson: The converted quarterback offers a little bit of everything as a potential slot, wideout and a guy who might get the occasional carry out of the backfield. He's also been taking turns returning kicks. His story is here.

There are four import defensive tackles who are also jumping out in Casey Sayles, the 6-3, 289-pounder who has experience in both the XFL and AAF; Ezekiel Rose, who starred at West Virginia; Cedric Wilcots II, who was spotted by Bombers scouts at the College Gridiron Showcase in 2020 after a superb career at New Mexico State, as well as Ricky Walker, who has been in camp with both Dallas and Cleveland.
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« Reply #86 on: July 24, 2021, 02:13:17 PM »

From Bob I:

Liegghio and Crapigna pretty much a dead heat in a field goal drill at Bomber camp. Liegghio has a slightly stronger leg and punts, Crapigna doesn?t punt. Chances are both make the team.  Maybe.
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« Reply #87 on: July 25, 2021, 05:02:16 AM »

Day 15

Quick Hits | TC July 24, 2021 - Ed Tait


5 Quick Hits on Day 14 of Blue Bombers training camp:

1. AN OFFICIAL VISIT: CFL officials were in attendance Saturday morning and did their thing in various periods, including 12 on 12. They also worked the field-goal segment of practice.

Asked if their presence was something they had asked for or if it was a request of the team, head coach Mike O'Shea quipped: "They were lousy today, so they needed it. That's not going to get me any calls, is it?"

But, seriously, folks...
"We do this every year," O'Shea said. "I love having them out, it's great interaction... you get a lot of coaches asking them questions, although with COVID protocols it's a little different. In previous years we would host little mini-meetings with whatever position group and they would answer questions based on the position group. You want them giving feedback to the players. You want the coaches to be able to have access to them.
"I think it was great to have them out. It certainly sharpens us up and I spend a lot of time bending their ear about plays, calls and whatnot. They're a proud group, too, and they want to make sure they're sharp for the start of the season with no exhibition games. They're out here working hard or taking time off work to make sure they get their plays in, too."

2. PROGRESS REPORT - THE KICKERS: Both Marc Liegghio and Tyler Crapigna had excellent days in the field-goal department, with each ending that portion of practice by nailing 52-yarders. Theirs is a back-or-white, hit-or-miss livelihood, so a hat tip when they have good days.

Asked if they seemed to be settling in and getting more comfortable, O'Shea said: "Absolutely. They're dealing with new operations - new snappers, new holders - and all the stuff they're dealing with; with Tyler it was the travel and sitting in a hotel for a day. On Day 2 Marc was eight of nine and from that point forward he's been just excellent. Both of them have found their groove, so it's nice to see."

3. BIG IN JAPAN: LB Les Maruo, the Bombers first pick in the 2021 CFL Global Draft has been making a solid impression in camp.
"He's a good football player. It's exciting to watch him," said O'Shea. "He flies around, there was a nice play he made today and every practice he's doing something good that catches your eye. I'm sure he's not satisfied, but he should be happy with the way it looks. He's doing well."
We told you a bit about Maruo earlier in camp. That story is here:

On Saturday he spoke about the CFL's Global initiative.

"It's big. It's big for me, but it's really big for a country like Japan because the X League is just getting bigger and bigger every year and not many people know about football in Japan," he said. "I would love to go out there and play and perform my best in the CFL so that football in Japan will get bigger and bigger and all the Japanese fans can look up to me and maybe there will be more and more Global players from Japan."

Maruo, FYI, is one of five Global players in Bombers camp along with DL Thiadric Hansen (Germany), DB Sergio Schiaffino-Perez (Mexico), Ayo Oyelola (United Kingdom) and OL Tomoya Machino (Japan). Maruo was born in Japan but essentially grew up in the U.S. He is currently a roommate of Machino - who he first met at the CFL Global Combine in Osaka - and said the big O-lineman's English is improving every day.

4. REMEMBER WHEN?: O'Shea was asked about how camps have changed over the years, with less padded practices and two-a-day sessions.
"My first two training camps were double (twice a day), padded on turf in Hamilton right beside Stelco," he said. "So, we were going and it was smokey every day and you were banging. The science behind it shows that rest period between practices is as valuable as the rest period in between the end of your day and the start of the next day.
"There's way more research that shows the benefit of working a little longer in a condensed time frame than giving them more time to recuperate."

5. OUCH REPORT: The list of walking wounded is still long, but CB Mike Jones did return to work a bit in the early part of the session. WR Cam Meredith was spotted doing laps during the practice and O'Shea said he could be back at work soon.
Meanwhile, RB Andrew Harris had his day end early and he showed a bit of frustration with his recovery. Asked about that afterward, O'Shea offered this: "That's the process he?s going through. He's going to go through a bit of frustration. I know he wants to be out there and we're not letting him go full go yet. When he finally gets to play he'll be less frustrated, I'm sure."
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« Reply #88 on: July 25, 2021, 05:14:44 AM »

"I'm just happy being back playing football again" | Miller on verge of CFL record - Ed Tait

Sometime later this season, Mike Miller will see his name move to the very top of the Canadian Football League's all-time special teams tackle list. It will be a significant achievement for the 32-year-old Riverview, NB product, a man who has carved out a solid nine seasons in the game, first with Edmonton and the last three years with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

And it somehow seems only fitting that the CFL's career special teams tackle record would be owned by an undrafted player like Miller, who is the very definition of a hard hat and lunch pail worker and who has forever put his team first.

"I came into the CFL as a defensive back," said Miller in a Zoom call with media on Saturday. "I knew from other people and talking to other guys who played in the CFL how important special teams were. It was drilled into me at university, too, from my university coach Jeff Cummins (at Acadia University) who played in the CFL as well. It's something I did well at university and so when I was sending out my highlight tapes to teams I made sure I had a lot of special-teams tape on there.

"I went in with the mentality that I was going to do whatever the team needed me to do. Throughout my career I've changed positions. I've played linebacker and safety and I've always done just what the team has needed me to be. When I made the switch to fullback, that's where the team needed me to be at the time.

"That's how I took the mentality on special teams, too," he added. "For me to be able to contribute to my team it was working as hard as I could on special teams. That's what they needed me to do and I was willing to do that. I'm still willing to do that. I just had an adaptable mentality."

Miller has 185 special teams tackles in his career, trailing just Jason Arakgi, who had 190 with the B.C. Lions from 2008-16. Just last year he moved past Bombers President and CEO Wade Miller, who had retired as the CFL's all-time leader with 184.

Not surprisingly to know how humble the man is, Miller had no idea how many tackles he needed to move past Arakgi.

"I haven't thought about it too much, I guess," said Miller. "I've been more focused on getting back in the swing of things and playing football again. I'm just happy we?re able to do this again. It's been a long offseason. I haven't thought about it too much... I'm not even sure what I'm actually away from it. I'm just happy being back playing football again.

"I do take a lot of pride in the role that I play and that I've played all my career. To see that it?s paying off, all the time and effort that I put into it, that is definitely a cool thing to see come to fruition."

With Miller as the Bombers big boss and the team led by two former special teams gurus in GM Kyle Walters and head coach Mike O'Shea, the club was thrilled when Miller landed in their laps after his release from Edmonton. Miller hasn't missed a game in three seasons with Winnipeg, has averaged 23 special teams tackles over that span and in 2019 was named the team's Most Outstanding Canadian and Most Outstanding Special Teams Player.

"I still think about getting him here and shocked that we were able to get him," said O'Shea on Saturday. "He's a great teammate, he understands the game of football, he's a great mentor in the running back room and for special teams he's always helping somebody out and taking control of situations. There's nothing not to like about him."

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/24/im-just-happy-back-playing-football-miller-verge-cfl-record/
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« Reply #89 on: July 25, 2021, 03:42:49 PM »

Day 16

Ed Tait
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Tough to see: @Wpg_BlueBombers
 WR Blake Jackson just left practice on a cart after suffering an injury. He was having an excellent camp.
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« Reply #90 on: July 25, 2021, 07:55:40 PM »

Day 16

Quick Hits | TC July 25, 2021 - Ed Tait

5 Quick Hits on Day 16 of Blue Bombers training camp:

1. OUCH REPORT: A tough scene near the end of practice on Sunday when WR/KR Blake Jackson dropped to the turf while in motion toward the backfield in the offensive period. He had to be helped off the field and was then taken back to IG Field on a cart.
Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea did not have an injury update on Jackson immediately after practice.
A converted D-III quarterback who spent some time with the Cleveland Browns, Jackson is certainly in the mix for a roster spot.
We did write a feature on him earlier in camp and that story is here:

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/17/quite-road-jackson-pursues-pro-dreams-receiver/

The Bombers return all their starting receivers from the 2019 Grey Cup in Darvin Adams, Kenny Lawler, Nic Demski, Drew Wolitarsky and Rasheed Bailey, but with Adams and Bailey not participating over the last couple of days many of the new faces in camp, Jackson among them, have been getting a lot of work with the starting offence. A couple of those newcomers continuing to stand out, aside from Jackson, are Carlton Agudosi and Kelvin McKnight.

2. HOME AGAIN: The Bombers will not practice on Monday and when they return on Tuesday the session will be held at IG Field and not the Winnipeg Soccer Federation soccer complex adjacent to the stadium. The club had been out of their home for the start of training camp with the Canadian Premier League's 'Kickoff' event being staged there. Now that that portion of the CPL schedule is complete the football lines will be painted back on the turf.
"It?s certainly going to be nice," said O'Shea of the return to their field. "The transition times will be a little smoother for the players. I think they're excited. I mean, you see players going back and forth to lunch and they're videotaping the stadium because it's a beautiful building and a great place to play. It's always nice to be in your home. Hopefully the CPL soccer event was a success and now they're gone so we can get our field lined and get back into our normal surroundings."

Practices will remain closed to the public because of health protocols.

3. FYI: Another solid day for the kickers with both Marc Liegghio and Tyler Crapigna ending that part of the practice session each nailing 48-yard field goals... O?Shea was asked again on Sunday about scrimmages, as some other CFL teams have had intra-squad games. ?Every time we run a competitive period it?s a scrimmage,? he said. ?We?ve had officials at practice, we?ll have officials again later this week. We run scenarios or that kind of understanding in the huddle. What?s missing is the transition to special team in between, but we?ll take care of that. It doesn?t have to be a full game-like deal.?? Here's O'Shea when asked about having a veteran squad but reaching the point now in camp where a newcomer might be able to steal a job away from an established player: "I mean, I guess it's always possible. I do believe we take those evaluations seriously. We still have several reps left. We?ve got (July) 27, 28, 29 to practice (before Week 1 preparations begin) and that?s why I wanted the guys to get a little big of a mental break from the field and a physical break so that the next three days of practice they can show us again what they're made of."... WR/KR Janarion Grant on what he could bring to the offence: "I can bring a lot of things... sweeps, catching the ball. I know I'm just labelled as a special-teams guy, but I know with my arsenal I'm a wide receiver first and then special teams. But all together I love everything."

4. HIGH MOTOR: O'Shea was asked about DT Ezekiel Rose, one of the talented import defensive tackles trying to land a spot behind starter Steven Richardson. Rose finished up his college career at West Virginia after spending time at East Mississippi Community College where that team was featured in the Netflix series 'Last Chance U.' Rose's story, FYI, wasn't one of those told during the show.
What has been noticeable is how the big man - listed at 6-2, 276 - gets up and down the field.

"He can run all day. Zeke, for a man his size, he's right in the running there with Jermarcus Hardrick, Geoff Gray and Jonathan Kongbo as the first big man down the field the farthest. I would put him up there with those three guys who help drive practice from a big man standpoint. Besides that, Zeke is a super-likeable guy and it's phenomenal to watch him as an athlete how effortless it is for him to run/ sprint 40 yards after a ball after an incomplete pass (the defence is trained to scoop up any loose ball) downfield and then get right back in the huddle. That's the thing that catches your eye right away."

5. SMART DUDE: Bombers OL Geoff Gray used his time away from the game in 2020 to complete his Masters in Mechanical Engineering. We'll let him explain his field of work: "What I work on is computer simulation for multi-fitted flow problems. So, what I'm looking at is an airlift pump which is used industrial applications. Basically it's looking at you have a column of water and you inject air in the bottom and that creates a buoyant effect which creates motion. It's studying that and looking at the physics that are occurring in that."
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« Reply #91 on: July 26, 2021, 03:39:23 AM »

"I'm here to work" | Demski confident, prepared - Ed Tait

They are scenes which have played out repeatedly over the days of Winnipeg Blue Bombers camp?

Nic Demski latching onto a pass over the middle; Nic Demski catching a strike down the sidelines; Nic Demski finding a crease on a sweep.

Rinse and repeat, day-in and day-out.

"It's been a pretty good training camp," said Demski in a media Zoom call on Sunday. "For me, everything I know in this offence I'm just trying to take one step further and be a couple steps ahead of the game - just knowing what everyone is doing out there and helping out the younger guys and then making plays, of course. I've been working hard these past however many months we had off, so I'm just happy that?s all coming to fruition."

Rewind to November of 2019 and Demski, the Winnipegger and University of Manitoba product, had transformed into a dangerous offensive weapon before the eyes of anyone who followed the Bombers or the Canadian Football League. It wasn't that 27-year-old hadn't been productive prior to that - in his two years as a Bomber he had 103 receptions for 1,097 yards and 60 carries for 395 yards and nine touchdowns over 34 games.

But in the Grey Cup run of 2019 Demski found that proverbial next gear. Over his last four games - including three playoff contests - he had 13 receptions for 170 yards and another eight carries for 84 yards and two TDs. In short, every time he got his mitts on the ball he was a threat to score.

"That's the staple of my game, my versatility," he said. "Even that aspect of it... I feel like I can be a better player running the football, I can be a better player blocking for the next man. I feel like I can be a better receiver out there. That's what I mean about taking my game to the next level. I can do all these aspects of the game and just take it one step further."

Asked what his next level might look like, Demski offered this:

"I don?t really think about all-star team or anything like that. Next level for me... we came out and won the Grey Cup in 2019, I'd love to come in do whatever is possible for my team to win another one in 2021. That, to me, is being more of a leader on the field for the younger guys, being a leader for even the returning players in coming out here and being vocal and being confident, being fast and making more plays.

"It's taken a  lot of hard work. I feel more comfortable and this training camp and how I'm starting this year is where I left off in 2019. To me, that's how I wanted to come into training camp and to see if come into fruition... it feels great, it gives me a lot of confidence and I'm just happy my hard work is showing out there."

Demski is one a handful of veterans who hasn?t taken a day off during camp. That's by design, too, as he hardens his body for what will be a 14-game regular season following a long layoff.

"I told Osh (Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea) I'm here to work," said Demski with a grin. "I'm here to clock in and put my hours in. I've done a lot of work in the offseason. I come to football to run, I come to football to block, to catch the ball. I'm here to work and that's what I do."

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/25/im-work-demski-confident-prepared/
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« Reply #92 on: July 27, 2021, 02:03:54 AM »

Day 17

From England to Winnipeg | Oyelola's story - Ed Tait


Every player at Winnipeg Blue Bombers training camp has a 'this is how it all started' story to tell, each unique in their own details. Still, it's the origins of this tale  - what with Ayo Oyelola's introduction to the game coming while stumbling upon a YouTube video during University of Nottingham law lecture - that make it that much more distinctive than the others.

Oyelola, for those of you who haven't yet been introduced, is one of the five Global players in Blue Bombers training camp. He's a speedy linebacker who has shown a natural sideline-to-sideline range and assortment of other athletic gifts that has occasionally had observers checking their roster sheet for the details on #55 in blue. Here's the thing: the 22-year-old product of East London, England has been playing the game for only four years, ever since that fateful day when he was inspired in his university class.

"It was toward the end of a contract law lecture and I was getting a bit bored so I went on YoutTube," began Oyelola in a recent chat with bluebombers.com. "The algorithm, for some reason, took me to some highlights of Saquon Barkley (the New York Giants running back) so I watched that and thought, 'I want to try that. That looks pretty cool.'
"I've always been into power training and speed training to get as big as I can and as fast as I can. I've been doing that since I was about 13 when me and my best friend used to jump over laundry baskets in the back garden."

Oyelola had already been encouraged by some of his university colleagues to try out for the rugby or football squads - Nottingham has an American-rules football team - and after seeing the Barkley video he decided to take his shot.

"I went down to training that very night," he said. "I didn't even knock on the coach's door or anything, I just turned up at the training. And it turned out I was pretty good, so I just kept it going from there."

'Pretty good', it would seem, is a bit of an understatement. Blue Bombers GM Kyle Walters said Oyelola's game film from Nottingham was incredible, although it was difficult to gauge his abilities because of the overall skill level of the team and the league. That said, the Nottingham coaches got a sense that Oyelola might be something special almost instantly.

"I thought I wanted to be a running back or wide receiver at first," he said. "We were doing kickoff and I ran down the field and was about 10 yards ahead of everybody and they said, 'Who?s this guy?'

"A lot of people didn't understand what was going on because I had played a high level of soccer my entire life, so starting a new sport seemed a little weird. But I just knew in my heart this was something I had to take on and try.

?I think people thought, 'Oh, here he goes again changing things.' But I never got offended. I understand why people were skeptical, but if I believe in something I'm going to do everything I can to achieve it. Looking back now, it might have been a bit delusional," he added with a laugh. "But it seems like it's worked out in the end."

It turns out that Oyelola's spark of football inspiration was his second crossroads decision in just over a two-year span. At 17, he had a contract offer from the soccer squad Ebbsfleet United in National League South. He opted instead to pursue his interest in law at the University of Nottingham.

"I?m someone who if I'm not enjoying something, I'm just not going to continue doing it," Oyelola explained. "Soccer had got to the point where I was good at it, but I had lost the love for the game. I got to the point where I felt like I was doing myself a disservice, especially because I had other interests.

"I always wanted to be a lawyer (both his parents studied law) but I dreamed of being a pro athlete because I love waking up and seeing the guys grinding and being part of a team. That's my passion. I like law, I really do. But I'm 22 and your window for being a professional athlete is very short. As that passion grew I really became a full-time athlete, part-time student. I still got my law degree, but I began giving my everything to football. I've still got a long way to go, but I'm starting to see some rewards."

The next chapter - Oyelola's road from the football field in England to Winnipeg - is just as compelling as his introduction to the sport. The head office of NFL International is in London, England. James Cook, who works with the NFL's International Player Pathway Program, saw Oyelola's game film and recommended him. The timing was perfect because at that point Oyelola figured his opportunities in football were about to come to a screeching halt, as the pandemic ended an opportunity he had to continue playing in Germany.

Instead, he was worked out by the head of the NFL International Player Development Will Bryce after his exams, then performed well at a combine. Oyelola was then one of just 11 players from around the world selected to participate in the league's innovative development program where players compete for four international practice roster spots in the NFL.

Oyelola picked up an injury at that camp in Florida and wasn't at his best and didn't earn one of those spots, but that didn't stop the Bombers from grabbing him in the third round, 22nd overall, of the Canadian Football League's Global Draft this past spring.

"I didn't know where Winnipeg was," he said with a laugh. "It's incredibly wild when I think of it. Every day I wake up I think about how fortunate I am to be here.

"I love this game and the bigger field and speed of the game seem to fit my skillset. The way I look at now, I could be at a desk punching the clock. But I'm here playing the sport I love. I?m beyond blessed."

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/26/england-winnipeg-oyelolas-story/
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« Reply #93 on: July 27, 2021, 08:50:16 PM »

Bob Irving
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ArDarius Stewart has moved to the head of the receiver class among the new Blue Bombers.  He?s a 6-foot, 200 pound Alabama product who was a 3rd round pick of NY Jets. You might see him Aug. 5 at IG field as the Bombers unveil the spectacular 2019 Grey Cup banner. See you there.
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« Reply #94 on: July 27, 2021, 10:11:45 PM »

Bob Irving
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ArDarius Stewart has moved to the head of the receiver class among the new Blue Bombers.  He?s a 6-foot, 200 pound Alabama product who was a 3rd round pick of NY Jets. You might see him Aug. 5 at IG field as the Bombers unveil the spectacular 2019 Grey Cup banner. See you there.

Is this suggesting that Adams might not be healthy for Aug 5th? Is Meredith practicing?

For Stewart to make the AR, something will have to give at least in the short term. Meredith could end up on IR.
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« Reply #95 on: July 28, 2021, 01:42:12 AM »

Is this suggesting that Adams might not be healthy for Aug 5th? Is Meredith practicing?

For Stewart to make the AR, something will have to give at least in the short term. Meredith could end up on IR.

Well, Meredith can't head the class if he's not practicing, and last I heard, Rasheed Bailey was out.  So even if Adams is ready, we are probably looking at a new starting receiver.  Right now, Bob thinks its Stewart...

I think Meredith will get an IR spot, at least until he gets a chance to really showcase his stuff. 
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« Reply #96 on: July 28, 2021, 02:37:33 AM »

Day 17

"They're getting a guy that's going to do whatever he has to do for his teammates" - Ed Tait


He has a football resume that positively sparkles. And among the items that jump out from ArDarius Stewart?s list of credentials are the following:

    Winning a NCAA national championship with the Alabama Crimson Tide as a sophomore in 2015, and finishing second in receiving on the squad that year with 63 receptions for 700 yards and four touchdowns. (Current Atlanta Falcons star Calvin Ridley was first).

    Leading Alabama in receiving yardage a year later, as a junior, with 864 yards on 54 catches for eight TDs.
    And, after forgoing his senior year and opting to enter the 2017 NFL Draft, being selected in the third round, 79th overall by the New York Jets.

So, some four years later Stewart was asked Tuesday after another day of Winnipeg Blue Bombers training camp to sum up his professional career to this point.

"Basically it's been rough and tough," said the 27-year-old product of Fultondale, Al. "You know how football is... it's a man's game. It's also a business and that's something I learned growing up and going through the process. That's just what it is."

Stewart is one of a trio of receivers - along with Carlton Agodusi and Kelvin McKnight - who have really taken advantage of a recent opportunity with Darvin Adams currently injured and Rasheed Bailey just returning to practice Tuesday after a couple days of absence.

"Competitive, all the athletic ability you need to be very successful," said Blue Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea when asked to describe Stewart. "Comes well coached and the little details he needs to take care of are already ingrained in him. Then it's just a matter of him learning and making sure he's right. That came fairly quickly for him, too.

?Certainly a guy with the complete package that has a good opportunity in front of him."

The rest of the article on ArDarious Stewart is here.
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« Reply #97 on: July 28, 2021, 01:47:45 PM »

CFL Headlines @CFL_Headlines
There is ?concern? Bombers? Andrew Harris ?will not be available to play in Week 1? due to ?injury?: According to TSN reporter Farhan Lalji, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers aren?t certain star Canadian running back Andrew Harris will be ready? https://3downnation.com/2021/07/27/there-is-concern-bombers-andrew-harris-will-not-be-available-to-play-in-week-1-due-to-injury/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=there-is-concern-bombers-andrew-harris-will-not-be-available-to-play-in-week-1-due-to-injury
 
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« Reply #98 on: July 28, 2021, 02:15:43 PM »

Do we know how Augustine is doing recovering from his injury? If both Harris and Augustine are out then the workload falls to Oliveria and Borsa.

We're not exactly exactly getting much info about daily activity during practice.

The daily training camp reports are next to useless.
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« Reply #99 on: July 29, 2021, 02:36:26 AM »

Day 18

Quick Hits | TC July 28, 2021 - Ed Tait

1. KEEP THAT O-LINE ENGINE PURRING: It can't be overstated how important the Bombers returning their entire starting offensive line will be heading into 2021, especially given some of the challenges and turnover their rivals across the Canadian Football League are already experiencing with that position group.

Not only to the Bombers have veteran tackles Stanley Bryant and Jermarcus Hardrick back, they have right guard Pat Neufeld returning for a 10th season and Michael Couture settling in for his second full campaign at centre. And then there's Drew Desjarlais - the club selected him fourth overall in the 2019 CFL Draft and by the end of that summer he had settled into the left guard spot, starting 10 regular-season games and the three playoff contests.

Still just 24, Desjarlais is the youngest of the club's current projected starters.
Here's Desjarlais when asked to look back at his rookie campaign:
"It really does (seem like a dream), especially with so much time to look back on it. Such a crazy season, it was. Not starting the first games of the year and then getting thrown in there and taking over the spot and eventually playing in the Grey Cup, it was pretty surreal."
Desjarlais, who finished up his general studies degree through the help of the CFLPA during the lost season, also spoke of his comfortability between his first camp in 2019 and now.

"The difference is crazy between now and then," he said. "It's just the composure and being able to handle myself and having a greater understanding of what we?re trying to do, it was definitely a huge difference."
Asked to describe the personality of the Bombers O-line, Desjarlais was succinct.
"We've got a brand of just tough football," he said. "That's the standard that was set before I came here and l played for the Bombers. Just to follow those guys, play physical football, maximum effort at all times... I feel like I fit in well.
"The key was just playing tough. They're always going to respect maximum effort and playing toughness at the end of the day. That's what they're really counting on you for."

2. OUCH REPORT: Tough news for the Bombers and WR Blake Jackson on Wednesday, as head coach Mike O'Shea made official what many had suspected when the receiver was carted off the field near the end of practice on Sunday.
"He's done for the season, he's had surgery and he's gone home,? said O'Shea. "He tore his Achilles, unfortunately, in a walk-through type setting."
Jackson, who was having an excellent camp, is the second Bomber to be lost for the year with an Achilles injury after defensive back Mercy Maston also went down a week before him.

The Bombers injured list is shrinking as the regular-season nears. Getting a rest on Wednesday were DE Jackson Jeffcoat, FB Mike Miller, LB Kyrie Wilson and WR/KR Charles Nelson. Still on the mend are RB Andrew Harris, WR Darvin Adams, DB Alden Darby and WR Brendan O'Leary-Orange.

3. MAKE SOME NOISE:
The Bombers began preparations for what is expected to be a large crowd for the CFL's 2021 regular-season opener on August 5th by practising for a stretch on Wednesday with the pumped-in noise through the PA system.
"There's going to be certain points of the game where there's crowd noise for both sides," said O'Shea. "As much as we know that our fans are the most-intelligent fans in the league, there's going to be points in time where they're cheering on the beer snake or something like that and the next thing you know our offence is out there running plays.

"We've got to deal with the distraction. We've been good with it and over the last number of years we've been well prepared no matter what stadium we go into it and what it holds in store for us in terms of noise. We might as well go ahead and prepare for noise when the offence is out there in our own stadium, by chance. It's not that I expect it, but we've got to be prepared."

4. COUNTING DOWN: It's been a long time since fans have seen the Blue Bombers play at home, dating back to October 25, 2019 and a 29-28 over the Calgary Stampeders. We're now eight days away from a return...

5. JUST FYI:
Those fans who have already purchased tickets to the 2021 curtain raiser - and those who are going to in the days ahead - have been asking about some of the changes around game day. To that end, check out this:

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021-stadium-protocols/
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« Reply #100 on: July 29, 2021, 03:20:00 AM »

Hard to believe how good the O-Line has become over the last few years, after years of mediocre/bad QB protection and plenty of misery they've become the most dominant unit in the league.  If you would have told me they wouldn't even skip a beat after losing Chungh and Goosen in 2019, I would have been tempted to sock you in the mouth, even after losing Cody Speller they still have Gray and Eli in reserve. Hats off to Marty Costello and Bob Wylie for gradually turning the leaky ship around.
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« Reply #101 on: July 29, 2021, 03:37:27 AM »

All eyes on the backfield - Ed Tait

All eyes will remain on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive backfield right up until the August 5th season opener. As everyone waits for some official news on the status of star Andrew Harris - no update yet, FYI - this much is all but a given: whether it's Harris that gets the call as the Bombers open the 2021 season or not, the job will belong to a Canadian.

Brady Oliveira has been getting the bulk of the workload since Harris was held out of practice at the beginning of training camp and the return of veteran Johnny Augustine this week - plus the presence of rookie Kyle Borsa - means the Bombers have the depth of homegrown talent should Harris not be good to go. That's nothing against import Devonte Williams, but the options to keep the gig Canadian are aplenty.

"Anyone we bring in is very special. Devonte has been doing a great job. But, it's a Canadian league and the fact that it's a Canadian room (the running back room being dominated by Canadians)  does make it special," said Augustine during a media Zoom call after practice on Wednesday.

"Andrew Harris has done a great job in establishing that and it's just continuing to follow in his footsteps. I'm happy to say I'm proud to be Canadian and continue that tradition and be a national starter, national ratio breaker."

Augustine has seen this movie before, having so capably filled in for Harris during the 2019 season in the Labour Day Classic and Banjo Bowl. Over those two games he rushed 28 times for 173 yards and pulled in six passes for 80 yards and a TD. Asked about Augustine's love for the game - and the fact that he hasn't yet established himself as a regular - Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea chuckled and then added this:

"I don't know that there's a tailback that has established himself as a regular behind Andrew Harris. Do you know what I mean? That's like saying you're a regular kicker behind Lui Passaglia. That doesn't happen. (Augustine) cut his teeth on special teams and showed well and when he was given his opportunity (at running back) he showed really well. We like Johnny. That's why he's on our team and we know he can do a bunch of different things for us."

"It's crazy to think that I'm kind of a vet," added Augustine with a smile. "It's been three years, four years minus the cancelled season that I've been with Winnipeg and every year there's that experience factor... you can't teach experience. I feel very confident in terms of knowing the playbook for the last three-four years, just knowing the same system and all that stuff so I'm very confident, very excited come August 5th."

Oliveira, meanwhile, was a second-round draft pick in 2019 who unfortunately had his season end in just the second game with a broken ankle. He's only gotten stronger as camp progressed.

"He's had a hiccups here and there, as would any young player," said Nic Demski of Oliveira. "He's impressed me. He has a great mentality where he wants to be better, he wants to learn, he wants to be on the field and he doesn't want to take any days off. That right there just goes a long way for me.

"Attitude is half the battle and he goes out there and he's a physical player, so I know that's going to speak for itself on game day."

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/28/all-eyes-on-the-backfield/
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« Reply #102 on: July 29, 2021, 12:13:02 PM »

The Ouch Report helped boost the confidence level with the teams injuries. Augustine returning to practice is good news whether Harris is ready for game 1 or not. Oliveria and Borsa have been getting more reps in the meantime and that's good as well.
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« Reply #103 on: July 29, 2021, 01:01:25 PM »

The Ouch Report helped boost the confidence level with the teams injuries. Augustine returning to practice is good news whether Harris is ready for game 1 or not. Oliveria and Borsa have been getting more reps in the meantime and that's good as well.

I'm actually fine with Oliveria and Augustine. It will make teams respect the homerun speed of our running back again.
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« Reply #104 on: July 29, 2021, 03:15:33 PM »

I'm actually fine with Oliveria and Augustine. It will make teams respect the homerun speed of our running back again.

It fits into the succession plan. Even once Harris is entirely healthy I think we have to manage his role differently than in previous seasons. He's a 34 year old RB which is a position that takes a very physical beating.

We want him to be healthy when the playoffs arrive. In the meantime letting the other Canadians get more reps intentionally or by nature of current injury to AH is not the worst news.

Augustine showed what he could do in 2019. Looking forward to see what Oliveria and Borsa can do as well.
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« Reply #105 on: July 29, 2021, 05:52:01 PM »

I'm actually fine with Oliveria and Augustine. It will make teams respect the homerun speed of our running back again.
I thought Johnny was nothing short of outstanding last year! I think he?s actually faster than Harris. He has excellent vision and great hands out of the backfield to!!
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« Reply #106 on: July 29, 2021, 10:19:27 PM »

I thought Johnny was nothing short of outstanding last year! I think he?s actually faster than Harris. He has excellent vision and great hands out of the backfield to!!

Everyone is faster than Harris at this point :p. Speed is definitely not what makes him effective.
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« Reply #107 on: July 29, 2021, 11:44:55 PM »

Everyone is faster than Harris at this point :p. Speed is definitely not what makes him effective.

He ripped off a number of big runs last year.  Yes its all power, precision and experience now but he still has a little boost when needed.

I am excited for the new guys getting some reps but Harris still runs this show and he generally only gets better with more reps. 
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« Reply #108 on: July 30, 2021, 12:12:42 AM »

Couldn?t agree more.
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« Reply #109 on: July 30, 2021, 12:35:49 AM »

2021 Training Camp comes to an end - Ed Tait

There was a nervous excitement in Kelvin McKnight's voice, a tone that comes after nailing a job interview and then waiting for the official thumbs up from the big bosses. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers had officially wrapped up 2021 training camp when the 24-year-old Bradenton, FL product was asked to sit down for his first media Zoom session.

He spoke of the camp grind, which began with online meetings while in quarantine and then on-field work on July 10th. And when he was asked what it would mean to him to make the team - he was working with the starters on Thursday - his answer was heartfelt and provided a glimpse as to how impactful the decision could be for him.

"It would be a blessing because I've been through a lot this past year," said McKnight, who spent a year on the Denver Broncos practice roster before being released late last July. "I know what it feels like to still do everything right and still get let off. Just to be here to be in this position with this opportunity, I'm just thankful for Winnipeg for giving me a chance to showcase my talents. It would mean the world to me and my family."

Blue Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea said Thursday that the players in camp did everything they were supposed to do. First and foremost that means popping of the page to make the coaches' decisions difficult. All Canadian Football League teams, FYI, must make their final roster decisions by 9 p.m. Friday. Game day rosters will feature 44 active players, one player on the reserve list, and teams can carry an additional 10 on the practice roster, plus three Global players and also those placed on the injured list. As well, teams will have a five-man CFL taxi squad this season.

McKnight said his goal was to show his versatility - his ability to play multiple receiver positions - and to have the quarterbacks trust that he knew his playbook. To that end, he drew praise on Thursday from Zach Collaros.

"I think he's had an unbelievable camp," said Collaros. "Physically he's got all the gifts and when he's out there... he was out there with the one unit (starters) today and he has been a couple times during camp, and you don't have to worry about him knowing his splits, him knowing what play it is.

"I feel comfortable with him as the quarterback and I think those guys out there having to work with him on the outside do too. I think he's had a great camp. I think he's a great person and he holds himself to a high standard. I don't know what?s going to happen, but I've really enjoyed getting to know him the last three weeks."

Still, until the word becomes official these are nervous moments for anybody trying to crack a squad. It turns out Collaros had those emotions even after having established himself as a starter in this league.

"I can see it, I can feel it," said Collaros of the tension near the end of camp. "I think I felt that way my first three or four seasons in the CFL. I was always thinking to myself, 'What can I do after this if they cut me? What's my next move?' And I was starting and I was still 'What if I have a bad camp?' That's probably some stuff I have to deal with on my own end, but..."

Surviving the final cut is just the first step, of course. Then the grind only cranks up further as players look to hang on to their spot, either on the roster or in the starting lineup. But a player can't worry about that hurdle until the first is cleared.

"You do build relationships with a couple of these guys, but it's a business," said defensive end Willie Jefferson. "My first year being a professional (with the Houston Texans in 2013) the very first meeting I had the head coach (Gary Kubiak) told us, 'Look to your left, look to your right... in a couple of weeks this guy may not be here. So get to know him and build a bond with him.' That's just the business.

"It happens to everybody. You might think you're going to be on the team, you might think you're 'The Guy' and then the next moment you might be gone - traded, cut, whatever and then you get ready to do it all over again and try to make the team somewhere else."

Survive this cut and players who had been in the University of Manitoba Bisons dressing room, or using temporary lockers can begin to settle in to the main Bombers room. And that's no small thing, akin to landing your own cubicle or office after the most competitive job interview on earth.

"After training camp and you've made the team we're in it together," said Jefferson. "We've got one goal and we?re doing it one week at a time. We're not looking two games ahead, three games ahead. We're not looking toward the bye week. We're not looking toward the playoffs. We're looking at Week 1 and we're looking at Hamilton and we're looking to do it this the best way we can as a team. And if we can do that, then we move to the next opponent

"We don't speak on 2019; 2019 was a great time. It's over. 2021 is here and we're trying to do big things."

https://www.bluebombers.com/2021/07/29/2021-training-camp-comes-end/
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« Reply #110 on: July 30, 2021, 01:43:35 AM »

Quick Hits | TC July 29, 2021 - Ed Tait

5 Quick Hits from the final day of Blue Bombers training camp:

1. THAT'S A WRAP: The Bombers wrapped up a unique 2021 training camp late Thursday morning. The camp began with players in quarantine at a local hotel, opened on the field with four days of fitness testing and then methodically cranked up in intensity. And by the end it looked and felt like a regular camp - albeit minus one critical component: no preseason games.

The club also lost two players for the season with Achilles injuries in veteran DB Mercy Maston and WR Blake Jackson, a CFL newcomer.
Here's Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea with a big-picture take on the club's camp:

"We got a lot accomplished. I thought it was a pretty good training camp. Besides a smoke day (when a morning session was rescheduled to the late afternoon), logistically I don't think there was a lot of stuff that was unexpected. We pared down the training camp numbers as we went along a couple times and were left with some tough decisions which is ultimately what you'd like at the end of a training camp."

FYI, final roster cuts have to be made by 9 p.m. on July 30. Game-day rosters must consist of a minimum of 43 players and a maximum of 44 and include two quarterbacks and one global player.

2. OUCH REPORT: Not practising Thursday were OL Stanley Bryant, RB Andrew Harris, WR Darvin Adams, FB Mike Miller, DE Jackson Jeffcoat, LB Kyre Wilson, WR ArDarius Stewart, WR Charles Nelson and WR Cam Meredith. O'Shea said he expected Wilson and Adams to be 'available.' Harris, Adams and Meredith have missed significant time in camp.

Asked if there was a chance Harris will be back next week, he added: "We'll see. You know me, I'm always hopeful."

3. QB1 SAYS: Bombers QB Zach Collaros has now been through nine CFL training camps dating back to his rookie year in Toronto in 2012. Here's his take on the '21 version:

"It was definitely a different camp, obviously a whole different feel with all the different rules and guidelines we had to follow. Starting off with a seven-day quarantine and starting the install with the offence in your hotel room and not being able to meet your new teammates and see guys was definitely different.

"It was great getting out there on the field, nice that we brought a lot of guys back so we're not necessarily starting from scratch. But also having a lot of new guys... being able to have that first seven days for install was good for those guys and actually getting out there on the field was good for them as well. I thought Buck (Pierce, offensive coordinator) did a great job of throwing a lot of stuff at us. We pretty much have everything in and we've been working through situations here at the end.

"Probably a less physical camp than a lot of guys are used to, but we're trying to get ready for Week 1."
O'Shea, meanwhile, was asked to assess Collaros' fi'st camp with the Bombers after arriving via trade in October of 2019.
"Excellent. Excellent," he said. "He's completed a very high percentage of his passes. He's run the offence well. His communication in the meeting rooms is excellent, on the field is excellent. He's a very good leader and the leadership piece has been fantastic. I thought he's had an excellent training camp."

4. NO STONE UNTURNED: The Bombers wrapped up camp by practising just about every scenario imaginable over the last few days. On Thursday, they were even drilled on how to stand for the national anthem.

"We would have done that earlier for our home preseason game if we had had one," O'Shea explained. "So, it's on the list of things to-do and this was the day to do it. I just want to make sure the first week is complete focus on our opponent.
"In any country the national anthem is a very important thing and it means a lot to a lot of people. It's no different here. I just wanted to make sure we have a great understanding of what our expectations are and what the fans expectations are and what the viewing audience would expect to see. It's not always going to end up perfect, but if I don?t explain how we want it to go then I shouldn't be upset when I see something I don?t like."

5. QUOTABLE: Vegas has posted Grey Cup odds and other predictions from various media outlets are already filtering in as Week 1 of the Canadian Football League season approaches. And, just FYI, not many of those guesses have the Blue Bombers going back to back.
Here's Willie Jefferson when asked about those prognostications:
"It's kind of early for Grey Cup predictions. I don't know what the predictions were (in 2019) at the beginning of the season, but I'm pretty sure the Winnipeg Blue Bombers weren't picked to win the Grey Cup last year either.?
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« Reply #111 on: July 30, 2021, 01:51:37 AM »

Thanks Modadmin for all these!
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« Reply #112 on: July 30, 2021, 01:47:16 PM »

There is no scheduled practice today.  Final cut down expected today as well.
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« Reply #113 on: July 30, 2021, 04:47:49 PM »

I have to say it was a little bit of a weird camp from a fan perspective as well. It felt more difficult to get engaged without folks on here getting to attend. And of course no pre-season meant I couldn't put names to faces nor see anyone in action. I only retained a few names of noobs and so when the final roster is set I can focus on the new guys who made the team.
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« Reply #114 on: July 30, 2021, 10:46:06 PM »

Yeah agreed.
So we are starting two new DBS
Augustine at RB.
Is Grant The fifth receiver.

What's the word on Meredith?  Not impressed!  What did he practice four days"
Alright six days to go.
Super summer, pro football arguably the top two teams, friends hanging out

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