Main Training Camp Comments and Discussion

Started by ModAdmin, May 06, 2023, 05:06:19 AM

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Throw Long Bannatyne

Quote from: kkc60 on May 22, 2023, 04:38:18 PM
the churn at receiver continues. I?m sure there?s a shot some of these guys get a PR spot or maybe even another TC spot later this season or next, there?s only so many position openings and only so many snaps to go around. Harrison spent most of last season here, so what he brought is pretty known among the staff.

Always need extra Import receivers and DB's kicking around for backup purposes, they often come and go without much fanfare.


Preseason gives a chance to see how WR's and RB's adapt to the waggle.  That's a huge thing, looking at a guy like Schoen, who shines with the waggle, but can't get a sniff in the NFL.  Finding the next Schoen means running lots of players through the paces...
Unabashed positron.  Blue koolaid in my fridge.  I wear my blue sunglasses at night.  Homer, d'oh.


Quick Hits | Training Camp - Day 9

Notes and quotes from Day 9 of Blue Bombers training camp...

COMINGS/GOINGS: The Blue Bombers added one receiver and released another on Monday.

Coming aboard is Amare Jones (5-11, 195), who spent the last two years at Georgia Southern after beginning his college days at Tulane. Jones started six games last year, catching 35 passes for 483 yards and six touchdowns while also returning punts. He was named to the All-Sun Belt Conference First Team in 2021 and in 2019-20 he finished with 1,611 all-purpose yards, ranking seventh in program history.

Released was Tavaris Harrison, who dressed for five games last year in a reserve roll. Harrison hadn't practised the last couple of days after picking up an injury.

As for Jones, he is being thrown to the wolves here quickly with camp already over a week old - close to two weeks old for rookies. Asked what he liked about him, head coach Mike O'Shea offered this:

"I don't know yet. We see him as a returner. We have to see how quickly he can get up to speed. Today we throw him in there, Kevin Bourgoin (receivers coach) is standing with them and telling as he breaks the huddle what routes he's got to run.

"Obviously, he's quick. He's got some speed and versatility and we can use him as a returner, but it was his first day on the field. Sometimes you have to temper that and see how quickly they can get up to speed. It's probably easier to put him in as a returner than it is to put him in offence until we see how quickly he can learn."

Darrell Davis, the hall of fame writer from Regina, is visiting Winnipeg and popped into to practice on Monday. He asked O'Shea after practice if the Blue Bombers quest for a fourth straight berth in the Grey Cup and a third championship is a topic tossed around during camp.

"Nothing like that gets talked about. Not with me. We don't say it as coaches. We don't talk about it in the room," said O'Shea. "That's a great question for the players as to what their mindset is. The hope is that we've moved well past that. That was supposed to be sorted out in the offseason."

O'Shea offered a solid answer to the follow-up question asking if 'revenge was a swear word.'

"Revenge on who? Teams are different," he said. "The young guys that are new on our team right now, the young guys that are going to be on our team for Week 1 - whoever those guys are - they know nothing of that. So, I don't know why we would saddle them with that. They're here trying to figure out our game, figuring out how to make our team. And they need the clear focus from the vets to help them do that."

INCHING CLOSER: The Blue Bombers will break up the routine of training camp this weekend in Edmonton with the first preseason game against the Elks. O'Shea talked Monday about the plan for playing time for the players who make that trip.

"Too early to talk about that," he said. "We're going to speak in the next couple of days about how we want to the roster to take shape in that first preseason game. In terms of the number of reps you want someone taking, it's really interesting - you can go in with that sort of plan and then you don't get the ball, or you only have it for a little bit or you score very quickly. We always have plans, and then the game starts and so I don't know that a specific rep count is how we would look at it."

As to how a player could maximize his opportunity in what is a short camp, he added:

"Cheat. It's funny, but Orlondo Steinauer (Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach) and I have talked about this quite a bit... Brandon Alexander would be a good example. He just steals all the reps he can. Steinie was a guy who was not letting somebody take his reps either.

"Then as training camp goes along you have to keep making plays and if that taking some risks to make a play, sometimes you have to do that. You still have to let the coaches know you that you understand the system and are going to play within the system, but for a lot of guys you need to make plays. If you go the whole camp and you don't make a play it would be hard to for somebody to say, 'Yeah, I really noticed this guy. I really like what he does.' It's a tricky one, but you've got to put yourself in position to make those plays and then you've got to make them when they come your way."

OLD SAYING: Long-time Blue Bombers coach Cal Murphy used to quip during training camp that a player ?can?t make the club from the tub.' Translation: a player injured for too long won't make the squad if he's not practising.

"It's an old saying for a reason. It's old," said O'Shea when asked about it Monday with respect to the group of walking wounded. "The amount you look after your players has changed compared to whenever it was. There's a reason there's a CBA now because a long time ago if they thought you had a hangnail they'd get rid of you. It's changed for a good reason. The health and safety and wellness of the players has got to be paramount."

What then becomes a challenge is making sure players get a fair evaluation before the final roster cuts.

"There's just so many variables that go into it," O'Shea said. "I think we try to be very fair, it just doesn't mean it's equal for each guy depending on the (position) group they're coming from and the number of players that are in that group and how we have to practice. You'd love for (camp) to be at a pace where you could really make sure you weren't taxing the guys to the point where they get injured. You'd also love for everybody to come into camp in the kind of shape that they could handle volume, but that's not the case - in either way."

FYI: Former Blue Bombers DL Jonathan Kongbo, a member of the club in 2019 and 2021 before signing with the Denver Broncos, signed on the weekend with the B.C. Lions. O'Shea: "Happy for him. I wish he was still down south. We always want to see the guys we have a lot of history with do well."

NEXT: The Blue Bombers practice Tuesday at IG Field from 8:30 - 11:30 a.m.
"You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one." - John Wooden


Jones has 4.45/4.55 40 speed. Can play RB, WR, return punts and kickoffs. Little bit of a swiss army knife.
Don't go through life looking in the rearview mirror.


Quote from: Pigskin on May 23, 2023, 04:19:55 AM
Jones has 4.45/4.55 40 speed. Can play RB, WR, return punts and kickoffs. Little bit of a swiss army knife.
He will be a really exciting player to watch if he sticks around. Seems like a guy who has the talent and heart but has been overlooked for some reason...


Ed Tait

Good morning for Sergio Castillo in the FG department at @Wpg_BlueBombers training camp, including hitting a 58 yarder
"You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one." - John Wooden


Don't go through life looking in the rearview mirror.


Vikings sign EX-bomber, Lucky Jackson. Jackson was with the Bombers for the 2022 TC.

Lucky had 36 catches for over 500 yards and 5 TDs with DC Defenders this season.
Don't go through life looking in the rearview mirror.


Ex Bomber?  Only Lucky I remember was Whitehead.

Blue In BC

Quote from: NewBlue on May 24, 2023, 12:34:44 AM
Ex Bomber?  Only Lucky I remember was Whitehead.

He never made it out of TC and had suffered an injury. That resulted in him being released.
2019 Grey Cup Champions


Quick Hits | Training Camp - Day 10

Notes and quotes from Blue Bombers training camp on Day 10...

GETTING CLOSER: Saturday's preseason game in Edmonton is inching closer and with that the opportunity to lock up some work for veterans and fresh faces.

Quarterback Josh Jones, a first-year pro straight from Division II University of North Carolina-Pembrooke, is one of those new players trying to make a good impression.

"I'm excited. It will be a good opportunity to get out there and get some live reps," Jones said Tuesday after practice. "I've been doing the training camp life for 2-2 1/2 weeks now and so it'll be exciting to get out there, go against another opponent and get my feet wet in a CFL game."

Blue Bombers Assistant GM/Director of Player Personnel Danny McManus saw Jones in the FCS National Bowl in Daytona Beach, Fla. and that earned him an invitation to one of the team's free-agent camps in Atlanta in late April. A couple days later he got a phone call from the club with a rookie camp invitation.

"I feel pretty good about where I'm at right now, but there's still a ways to go," said Jones, who started for five years at UNC-Pembrooke, including as a freshman. "I think I've come in here with that mindset and I think I've taken another step each day. That's my goal: to come out here and get one percent better, one play better, each day. Learn from my past mistakes the next day and if I do that I think I'll stack up some pretty good things.

"That's part of the journey - you get an opportunity and you try to make the most of it, so that's what I'm doing. I don't what I'd be doing, but I'm glad I don't have to worry about that right now. So, I'm getting ready for Edmonton. I'm super-grateful to be here, for sure."

There's a route to a roster spot with the Blue Bombers as a third-down/short yardage specialist with Jones battling Towson State product Tyrrell Pigrome.

"Different quarterbacks, obviously," said head coach Mike O'Shea. "Josh has the ability to get through the read quickly and get rid of the ball. And Piggy is super-athletic and can use his feet to really extend plays and he's got a really strong arm, too. They're both different and they're both trying to have a better understanding of the CFL game with the extra defender and the receivers with the Waggle and all that stuff. But they both seem to be picking it up fairy quickly."

Asked what the coaching staff would like to see from them Saturday and through the rest of camp, O'Shea said:

"You want to see growth in training camp and you want to see them in the meeting area to continue to learn and grow. You want to see them be able to put that on the field - take what they can do well in practice and put that on the field. From a coaching standpoint, our coaches are going to give them some things that they are good at and give them some things that will challenge them to see if they've learned. You certainly want them to have some success out there and give them some positivity so they can grow further from that, too.

A number of players did not practice or were limited on Tuesday including Jackson Jeffcoat, Adam Bighill, Brady Oliveira, Cam Lawson, Greg McCrae, Tui Eli, Marc Liegghio, Konner Burtenshaw, Desmond Lawrence, Winston Rose and more. Asked if he could sense players getting excited about Saturday's game, O'Shea said:

"Right now, they need rest. They need a few days to recuperate. I think they're a little bit tired right now. In a couple of days if you ask that question they would absolutely be looking forward to seeing a different opponent."

O'Shea on Ricky Walker, who headed into camp as the leading candidate to replace Casey Sayles, who signed with Hamilton in free agency: "Athletic. Strong. Fits with the guys. Has been here and knows what we're doing - all those things add up to him being able to get in there and do it. And he has for us. He's been out there and made plays for us for two years now."

The Elks will be playing their second preseason game on Saturday after opening with Monday's game in Calgary in which many of their starters did not dress. Asked if that might impact the Blue Bombers roster this weekend, O'Shea was straightforward:

"We've got a plan. We know what we want to do. We'll execute our plan regardless of opponent, place, whatever."

The Blue Bombers practice on Wednesday from 10:45 a.m. - 1 p.m. at IG Field. All practices are open to the public.
"You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one." - John Wooden


"This game has brought me so much"

It's a story that begins in Sierra Leone with a mother fleeing the civil war there in 2001 with her youngest son alongside, but her oldest left behind.

It features stops in Ohio, in Germany and now in Winnipeg. And surely there's a movie or a Netflix series just waiting to be made about Abu Daramy-Swaray one day, even as he hopes to add another chapter by making an impression with the Blue Bombers during training camp.

Most of all, this is a story about perseverance and about drive, and how surviving and fighting through so much adversity can provide a 26-year-old defensive back an all-star perspective.

"This game has brought me so much," began Daramy-Swaray in a chat with this week. "I've been in three different countries now to play football. I played American football, played football in Germany and now I?m trying out in the CFL.

"I'm extremely blessed with this opportunity and to be around this winning organization. I just want to keep it going."

Those are two words Daramy-Swaray uses constantly ? 'blessed' and 'opportunity' - and given what he's had to overcome just to get to Blue Bombers camp, they say so much about his outlook on life. Let's try to do this justice with some background here...

Daramy-Swaray was born without his father. A diamond dealer in Sierra Leone, he was killed in the war when his mother was six months pregnant with him. When his mother fled five years later, she had to leave her oldest son behind with her extended family to care for him. Nine years later they were reunited.

"It was one of those things where my mom did what she had to do," said Daramy-Swaray. "I know if she could have had it differently, she would have brought us both. Those nine years of her life... I watched it eat her alive. She would go back and visit him from time to time while he stayed with her brothers and sisters.

"It was difficult because I love my brother so much and we didn?t really get the chance to have a childhood together and grow up together. We had to start late with that, but I?m glad in the last few years we?ve both become a lot closer with him now in Ohio.

?All that has been difficult, but I've accepted it and understand now it's for the best because of everything my mom taught me from a woman's perspective. And being in the world without a father has allowed me to see the world through a completely different lens."

Incredibly, there are even more layers to his story. A star during his days at Colgate University as a defensive back, returner and part-time contributor on offence, Daramy-Swaray was hoping for an NFL mini-camp opportunity in 2020. And then, as we all well know, the global pandemic turned so many lives upside down.

He battled just to make ends meet during that period, working at an Amazon factory, as a server at a restaurant and then at Best Buy. He worked for Door Dash and he delivered pizzas.

"COVID was really bad for everyone," he said. "I'm grateful I have my health and my life because it wasn't that way for everyone. I had my own trials and tribulations."

"I tried to look at it positively. I learned a lot about myself. I learned how tough I can be and how much of a hole I can dig myself out of. I was going from job to job. But at the end of the day, I kept my head up knowing that it was eventually going to get better. There was no way I was going to put in all this work and it was going to get worse, so I kept my positive attitude.

"It was one of those moments that when you're at your lowest you really figure out who you are and what you're made of. I'm grateful for those moments because I've grown so much from them. I know that life can throw me almost anything and I'll be ready for it."

Daramy-Swaray played in Germany for the Potsdam Royals in 2021 and then had a shot with the Cincinnati Bengals and, most recently, with the Arlington Renegades of the XFL.

And now he's in Canada trying to adjust to the longer and wider field, the 'Waggle' and all the other intricacies of the three-down game that can make for a tough learning curve for defensive backs.

"It's definitely been an adjustment," he said. "It's very, very new because the game is very different to me. Luckily with a coach like JY (Blue Bombers defensive backs coach Jordan Younger) he's helped me adjust quickly and see the field differently. It's something that I've been able to piece together and luckily, we have great vets around that are holding us accountable and helping us understand what this new system is."

Critical now for Daramy-Swaray will be to try and separate himself from the pack in the two preseason games, beginning this Saturday in Edmonton against the Elks. Whatever happens, the maturity and perspective he's shown - especially over the last three-four years - will be massive for his days in the game and beyond.

"Honestly, all the credit goes to my mom," he said. "She's been through the worst. She's seen the worst and, somehow, she always keeps a positive attitude about it. That's what she's always ingrained in me - have a positive outlook and believe today is going to be better than yesterday and go out there and be the best version of yourself.

"Every day I wake up it's another blessing, especially knowing and seeing what she had to do to get me here. Every day I get to step on this field I thank God because I love it. I know there are thousands of players in the U.S. and across the world who wish they were in the position I am. I'd be selfish and ungrateful for taking it for granted and not trying to make the most out of it."
"You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one." - John Wooden

Blue In BC

We seem to have about 10 veterans nicked and not practising. I doubt any would have played in the 1st pre season game, so not an issue there. The real question is how significant are any of the actual injuries. Bighill, Oliveria, Rose, Lawrence, Jeffcoat, Eli to name a few.
2019 Grey Cup Champions


A concern for sure.

If Bighill hasn't stepped foot on the field. for him that is a big concern.
Jeffcoat and Rose?  Hmmm.  Big salaries, little playing time.  All things being equal, those guys could get cut. Younger cheaper guys.  Rose was awful last year.
Oliviera?  He had a breakout year last year.  I don't think the club thought he would be  injured.  Bur they have brought in, an American running back.
Eli?  I can hope for the guy,....but I am old school, you can't make the club from the tub.  Did he actually really play and make a contribution, or was he a turnstile.?

Speaking of turnstiles how is Gray doing?  I guess no news is good news.

Starting to get concerned about Jeffcoat.  If any of our DE's (number one draft choice) is the real deal, maybe it's bye-bye.

Pure speculation on my part.  But the Jeffcoat thing is lingering since last year, and when brought back, re-injured whatever it is, or did something new.   The age thing was not anticipated to be an issue, but.......Rose and Jeffcoat, could be in trouble.


Anybody remember a training camp when so many starters got the first week off?
Winnipeg Blue Bombers - 2019 Grey Cup Champs.