Dave Rowe: It’s not personal, It’s just business for the Calgary Stampeders
Around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, a large group of Calgary Stampeders will shuffle off the field after the final practice of training camp.
On Sunday afternoon, a considerably smaller group will gather for the first practice of the new season.
It’s the time of year players dread and general managers don’t enjoy. Men who have made football their lives will be told they’re not good enough for this level – or past their prime. They’ll be thanked for their service and let go. Great game; lousy business.
John Hufnagel will have some decisions to make, starting with one surplus quarterback.
The consensus among camp observers is that Mitchell Gale will be the odd man out after a shaky performance in Sunday’s pre-season test in Edmonton.
Who’s number two? My guess is Andrew Buckley, as he knows the CFL game better than Ricky Stanzi.
The offensive line was a big question mark going into camp. But, I think that question has been answered with a four-national lineup bracketing Ucambre Williams, who can hold down the centre spot until Pierre Lavertu can get healthy.
On defense, I can’t see a clear winner in the battle of newcomers at defensive end.
The loss of Cordarro Law for the year creates an opening – is Kingsley Ibeh the man to fill it?
Maleki Harris has made the most of his chance at linebacker, with Deron Mayo out because of injury. He’ll slide into the spot vacated by the departed Glenn Love.
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None of the newcomers in the defensive secondary have done enough to knock any of the starters out of their spots.
Looking at this year’s draft picks, frankly I’m a little disappointed.
Randy Colling was a surprise first-round pick, but he spent the early days of camp on the sidelines waiting for a knee brace and is playing catch-up.
Others like Julan Lynch, Tunde Adeleke and Richard Sindani have shown flashes, but all have school options left and would be better served there.
The Stampeders start the season strong across the board, but maybe a little thin if the injury bug bites early and often.
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