Wednesday marked Day 1 of CFL rookie camps across the league.
Around 60 players with the Edmonton Elks are taking the field through Friday morning as they compete for spots in main training camp which begins on Sunday.
Elks head coach and general manager Chris Jones says the first session had good tempo mixed in with the expected sloppiness you see during Day 1 of any organized camp session.
Jones says time is the enemy for the players as the team will need to trim their roster before training camp so that means the margin of error is small.
“We had a few cramps here and there, and I just talked to them about being a pro,” Jones said. “The reality is, 15 of these players won’t be here in three or four days so they have to give ourselves a chance to evaluate them.
“Between now and (Thursday), they have to take care of themselves so we can evaluate them truthfully as a pro football player.”
The Elks have eight quarterbacks on the roster including former NCAA National Champion and former Ohio State Buckeyes pivot Cardale Jones. The 29-year-old helped the Buckeyes to a national title in 2014 when he replaced starting quarterback J.T Barrett, who went down with a broken ankle late in the season.
Barrett signed a contract with the Elks this off-season but an injury while training will keep him out for the season. Jones was signed last week, and the former draft pick of the Buffalo Bills says he’s doing his best to learn a CFL playbook.
“I think the key in being in a situation like this is processing the information, bringing it on the field, and then executing,” Jones said. “Some things went well as planned but some things you can always touch up on (and) hope they go better next time.”
How does a team deal with eight quarterbacks on the roster? Chris Jones says it will be a challenge to all of his quarterbacks’ reps in camp.
“We have to do a good enough job of giving enough reps to see them have the ability to throw the ball, and then the off-the-field stuff becomes very important as far as who knows what we’re doing so we can challenge them mentally,” Jones said. “It’s not just about throwing the ball. It’s about getting the group in and out of the huddle, and to control the group — who can settle in and be able to manufacture offence.”
Veteran quarterbacks Nick Arbuckle and Taylor Cornelius were on the field but didn’t take part in any drill. Chris Jones says both players won’t throw until main training camp begins on Sunday.
The Elks announced the signing today of their 2022 Draft class including their two first round picks in quarterback Tre Ford and defensive back Enock Makonzo.
Rookie camp continues on Thursday morning at 9 a.m. on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium and will wrap up on Friday morning.