Thursday, 4 June 2015

Another Morning Mailbag for Thursday!

Here's the responses to your mailbox questions via Twitter (@lucmull95) and the Comments section...Had to save some questions cause they're getting good and I ran long on a couple of these. 

Hope this helps folks!

How do you see the Canadian Dline Battle, and the Canadians that are rotating in at camp?  And what do you think happened to Brandon Tennant?


• Having a CDN starting at one of the defensive tackle spots next to T. George is one of the ideas that the organization has been considering openly for a while now.  Thus far at camp, Rory Connop has been rotating in with the first group, depending on defensive packaging, and has done well.  Connop is a grinder who doesn’t shy away from the physical contact, but also has the foundations of a decent pass rushing nose tackle.  If you watch him from his college film, he really overpowered a lot of his competition by using his big frame and continuous foot drive.  In the pros, he’s not going to be able to get away with just out muscling opponents or throwing a rip into a guy and running him to the QB or ball carrier.  He’s learning though, and needs to keep his pads low consistently.  The best part about a guy like Rory is that if the physical tenacity is already there, a great coach like Mike Sinclair can install all the necessary extras.  You can see him balancing everything that he’s being asked to do, and the things he's been doing all of his life, eventually he’ll figure out how to execute the techniques Sinclair wants while using the gifts that he already has.  Lots of potential there, the coaches are being careful with how much they throw at him and that's huge for his development.  As long as he keeps improving, he will be able to contribute to the 2015 squad. 
• Tyler Langlais has been getting his fair share of reps during camp as well and he’s had some bright moments.  Like all young guys, the adjustment for Tyler is the speed of the pro game and absorbing the playbook that gets installed during camp.  I have it in my notes to keep an eye on him during the mock game and the exhibition game as that will have a huge impact on the way coaches look at him.  In terms of stature he's got huge legs which obviously give him a great foundation and help his centre of gravity and leverage during combat. He's used to the inside game but it moves so much faster in the CFL and he'll have to adjust quickly.  He'll be a guy that takes up two guys and plugs gaps which is definitely needed on 1st down and short yardage plays. He doesn't seem as athletic as Connop but who cares..."Learn what you do best, and do it better than ANYONE else."
Having both those guys be able to play in the middle during the year would be a blessing.  
• Dylan Ainsworth has been flying around all camp.  He’s definitely grown from year 1 to year 2 and he looks poised to make the next step.  Expectations are also high for Ainsworth.  He'll be leaned on to contribute heavily in the special teams phase of the game and right now depending on how many Dlinemen the team chooses to travel with, he may be in line for 12-15 reps a game at the beginning of the year (that's down from the 15-20 I figured at the beginning of camp). Ainsworth has learned to play the edge on 1st and short yardage downs. He sees lthe details this year, like OT indicators of run or pass, where the eyes of the Olinemen are going, and more importantly, any FB/Slot motion and intent.  He’s got to keep working the hand and footwork that Mike Sinclair preaches, they go perfectly with his athletic ability because he’s got long arms and uses them well at times already.  Dylan has the un-coachable qualities as well.  Great work ethic and a motor that doesn’t stop until the whistle blows.  He’s got a real opportunity this year, he needs to continue to impress at camp.
• After those 3 guys, number #92 Tim Agbaje has looked good.  You notice his speed when you watch him.  He’s very athletic and has put some good pass rush moves on film in the 1 on 1 drills.  The Dline is starting to get more active in terms of what they do on passing situations at camp, and #92 will catch some eyes if he uses his athletic gifts to his advantage.  Agbaje also has another year of school left as well so he may be headed back that way at the end of camp depending on the roster options.  Another year in college won't hurt, it'll give him a chance to get stronger and apply the PRO technique he's gotten here to kill it next year. Obviously, he's not thinking that way, he wants to make the team! 
• We haven’t seen much from Ryan Wellman.  He’s put on some GOOD weight since the last time Ridernation saw him, but he hasn’t really stood out.  Keep in mind, that is just from an observational stand point, and he may be doing some great technical things on film that the coaches love.  He’s another guy to watch for the mock game and exhibition games.  He’s in tough for any type of roster spot due to numbers.
• Regarding the Brandon Tennant release, I don’t think that it was one of those, “You can’t make the club in the tub” type of deals.  I think that the coaches really like what they see in some of the other guys, and have the ability to say, “Hey when you’re healthy, we’re going to try and take a look at you, but for now let’s just get you focused on rehabbing.” It’s a testament to the other guys and the way they’ve worked, but Ridernation MAY see him pop up again at some point.  Lots of guys are considered steals, and can't miss opportunities, we read about them all the time then they disappear.  That's not a shot on them, it just shows that you never know until you get a guy in camp AND see the other guys that come in with him.


What's the mentality of a Veteran during CFL camp if he knows he's on the bubble?

        • People who have heard me speak on this will think I sound like a broken record, but this is reality...The most important thing for a vet, or anyone that thinks they're on "the bubble" during camp is to NOT think about it.  As a pro one has to control the things that they are in control of.  There's nothing one can do about the competition brought into camp, what the coaches may think of you or how that competition is playing during practice.  There's nothing that one can do about the reps the coaches give them, or where one is placed on the depth chart.  The only thing that a player can control is their own performance and the things they can do to make the team. If a player is in practice telling himself, "So-and-so is doing this" or, "man so-and-so made a great catch there, I need to do something  now" then that player isn't focused on the things that they control, like play call and the guy or task in front of them.  I used to hear guys, especially during exhibition season, complain about not getting a shot, or only getting 3 plays to prove themselves. I used to say to myself, "well that's 3 golden bars of opportunity and you could make those the best 3 plays EVER in your entire life!!! You can't go out with a defeated or hurried attitude. 

I didn't always think like this and it hurt my performance.  I was fortunate enough to sit down with a coach who gave me some mental material and a real different look at the way I thought.  It's not something that everyone inherently had in them. But it can be learned...Control what you control!!!

How’s Jorgen Hus look snapping?


• Hus fires the ball out from a cannon.  Great location and speed.  Definitely punter friendly.  The thing about Long Snappers in this league is that you’d like a guy that can get down field and make tackles, or at least change the path or intention of the Punt Returner.  That’s what made Levi Steinhauer so VALUABLE!  Steinhauer attacked his special teams role with tenacity, so Hus has some big shoes to fill in that regard, but he (Hus) definitely takes care of the most important part of his job, getting the ball to the punter! 


  1. Love the articles Luc.


  2. Great work, Luc. Very much appreciated by Rider Nation!

  3. Easily the best CFL blog going.