With the CFL exhibition showdowns right around the corner, I promised you guys that we’d start taking a closer look at the position groups in camp, and a maybe a few of the guys you should look out for when you’re watching the games. It gets very real now for the guys who are competing for spots on this roster, and the reality of this business is that Fort Mac may be the first, and only, time some of these guys get the opportunity to put something positive on film.
I’m going to start with the Linebackers. A lot of our mailbag questions have centred on that group, understandably, and there’s definitely a lot of guys there that are competing for a shot to play alongside the cerebral veteran, Shea Emery.
The plight to replace the production of Brian Peters was on the to-do list of all the Arm-Chair GMs in Ridernation, and so far in camp, there hasn’t been a guy that has stepped up and laid claim to the vacant spot.
The fact that nobody has grabbed the reigns here is not necessarily a bad thing. Last year it looked as though Chad Kilgore owned the competition all camp for the middle spot in Richie Halls defense before he got hurt. When he ended up getting back into the fray, it never panned out. Kilgore just couldn’t catch on to certain aspects of the Canadian game. As we all know Chad is no longer with the Green and White. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good of an athlete one is, or how hard one can hit. Experience is the most valuable tool one can have in their belt. Whoever wins the open spot is going to go through a few bumps in the road.
Now the upside to this deal is that even though Shea Emery is learning a new defense himself, the Riders have someone at a crucial position that is going to be able to help navigate, whoever wins the job, through the rough patches that the CFL season entails. At least the teams new LB will have the benefit of a proven winner right there beside him. Neither Peters, Kilgore, nor Sam Hurl had that advantage in 2013.
Let’s get into it…
Jake Doughty (#50)
On Saturday the Utah State alum is going to have to prove he knows all his plays, but that really goes for everyone in that group. Individually, Doughty will need to show he can keep pace with the speed of the game. Offensive Linemen in this league really get on their horse when they are trying to stretch zone plays, and offenses can surprise a guy with what they decide to do with their RBs in the passing game. At times Doughty has been cautious when diagnosing the play in front of him and ends up having to make up for the ground that he's lost . As was first pointed, Doughty likes to play physical, but he’ll have to ensure that he doesn’t get buried into Offensive Linemen that he takes on at the second level. In order to make plays, he’s going to have to hit and then get off quickly, otherwise he risks being enveloped by the lineman and compromising his gap responsibility. Doughty will also have a full slate of Special Teams to perform on so there is definitely going to be chances for him to create some separation from the group.
Eltoro Freeman (#48)
Kevin Regimbald (#43)
Telvion Clark (#13)
Jeff Knox (#49)
So there you have it folks. Check these guys out, as well as the other LBs that round out this group. The herd should start thinning itself out after Saturday's clash. Corey Chamnlin will play the best players available. These guys get a chance to interview for why it should be them.
Hope this helps your individual notes. As always, keep the questions coming.