Checking Down: News & notes from training camp

TORONTO — As teams work their way through the first full week of training camp, the rust is being shaken off and being replaced with chemistry. Teams are getting hungry for some meaningful competition and while that’s still almost three weeks away, actual, meaningful football games are on the horizon. It’s an exciting time. It’s time to Check Down on the latest from CFL training camp:

Jump to team:

BC LIONS

Michael Reilly gets into the swing of things on Day 1 of the Lions’ camp in Kamloops, BC (Photo: BCLions.com)

— A primer on a Lions’ team that’s drastically different than the one that left the field in 2019 (Dave Naylor, TSN.ca)

— Rick Campbell and Kelly Bates like what they’ve seen from their o-line this week, which is a good sign (J.J. Adams, Postmedia)

— 2020 first overall pick Jordan Williams is learning on the fly in Kamloops and enjoying the ride (J.J. Adams, Postmedia)

— Lions rookie DB Nydair Rouse survived being shot in the head in 2016. He recovered, finished his college career and has worked to turn the terrifying event into a positive (BCLions.com)

EDMONTON ELKS

After establishing himself as a great returner in Calgary, the Edmonton Elks hope that Terry Williams can bring them some special teams success (Photo: GoElks.com)

— Could the Elks have finally found an answer in their return game? Could it be Terry Williams? (Gerry Moddejonge, Postmedia)

— We’re learning early on that Elks head coach Jaime Elizondo isn’t a fan of the fisticuffs. (Gerry Moddejonge, Postmedia)

Kenny Stafford loves him some yeg. He’s back with the Elks for the third time in his career, with an assist on the signing to Trevor Harris. (Dave Campbell, 630 CHED)

— We’ve got three fresh faces vying to be Trevor Harris‘ backup. That could be something to watch this season. (Terry Jones, Postmedia)

CALGARY STAMPEDERS

— The Stamps have more questions on their roster than in years past, but history shows they can fill voids better than anyone else in the league. (Dave Naylor, TSN.ca)

— To that end, the Stamps’ o-line will admit it’s young, but doesn’t want to hear about it being inexperienced. (Danny Austin, Postmedia)

— An early camp standout? Rookie receiver Luther Hakunavanhu. (Danny Austin, Postmedia)

SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS

— You can bet that Jason Maas is ready to roll out his offence in Saskatchewan. (Rob Vanstone, Postmedia)

— Receiver Jordan Williams-Lambert will miss up to 10 days as he recuperates from a cut on his hand that he suffered in Tuesday’s practice. (Rob Vanstone, Postmedia)

— Former NFL first-round pick Paxton Lynch is trying to land on the Riders roster. His success in the league could be a game-changer. (Matt Cauz, CFL.ca)

— With permission from provincial authorities, the Riders will welcome fans back to the stands for training camp, starting Saturday. The Riders’ intra-squad scrimmage on July 24 will be open to the public as well. (Postmedia)

WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS

Andrew Harris will be well-rested when the Bombers host the Ticats for the season-opener on Aug. 5, after sitting out up to two weeks through training camp (Photo: Bluebombers.com)

— As you read this, Bombers’ RB Andrew Harris could miss up to another 10 days of training camp. Coach Mike O’Shea says Harris will be ready when he’s needed.

— The Bombers’ season-opener on Aug. 5 will be at full capacity, the province of Manitoba announced this week.

Willie Jefferson is, understandably, elated to be back in Winnipeg to finally start defending the Bombers’ Grey Cup title.

HAMILTON TIGER-CATS 

The most interesting position battle in the league enters its second week in Hamilton, with Jeremiah Masoli and Dane Evans competing for the starting QB gig (Ryan McCullough/Hamilton Tiger Cats)

— The friendly QB battle continues in Hamilton, as Jeremiah Masoli and Dane Evans chase the No. 1 job for the Ticats. Coach Orlondo Steinauer is staying quiet on any kind of decision at this point. (Dave Naylor and Farhan Lalji, TSN.ca)

— Veteran o-lineman Chris Van Zeyl is in his 14th training camp and still loving the grind. (Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press)

Don Jackson has brought his on-ground dominance and musical tastes to Hamilton, where he wants to maximize both. (Steve Milton, Hamilton Spectator)

— A good note at the bottom here on another competition in camp that’s perhaps overshadowed by the QBs: The kickers. (Louie Butko, Ticats.ca)

TORONTO ARGONAUTS

Coach Ryan Dinwiddie and the Argos staff will continue to evaluate a talented training camp roster over the final two weeks of training camp (Photo: Argonauts.ca)

— The Argos coaches and execs will have some tough decisions (the good kind of tough) to make about their offence in the next couple of weeks. (Don Landry, CFL.ca)

— Dave Naylor and Farhan Lalji quickly mention the Argos’ QB battle, where McLeod Bethel-Thompson will give Nick Arbuckle a push for the starting job (TSN.ca)

Jamal Campbell has evolved into a veteran leader on the Argos’ offensive line. In his fifth season, he’s now showing the team’s young o-linemen the ropes. (Mike Hogan, Argonauts.ca)

— Coach Ryan Dinwiddie is getting impatient waiting on receiver Martavis Byrant to join training camp. (Justin Dunk, 3DownNation)

— Defensive end Shane Ray is loving being back on the football field, after a wrist injury derailed his NFL career in 2017. (Frank Zicarelli, Postmedia)

OTTAWA REDBLACKS

Matt Nichols and the REDBLACKS have gotten to work on building chemistry in the first week of training camp in Ottawa (Jon Halpenny/Ottawa REDBLACKS)

— Dave Naylor and Farhan Lalji break down the changes in Ottawa and if Paul LaPolice and Matt Nichols can make some magic for the REDBLACKS. (TSN.ca)

— After a few good days of work in camp, R.J. Harris joined TSN 1200 to talk about how much he’d missed TD Place. (OttawaRedblacks.com)

— Rookie QB Taryn Christion is settling in nicely to his CFL orientation. (Tim Baines, Postmedia)

— The REDBLACKS brought Frank Beltre and Daniel Omara off of the suspended list on Thursday (CFL.ca)

MONTREAL ALOUETTES

— Former NFLer Datone Jones wants to finish his football career on a high note in Montreal. (Herb Zurkowsky, Postmedia)

— Also of note in the previous story, receiver Quan Bray will join the team when he completes his quarantine. (Herb Zurkowsky, Postmedia)

— Japanese running back Taku Lee is adjusting to the speed of the CFL game and enjoying playing football in North America. (MontrealAlouettes.com)

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