The Toronto Argonauts were back on the field for day two of training camp at the University of Guelph. The CFL is officially back to the business of football. And the new look 2021 Boatmen have less than four weeks to make every day count as they set sail towards their season-opening game at Calgary on August 7th.
New Look Argos Get A New Shane Richards
One of the concerns with a two-year layoff heading into training camp for CFL teams is the conditioning and health of its players. One of the biggest questions for franchises like the Toronto Argonauts was would the extended time away for players from their teams create complacency.
In the case of former No. 1 overall pick, Shane Richards, the Argonauts are seeing a new man, who is almost unrecognizable from the last time, Toronto fans saw him. Richards, the former Oklahoma State product, weighed in at nearly 360 pounds back in 2019, and although the teams’ website lists him now at 325, Richards now weighs 280 pounds.
After missing ten games in 2019, due to a groin injury, the then 350 pound Richards decided to rededicate himself; following a strict regimen of heavy training, a new diet, and boxing, Richards has shed a considerable amount of weight, over 70 pounds, in an effort to optimize his performance on the field. The early depth chart for the Toronto Argonauts on offence has the former Oklahoma State standout backing up Jamal Campbell at right tackle, but 2021 could be the time for Shane Richards to finally realize the potential that made him the Argos first overall pick in 2019.
Day Two Toronto Argonauts Training Camp Notes
- High profile Argos acquisitions, LB Henoc Muamba, WR Ricky Collins Jr. and OL Philip Blake all practiced for the first time on Sunday, after sitting out day one. Several Argonauts, including the aforementioned three made their practice debuts after being in extended quarantine.
- Another day and another opening created on Toronto’s roster, as the team announced that Canadian player DL Fabian Foote was placed on their suspended list. Foote is the fourth Canadian player on defence in the last two days that has been officially subtracted from the Argonauts roster for the time being. Joining DB Robert Woodson and linebackers Nelkas Kwemo, and Nick Shortill. The departure of these four CDN players will create opportunities for some of Toronto’s younger players like LB Trevor Hoyte, LB Jack Cassar, and others to not only make the teams final roster but perhaps carve out key roles as contributors when the season starts.
- One of the newcomers on defence that has stood out thus far on the American side is DB Davontae Merriweather. The former West Texas A&M has flashed in his first two days in camp making plays with several knockdowns in coverage. Merriweather signed with the Argos back in December of 2019 after starring for the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. The 6’1 205 former track and field star out of California was named the IFL Defensive Player of the Year, with 103 tackles and four interceptions back in 2019. In a crowded defensive backfield, the odds are against Merriweather making the Argos roster but so far he has helping his chances.
- Day two of practice saw both top quarterbacks, Nick Arbuckle and McLeod Bethel-Thompson split reps again at quarterback. All reports thus far indicate that both players have looked sharp. But on an overcast day with some light rain, it was reportedly the Double Blue’s defence gaining advantage on Sunday during the teams skelly sessions. (essentially a live scrimmage with no linemen)
- Two key components in the Argonauts passing game in 2021 will be Juwan Brescasion and DaVaris Daniels. Both players are poised to have breakout seasons in an offense that they are very familiar with. The former Stamps teammates are flying under the radar. Both players have looked very good in the early stages of camp and their experience playing under HC Ryan Dinwiddie and with QB Nick Arbuckle in Calgary should help the Argos as they prepare for week one against the Stampeders in 26 days.
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