Don’t get too excited over Riders mini-camp

Football is back. Well, kind of.

The Riders opened their annual mini-camp in Florida today but most of the team wasn’t there and important things like helmets and pads were missing, so unless you’re Chris Jones, John Murphy or Jeremy O’Day, don’t expect to actually get a whole lot out of it. That being said, it’s still good to see some on-field activities happening as it means that the real thing is getting closer and closer.

This year, all eyes will be on Vince Young as the former University of Texas and NFL quarterback takes the field for the first time in his comeback attempt with the Roughriders. Young admitted he didn’t have the best first practice but improved during the second outing.

As there always is, there’s a small group of media that has made their way south to report on the camp, as it is newsworthy and there are good stories to be told. However, any reports of how players look, should be taken with a pretty big grain of salt. Other than the quarterbacks, most of the players are new to the CFL or to the team and you can’t really judge these players until they go head-to-head with veterans at training camp in June.

These camps, while generally not that interesting for the fans, are still an important part of the process for the teams. Every year, the team will find a few players in these mini-camps that will eventually end up on the main roster. Based on the number of players that attend the camp, it doesn’t seem like much, but with how many players are already on the roster, you only need to find a couple of gems.

Mini-camp is good for the players too. For veterans like Kevin Glenn and Brandon Bridge, it allows them to knock off some of the offseason rust and begin working on any changes that have been made to the offence over the winter. The benefit for the newcomers is obvious. They get a chance to strut their stuff and learn more about the Canadian game in hopes of landing a training camp spot with another team should they not do so with the Green and White.

By all means, soak up all of the information you can from the Riders mini-camp, it’s better than no football. Just don’t expect much of it to actually matter two months from now.

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