Tuesday, April 24, 2018
COLLAROS SHARP IN RIDER MINICAMP DEBUT
BRADENTON, FL - Message sent. Veteran Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Zach Collaros is not interested in answering any questions about the knee injury which ended his MVP-type season in 2015 with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
After the first day of the Riders' annual Florida minicamp in Bradenton on Tuesday, Collaros was asked if there's anything he needs to prove or improve in this 2-day event.
He was further asked if he needs to "test" himself physically this week.
"Test what?" Collaros answered. We subsequently reminded him of the knee injury. "That was in 2015. I feel good. That was a long time ago so my knee's good."
Nor does he want to discuss a 12-game losing streak in Hamilton, nor last year’s 0-8 start with the Ticats.
"It doesn't stick in my craw really but every interview, I get asked it," Collaros offered. "I have to continue to answer it."
As for Day 1 of the camp itself, Collaros enjoyed himself in the Florida sunshine.
"It was great!" Collaros said, quickly turning to a smile. "It was great to be back out on the football field. There's a lotta guys competing for jobs out here so it's exciting to be around. It's beautiful down here and, again, it's nice to be back out spinning the ball a little bit.
"I felt great this morning. Kind of a long day. Not for me really, but the other guys were doing a lot of running. I kind of sympathize for them. But ya, I feel good physically. Mentally, I've been in a similar offense before so I'm in a good place."
Collaros has been through many of these types of camps before, and knows what the rookies at other positions are going through.
"It's tough because they're trying to play fast, but you're also trying to learn four days of install in two days," Collaros explained. "But they've done a great job. I haven't had to do much directing. They've done a really good job. Today we gave them some cards so they knew what to do pre-snap and I'm not sure if they'll make it more difficult for them tomorrow. But they've done a real good job."
As for the man in charge, Roughriders Head Coach & GM Chris Jones was pleased with the first day of workouts.
"I thought it had a lot of energy," Jones offered. "The QBs threw the ball real well and got in and out of the huddle efficiently. That's kind of the battle first day; recognizing all the formations and the looks. The offense and QBs did a real nice job. Unfortunately we had a few guys go down today so we had to watch their legs a little bit. Defensively we found some guys that can man cover and that's what we're looking for."
Regarding the release of four veterans on Tuesday morning: OL Peter Dyakowski, OL Eddie Meredith, LB Taylor Mays and S Jeff Hecht, Jones said they are all salary cap casualties.
- The session began at 8:30 am and knocked off at 11:11 am ET.
- Our Golden Corral Player of the Day was receiver #17 Jeremy Tabuyo. The rookie from Texas A&M made perhaps the catch of the day in the 1-on-1 period. Later on in skelly (7-on-7), the 5'11", 192 lb receiver caught almost half the receptions! There wasn't much open downfield so when QBs checked down, Tabuyo was getting open and quickly earned their trust. But he's not just a possession receiver. In my notes I wrote "burner" beside his name early in the workout.
- Defensively, Jones mentioned the skills of the DB group and a few jumped out with impressive knockdowns including Drew Powell and DeAndre Smith. Registering interceptions were Jeremey Cutrer and Nick Marshall.
- Chris Jones mentioned the injuries. Going down during the session were receivers Shaq Evans, Jacoby Ford, T.J. Thorpe and DBs Rudy Johnson, Orlandus Harris and Tristan MacDonald-Douglin.
- Two running backs who stood out, and drew praise from the coaches, were #26 Wes Brown (6'0", 217 lbs) and #30 Christian Ellinson (6'0", 226 lbs).
- Receivers coach Travis Moore noted on the SportsCage that there were far too many drops and he hopes that changes on Day 2 on Wednesday.
- The QBs, in order of appearance in 1-on-1 and skelly periods were Collaros, Bridge, Williams and Watford.
- QB Coach Steve Walsh and Assistant GM Jeremy O'Day both mentioned on the SportsCage that the QBs were extremely sharp. There was a significant improvement at that position from what the rookies showed on Saturday's Play-In Day. Tuesday's QBs all have varying degrees of pro experience and it shows.
- There are no defensive linemen in this camp and only ONE offensive lineman; 6'4", 285 lb Dalton Houghton, a non-import from Minot State.
CKRM football analyst Luc Mullinder offered this assessment of Day 1:
- "The first thing you noticed is that there are some really good athletes here. The receivers are very efficient route runners. There are some DBs here that, if they continue to listen to the coaches, they've got some real potential to compete here. You look at these guys, there are a lot of converted QBs and guys from all different walks of life. They're incredible athletes."
- "One of the other things you noticed is that there weren't a lot of long balls completed during the skelly session. That shows a lot of communication amongst the DBs and they understand their assignments. The completed routes were all underneath to the slotbacks and that's good when you look at a league that flourishes if you can stop a team in 2nd-and-7+.
- "The QBs looked good. Zach Collaros had some nice touch in 1-on-1s and was very accurate. Brandon Bridge is playing with a level of confidence that is good to see. It's a different Brandon Bridge than we saw last year in spring camp so that's obviously good. The other two QBs - Williams and Watford - look like they know what they're doing and know their assignments."
Day 2 of 2018 Florida minicamp begins Wednesday at 8:30 am ET.
620 CKRM will once again be broadcasting the SportsCage at 4:00 pm ST on Wednesday live from IMG Academy.
With CFL minicamps underway across the continent, I find it hard to believe that a snippet from the SportsCage on Monday where I commented on Bo-Levi Mitchell deleting his Twitter account would make front page news.
But it did. It was an off-the-cuff remark about what a shame it is Bo is going off Twitter because he's very entertaining for CFL fans. I saw somewhere last week where he said all the negativity on Social Media these days is the reason for his decision.
Yes, I used the term "mentally weak" and that's what ended up in the 3DownNation.com headline sending Calgary fans and Rod Pedersen-haters into a frenzy. But I meant Bo-Levi could use some assistance in dealing with Twitter trolls, not necessarily on the football field. Dealing with Social Media hate is a service that I provide to athletes and public figures through Pedersen Recovery Coaching Inc. (thanks to sponsors Fine Foods, Milk2Go Sport and CJ Evans Home Designs). It can really bring a guy - or girl - down, if you let it.
The only issue I had with the 3Down article was that it didn't include the entirety of my comments. I said something to the effect of, "I can't remember the last time I let it bother me what someone said on Social Media." Because it's true.
Look -- it's very hard being on the radio everyday for 2 1/2 hours and not have an opinion. So that's my opinion on Bo-Levi's situation. No one should care, least of all him. I hope he doesn't. I'm a big fan of Bo-Levi Mitchell both personally and professionally and I think we'd get along famously if we were on the same team.
In closing, I should send a Thank You card and flowers to 3DownNation.com because over the past 24 hours I signed four more people up for my Social Media School on May 22 in Saskatoon. You can register for the event here.