CFL training camps kick off a six-month adventure for the eight-team circuit, when jobs are won and lost, dreams dashed and careers launched en route to the Grey Cup game. Here are the burning questions each club will have to answer in 2010:
The focus in Toronto is squarely on the quarterback, or more specifically, the lack of one. The Argos, under new head coach Jim Barker, released Kerry Joseph and Cody Pickett, leaving relative unknowns Dalton Bell, Cleo Lemon and Ken Dorsey to fight for the starting job.
The Tiger-Cats smashed their piggy bank in the off-season to sign free-agent placekicker Sandro DeAngelis, a three-time all-star in Calgary. He’s one of the most reliable kickers in CFL history, but will the combination of a hefty contract and home-province pressure be too much for the Niagara Falls native to handle?
The Alouettes were the CFL’s best team in 2009, setting a club record for wins in a season and claiming the Grey Cup. Will 2010 be the year veteran QB Anthony Calvillo, who turns 38 this season, finally begins to show his age on a team that has yet to develop a solid backup?
WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS:
The Bombers have two new QBs in Buck Pierce and Steven Jyles fighting for the starting role. Pierce might have the edge, but a history of concussions will have Bomber fans wondering if he can provide a long-term solution in Winnipeg.
The Stamps witnessed several off-season departures, leaving some interesting battles along the offensive line. Jeff Pilon and Jesse Newman retired while Dimitri Tsoumpas jumped ship for the NFL. Can the Stamps find three new starters to protect QB Henry Burris?
Former Riders GM Eric Tillman is legendary for finding first-rate talent to replace injured stars. Will his successor, GM Brendan Taman, be on the hot seat to replace defensive linemen Stevie Baggs and John Chick, lost to the NFL, and a reliable backup QB?
Former CFL MVP Casey Printers will once again take over the No. 1 QB job in Vancouver ahead of Jarious Jackson. Only question is, after stints in the NFL and Hamilton, can Printers recapture the magic of 2004 when he passed for more than 5,000 yards with the Leos?
The Eskimos fielded the CFL’s most porous pass defence last season, forcing the team to revamp its secondary. Will the Esks adapt to those multiple changes to defend against the pass-happy offences of the West Division?
– Dan Toth has been covering the CFL for more than a decade and is a lifelong fan of Canadian football.