The Stamps went through their final walk-through practice this morning in preparation for Friday night’s pre-season finale in Regina without one very prominent player.
Veteran slotback Ken-Yon Rambo was receiving treatment for a leg injury, and would have to be considered questionable for the game.
As I suggested in this space earlier in the week, that will not help his argument for a spot on the roster once it’s declared on Saturday night (the Stamps have until 8 p.m. MDT to name their 46-man active roster along with their seven-man practice roster and their one- and nine-game injured lists).
When healthy, Rambo is a star receiver in this league, an 80-catch, 1,200-yard playmaker. The problem the past couple of seasons has been staying healthy, and missing both pre-season games tells you something.
“It’s not a good thing, but I’m not going to read into it right now,” said Stamps coach and GM John Hufnagel earlier today.
But the simple fact is that both Landan Talley and Marquay McDaniel have played well in camp and both are returners. That, combined with the limited space available to the Stamps to keep import receivers, makes Rambo’s position tenuous. And that’s terrible to say. He has been a terrific pro throughout his career with the Stamps, always gracious, always accessible, always supportive of his team. This can’t feel good for him, nor does it feel good for his long-time teammates.
One can only hope for Rambo’s sake that he can find his way onto the field tomorrow night in Regina and prove that he still has something to offer to this team.
Hufnagel suggested on Thursday that Drew Tate and the starting offence will play the first half at least tomorrow night, which has been his standard operating procedure for the final pre-season game. And, by the way, there’s no guarantee that all four quarterbacks will get on the field so that will be worth tracking.
As for the kicking, it appears to have been settled that Rene Paredes will be doing all of the placekicking and Rob Maver will handle the punting.
And while I truly believe most of the decisions have been made on the 10 or so players that will need to be cut on Saturday, Hufnagel conceded the opportunity still exists for a player to change his mind tomorrow night, and that’s what makes this game so interesting.
My key battles to watch:
— Centre, between Jon Gott and Mark Dewit
— Defensive end, between Kenny Pettway and Chris McCoy
— Linebacker, between Joe Lobendahn and Deron Mayo
It should be an interesting night in Regina.