Toronto – Well not too many people saw that coming. In a surprise move Winston Venable decided to retire, effectively ending his career with Toronto before it even began.
Last season the 4 year veteran out of Boise State tallied 88 total tackles and 7 quarterback sacks with Montreal.
Labelled as Toronto’s most prolific free agent signing it seemed like a perfect marriage that only got better once the Double Blue brought in Jim Popp as the team’s general manager.
So what happened? Honestly, I don’t know. Not wanting to put words Venable’s mouth maybe he just woke up and realized he didn’t have it anymore. If that’s the case his 2016 stats would suggest otherwise.
Of note it’s important to know that on the first day of training camp recently signed Marcus Ball to reps as 1st team wide-side linebacker, a position that you would think belonged to Venable.
If Ball is the starter than perhaps defensive coordinator Cory Chamblin is looking for someone with a little more speed. I also think that Rico Murray would be a candidate to fill that position as well.
With so many teams employing a five receiver set there is more pressure than ever on linebackers to cover receivers out of the back field. Both Ball and Murray you would think may be more apt to do so given their physical stature.
From last year’s squad only inside linebacker Marshall McFadden remains. Venable looked to be a replacement for Keon Raymond who was let go during the 2016 season and Thomas Gordon who was released in April after starting 12 games for Toronto in 2016.
Though rumours persist that another former Allouette Bear Woods is a likely Argo he too plays inside and would compete for the spot currently owned by McFadden.
Can McFadden move to the outside? He may not have a choice if Toronto does sign the 2016 East Division Most Outstanding Player in Woods.
Roster changes are a part of life in professional football. There were questions going into Argo training camp and now three days in they have one more.
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