Pre-season scouting report

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

The 2005 Canadian Football League season is approaching as quickly as Stampeders linebacker John Grace closes in on opposition quarterbacks.

In Calgary, rookies report to McMahon Stadium Friday, the veterans Saturday, while training camp officially opens Sunday.

Meanwhile, the league's other eight teams also are making preparations for their pursuit of the Grey Cup.

Sun football writer Dan Toth presents daily scouting reports of the teams the Stampeders will face this season.

Who are the contenders and the pretenders? Who's in rebuilding mode and who needs that one final piece of the puzzle?

Moving west to east, Toth looks at the Ottawa Renegades and Hamilton Ticats today:

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TIME TO OWN UP IN CAPITAL

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RENEGADES

2004 RECORD -- 5-13,

FOURTH IN EAST DIVISION

MISSED THE PLAYOFFS

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With just five wins last year, change in Ottawa was inevitable this off-season.

While much of the attention has revolved around the controversial return of the Glieberman family to ownership, Ottawa head coach/GM Joe Paopao has also been busy retooling the lineup for the 2005 season.

Despite losing three talented free agents to Calgary -- DB Anthony Malbrough, QB Darnell Kennedy and OL Alexandre Gauthier -- the 'Gades have added some upgrades while key talents will need to step up their performances this season for a return to respectability.

Quarterback Kerry Joseph and backup Brad Banks, should they remain healthy, will give the 'Gades a solid 1-2 punch this season.

Receiver Pat Woodcock, a huge disappointment last year after signing as a free agent from Montreal, will also have to return to his previous form.

Paopao has also attempted to shore up a defence that was brutal last season with the addition of linebackers Chris Shelling and Quincy Coleman.

Regardless, the focus seems to always come back to the ownership situation as it did in a recent state-of-the-franchise conference call.

"(The owners) just give us the resources and we're responsible for getting the job done on the field," Paopao said.

"The last thing you're thinking about when you're on the field is ownership."

"It's part of life," added the former CFL quarterback. "You try to embrace the moment. You do football and the other stuff will work itself out.

"I know ownership here is in a delicate situation. When I lose $20 I'm bummed out. A million dollars? I can't fathom that. But (the uncertainty) doesn't bother me. I've been in the league 28 years ... it has no effect. You just stay focused and believe good things will happen."

It's an incredably optimistic approach for a man in Paopao's position but it may be his only option if he hopes to direct his club back into the playoffs in '05.

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HELLO, GOODBYE

ADDED -- LB Chris Shelling (Hamilton), DT Cameron Legault (B.C.), DL Marc Pilon (B.C.), WR Markus Howell (Winnipeg), LB D'Wayne Taylor (Sask.), OL Pascal Cheron (Hamilton), DL Ray Jacobs (B.C.), FB Lloyd Orris (Winnipeg), LB Quincy Coleman (Edmonton), K Matt Kellett (Montreal).

GONE -- DB Anthony Malbrough (Calgary), LB Kelly Wiltshire (Edmonton) OL Alexandre Gauthier (Calgary), QB Darnell Kennedy (Calgary), WR Sherrod Gideon (B.C.).


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