No easy road for veteran Robede

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:35 AM ET

Miguel Robede spent part of the off-season in a sawmill, staying in shape by moving logs.

It was good preparation for Stamps training camp.

Once again, he's trying to avoid getting cut.

Despite having the two starters ahead of him on the depth chart get cut loose this off-season, Robede wasn't designated the starter at defensive tackle.

Instead, Stampeders GM/head coach John Hufnagel said three of the four starting jobs along the d-line were wide open, with the one set being Mike Labinjo.

Robede came into his fourth season in Red and White just like several other prospects, having to win a job.

That makes tonight's pre-season outing against the B.C. Lions at McMahon Stadium an important one for the Laval product, who didn't take the situation as an insult.

"I would say every year you have to prove what you can do," Robede said.

"When the lights come on, you need to prove you are still the man.

"It's a team of competition and that's why we did so well last year. We competed against each other and when you stop competing, you aren't really pushing yourselves."

With the Stamps bringing back starters at most every position, the biggest battle to watch in the pre-season is defensive line, where 10 players are trying to win the three starting jobs.

Robede gets a bit of an upperhand on his closest competitor, as newcomer Tom Johnson will miss the game with a calf injury.

Just having someone of Johnson's pedigree around -- he spent two training camps with the Indianapolis Colts -- gives Robede extra motivation to perform well.

"I take it as a challenge," the 28-year-old said.

"It's a good challenge.

"When I see guys like TJ coming from the NFL, it makes me become better and improve on the stuff I needed to improve on.

"I'm not saying I'm perfect now, but I felt challenged to get a lot better."

Even with all the talk about how three spots are open, the entire defensive line could be made up of returning players.

At the other defensive tackle spot, Julian Jenkins is working back from a broken leg and is having a good camp.

Second-year Stamp Juwan Simpson is among four players vying for the other defensive-end spot.


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