The time is soon approaching when many of the CFL's younger imports start looking over their shoulders to see who is coming to town to wrest their jobs away from them.
The NFL cuts are coming at the end of this month and Blue Bombers GM Brendan Taman just completed a sojourn through NFL camps to discern who may be better suited to the CFL game. And once they clear NFL waivers, the most promising of those will be lured to Winnipeg. Among those could be former Bomber linebacker Ike Charlton who looks to be in tough to crack the Detroit Lions roster.
If so, Charlton could then challenge the man who replaced him at the position he mastered last year -- SAM linebacker -- Cam Hall.
"I'm not really worried about it," Hall said yesterday. "Since the first day of training camp, I was just worried about myself. Not that there weren't other guys competing for the spot, I just felt that as long as I do what I have to do, then I'd be OK. Really, I'm just worried about myself. I'm not really going to worry about things that I can't take care of or I don't have any impact on." Although this is still on-the-job training for the 6-foot-1, 227-pound Boise State product, Hall has proven to be at least a capable replacement thus far.
"When you've been a so-called linebacker and you play the SAM linebacker here in the CFL and it's mostly coverage and not much run-stopping, that's a big adjustment for him," said Bomber head coach Doug Berry, who is also watching weak-side linebacker Corey Jenkins, another first-year CFLer, develop. "If they weren't getting better, I'd be discouraged. Initially, I felt like we had a lot of talent coming out of training camp. I'm not saying both guys have not made mistakes as we've gone along this year but the point is that we can see that there is improvement.
"As long as we stay in that vein, they both have the talent and the intelligence and the desire to be good football players."
Hall, 24, has recorded 30 defensive tackles, which is in the CFL's top 20, to date.
"Being a rookie and adjusting to a completely different game, I think I've done OK," Hall said.
"I know I can do a lot better. There are some things here and there -- ya know, a step or a step-and-a-half -- I can definitely polish up. I had a little rust to knock off, too. I had a long layoff before I came up here."
Hall was away from the game for 21/2 years before signing with Winnipeg.
"There's been some ups and some downs, definitely," he readily admitted. "As a defence, we're still trying to come together and find an identity but so far, it's gone OK. I definitely expect the second half of the season to go a lot better. I really want to get better.
"For the most part, I've tried to do my job and that's mainly what they're asking me to do. They're not necessarily expecting me to go out and make a ton of plays, just make sure I'm in the right spot. But I'm still looking for a lot better so, the second half of the season, I'm looking to do a lot more stuff and make a lot more plays and hopefully, help make the defence a lot better."