We covered five players who turned in notable performances in this year's first two preseason games Wednesday, so, continuing in that vein, here are five other players who shone in Winnipeg's 22-10 victory over Montreal Thursday and Calgary's 20-17 win over Edmonton Friday. (The late-game heroics of Canadian quarterback Brad Sinopoli deserved their own post, which can be found here.) It's a mix of both big names and lesser-known players, and it demonstrates how the preseason can be a showcase for anyone. Let's get to it:
—Shamawd Chambers, receiver, Edmonton: The multi-talented Chambers showed off his blazing speed Friday and showed why the Eskimos' selection of him sixth overall in this year's draft was praised as such a steal. The Laurier product caught two passes for 33 yards and generally looked explosive. There's obviously still some learning ahead for Chambers (and it would likely help if Edmonton's quarterbacks are a little more accurate than the 15-for-38 line Matt Nichols, Jeremiah Masoli and Brandon Summers combined for Friday), but he could be a crucial part of the Eskimos' offence both this year and further down the road.
—Joey Elliott, quarterback, Winnipeg: The Bombers are likely going with Buck Pierce as their starter again this year, but Elliott's been locked in a battle with Alex Brink for the primary backup job, and the former Purdue star may have gained an edge over Brink with his impressive showing Thursday (nine completions on 14 attempts, 111 yards, no interceptions). By contrast, Brink was seven for 15 for 74 yards. This certainly doesn't settle the decision between the two, especially given that Brink has reportedly impressed more in camp and came into this game as the #2 quarterback, but Elliott played well Thursday and may have helped his cause.
—Fred Bennett, defensive back, Calgary: Bennett was a constant presence during Friday's game, recording two interceptions and performing some excellent pass coverage. He had a third interception nullified by a Calgary penalty for too many men on the field. The rookie, who played at South Carolina, has had some ups and downs in camp and is reportedly in a tough battle for a roster slot, but he certainly got himself noticed in a good way Friday.
—Noel Devine, running back/returner, Montreal: The 5'8'' former West Virginia Mountaineers' star looked every bit as explosive as he did during his college days Thursday, picking up 32 rushing yards on five carries. It was in the return game where he made the largest impact, though, collecting 54 yards on two kick returns and 10 yards on a punt return. There's a tough competition for return spots in Montreal, and fellow 5'8'' man C.J. Washington (a receiver out of Wake Forest) also had a great day Thursday, collecting 64 yards on two kick returns and 27 yards on two punt returns, so Devine isn't a lock to make the Alouettes. His positional versatility is intriguing, though, as he can help as a running back, a receiver out of the backfield or a returner, and he certainly has an impressive resume. Devine showed that he can play the CFL game Thursday, and he could be an interesting piece for the Alouettes.
—Rob Maver, kicker/punter, Calgary: Maver's quest to stick with the Stampeders team likely got a lot easier following an unfortunate training-camp back injury to Australian punting aspirant Scott Crough (and one that apparently saw him find out about his release on Twitter, which is problematic to say the least), but he still had to prove that he can fill Burke Dales' big boots as Calgary's punter. Maver's done well in that role in camp, though, and he looked pretty good Friday; although some of his punts were less-than-stellar, his overall showing (nine punts, 313 yards, a 41.8 yard average and a long of 55) suggests he can do the job. Despite hitting the upright on a 32-yard third-quarter field-goal attempt, too, he recovered nicely, nailing a 50-yard field goal later in the quarter and adding a 30-yard FG to win the game with no time on the clock. He'll be in a tougher competition for the kicking job with Rene Paredes (who was two-for-two on field goals Friday), but has a chance there and seems to be settling into punting nicely.
The final round of preseason action takes place from June 19-22, with a game each night during that span, and the season itself gets underway June 29. Keep checking 55-Yard Line and the Yahoo! CFL hub for everything you need to know to get ready for this CFL season.
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