Wolves Break Training Camp
MANCHESTER, NH-- The Manchester Wolves held their final intra-squad scrimmage on Saturday and Head Coach Danton Barto got a last look at his players in training camp before making the arenafootball2 league mandatory roster cuts to 22 men by Monday.
"It's always tough to make cuts. I hate it because I've been in that position myself. It's never fun," Barto said. "We had a great group of guys who really worked hard in camp and you don't want to crush their dreams. I always go back to what my father told me and I truly believe it. He said that cutting a player is actually easier than keeping a player. The guys you keep reflect the organization and yourself and everything you stand for. When you cut a player, it's unfortunate for him, but fortunately for you, that's not your problem. The guys you keep reflect your decisions and your philosophy. I try to live by that, but it's never fun. I've told a lot of these guys that if any other team needs help at a certain position I will pick up the phone and go to bat for them. "
Perhaps the most difficult decision to be made concerns the starting quarterback position. Returning veteran James Pinkney, who came off the bench last season as a first-year player and led the Wolves into the playoffs, has been challenged in camp by rookie Mike Potts, who went to camp with the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers last summer and survived until the final NFL cut.
"Pinkney's been a big help to Mike," said Barto. "They've had a very professional competition where they both tried to help each other out. They congratulate each other when one's doing well and both have treated each other well. That's been very healthy for the team to see the guy who led us last year and the guy he's competing against both praising each other."
With the Wolves 2009 season opener next Friday night against the East Division champion Pioneers in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., it's imperative that the quarterback spot be solidified when the team makes it final preparations.
"We'll sit down tonight and then make the decision in the morning," said Barto, who will seek the input of assistant coaches Brian Hug, Ryan Ray, and Allistair Sebastian. "Obviously, I don't want to drag this out. You want to make the decision who your starter is."
No matter which quarterback gets the starting nod, he will have the help of seasoned receivers on the field. Steve Savoy and Emery Sammons each surpassed 1,000 yards in receptions in 2008 as rookies despite both being hampered by injuries at various stages of the season. The Wolves will enter the 2009 campaign with a mix of talented veterans and rookies on both sides of the ball.
The Wolves will announce their final roster within 48 hours and the depth chart will be finalized before the end of the week. The team will continue to practice at the Hampshire Dome in Milford and depart for Wilkes-Barre on Thursday morning.
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