Injuries shake up Stamps
West Division leader’s pass-catching crew being bit hard by the injury bug
DaVaris Daniels is out and Kamar Jorden isn’t making a miraculous return.
Oh, and Lemar Durant won’t be catching passes for the Calgary Stampeders for a long while, either.
Entering Saturday’s game against the B.C. Lions at McMahon Stadium (5 p.m., TSN/News Talk 770), the Stampeders are fielding a receiving group that looks almost nothing like the team’s opening day roster.
Anthony Parker and Marquay McDaniel are still available in the wide receiver and slotback positions, but otherwise the Stamps will be fielding three receivers in their starting lineup with a combined 25 games of CFL experience and 15 of those games belong to Juwan Brescacin.
“We’re working hard, we’re getting better, we’re stretched with depth big time at the receiver position,” said Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson. “We’ve got to be able to scare (the Lions defence) — we can’t just let them sit on our routes.
“It’s an opportunity for our guys to make plays and step up.”
In addition to Brescacin, the Stamps also have Marken Michel and Reggie Begelton slated to be in the lineup for Saturday’s game.
All three young players have huge upside and have shown that they’re capable of competing for a job in the starting lineup.
Michel even earned playerof-the-week honours for his sixcatch, 190-yard performance in Week 6 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, while Begelton was one of the standouts of Stamps training camp before picking up an injury.
They’ve got loads of potential and talent and nobody should be surprised if any of the three receivers put up big numbers in Saturday’s game — or any other game going forward this season.
But the absence of Daniels, Jorden and Durant will surely be felt.
“It always makes it more difficult when you don’t have your all-stars — guys who have been there for you, guys you rely on, guys you have the timing with ...” said Stamps QB Bo Levi Mitchell. “But it doesn’t take away from the confidence that I have in the guys that are playing.
“I believe we have these guys for a reason. I’m happy that Reggie gets to step in and play ... Obviously losing Lemar was a big one, too, but Parker and Juwan and even Rory (Kohlert) have stepped up in that absence and have done a great job of it and I trust these guys. They work hard for me. I have no reason not to trust.”
The good news for the Stampeders is that they’ve put up 122 points in their last three home games and have won all four of the games in which they’ve played without Durant and Jorden.
As always, the team has moved the ball through the air by spreading it out among receivers and if they’re going to beat the Lions, it will likely be because they make sure everyone is getting touches.
There’s also lots that they can do to make life easier on Mitchell.
“What I tell them to do is go 100 miles an hour and if you mess up, if you run a corner route when you were supposed to run a post, then run it at 100 miles an hour,” Mitchell said. “Don’t run out there at 75 per cent and guessing and not give me body language. I can read your body language.
“I don’t care if you’re Joe Blow off the street — if you run a route, I can read your body language and know where to put the ball.
“I have very good athletes and very good receivers out there. As long as we see what we see and do it at 100 miles an hour, mistakes don’t matter as much as going out there and competing.”
I don’t care if you’re Joe Blow ... if you run a route, I can read your body language and know where to put the ball.
The Stampeders’ Juwan Brescacin will be the longest-tenured CFL veteran among their starting receivers this weekend.